EQV Fraternity 1954 - 1968
Appendix B to the History of EQV
Copies of original documents related to the break with Alpha Chi Rho
Table of Contents
A letter from Henry Anderson ('40) and Don Hinman (president of the Phi Gamma Chapter) to all Phi Gamma alumni about the conflict with AXP, dated May 20, 1958. (3 pages)
May 20, 1958
We wish to extend to you a cordial invitation to attend the annual meeting of the Building Association of the Phi Gamma Chapter of Alpha Chi Rho and also of the Graduate Chapter to be held at the Chapter House, High Street, Middletown, Connecticut on June 6, 1958, at 8:00 p.m. You are also invited to join us for the annual banquet at 5:00 p.m, please return the enclosed card if you plan to attend.
In order to acquaint you with the existing situation at the Chapter House, we submit a brief resume of the important events during the academic year 1957-1958. Prior to last fall, the National Fraternity pointed out to us that during the years following World War II, certain unauthorized alterations had been made in the esoteric ritual; in fact so numerous were the changes that the entire membership of the House in the fall of 1957 was composed of men who had never been initiated in accordance with the ritual prescribed by the National Fraternity. After discussion with the national officers, the undergraduates decided to reinstitute the full ritual and no initiation has been held thereafter except strictly in accordance with the prescribed ritual.
Last fall we were successful in obtaining what we believe to be an excellent freshman delegation. When it came time to initiate the eligible freshmen, they received detailed instruction concerning the exoteric manual, as to the four landmarks in particular, and other relevant data as to the significance of the National Fraternity. In this connection, please recall that the wording of the first landmark was changed in 1954 from the old phraseology of membership from among Christians only to the following statement of principles:
"Alpha Chi Rho believes in a God whose moral law is the guide and law of the universe, and in Jesus of Nazareth as the one whose life, above all others, exemplifies such law. While recognizing our Christian heritage and seeking adherence to Christian ideals, Alpha Chi Rho leaves to each of its Brothers the determination of his religious tenets. Membership in Alpha Chi Rho is not denied by reason of race, color, or religion, but the Fraternity requires that its members look up to Jesus of Nazareth as their moral exemplar."
The esoteric ritual was never amended to conform with the first landmark as rewritten and there are certain passages which we feel are inconsistent with the present language of the first landmark.
At the actual initiation, two of the freshmen refused to complete the ritual when they were faced with these inconsistencies. They were excused and initiation of the remaining postulants continued. This event had a deleterious effect on the entire house and it was felt that the two men had reacted honestly and with conviction, In fact, many members of the house (none of whom had ever been initiated in accordance with the required ritual) agreed with these men that the inconsistencies were of such a serious nature that they too might have refused such an initiation.
The inconsistencies in the two manuals revolve mainly around the fraternity's views regarding the relationship between formal religion and membership in a social organization. The exoteric manual requires simply that members of Alpha Chi Rho look up to Jesus of Nazareth as an exemplar of a very fine way of life. The esoteric manual, we feel, requires the members to accept, not only the sociological ideals of our Christian heritage (with which we have no quarrel), but also to swear allegiance to Christianity as a theological doctrine, We believe this is inconsistent with the exoteric manual's statement that membership in Alpha Chi Rho is "not denied by reason of…religion,"
Simply clearing up this inconsistency will not be enough however. The esoteric ritual, we feel, should be changed to meet with the requirements of the exoteric manual, as opposed to changing the exoteric landmark back to the one found in the ritual. We at Phi Gamma accept, and regard as important a man's acceptance of, the ideals of Christianity as exemplified in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, however, we do not believe that a man's religion, his acceptance of Christianity in a thrological way, should be a qualification for membership in a college social fraternity.
Faced with this dilemma, the Chapter sent two delegates
to a meeting of the National Council at
During the remainder of the winter and this spring, the Chapter has continued to suffer, There are many brothers who feel that the National officers should recognize the discrepancies and take positive action to effect the necessary changes. In spite of the many differences of opinion within the House, no ill considered action was taken. We invited the National officers to a meeting with the undergraduate brothers on February 18, 1958. At that time the National officers informed us categorically that, as far as they were concerned, no ritual changes are being contemplated by the National and that if such changes were proposed, the chances of passing were nil. As we previously wrote you, we plan to present the full picture of our differences with the National to the graduate brothers at the annual meeting. In order to discuss the entire situation on a broad basis, the meeting of the Phi Gamma Building Association of Alpha Chi Rho and the meeting of the Graduate Chapter are warned as follows:
1. To determine whether the Phi Gamma Chapter of Alpha Chi Rho and/or the Graduate Chapter and/or the Phi Gamma Building Association should go on record as favoring an alternative reading of the esoteric ritual.
2. If an alternative reading of the ritual is recommended, to determine what constructive steps shall be taken to effect any such proposed changes both at the National convention in September, 1958 and otherwise.
3. To determine what action shall be taken if the National Convention of Alpha Chi Rho refuses to approve the resolution requesting for alternative reading of the ritual.
Mr. Henry Anderson '40
CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION 1 -3-
Call to Annual Meeting:
If you can, please come to this important meeting on June 6, 1958. Banquet at 6:00 P.M., followed by .Building Association and Graduate Chapter meetings, at the chapter house.
Whether you can come or not, please return the enclosed postcard, indicating (l) whether you will be present for the banquet and/or the meeting and (2) your reaction to the proposal suggested above.
We will of course welcome further correspondence from you.
(signed) Stan Moss '31
The initial suspension letter from AXP to Phi Gamma chapter members, dated November 1, 1958. (1 page)
Mr. William N. Murphy
Dear Brother Murphy:
On October 9, 1958, at a formal Council of the Phi Gamma Resident Chapter, you were summarily suspended from the Fraternity of Alpha Chi Rho by me as President of the Fraternity. This letter confirms your suspension.
I charge you, Brother William N. Murphy, with flagrant and open offense against the Landmarks, Ritual, Constitution and Codes of the Fraternity, in that, when asked by me in my official capacity as President of the Fraternity at the Ritual Council on October 9, 1958, "In the event that you should be elected an Officer of the Phi Gamma Resident Chapter, would you uphold and conform in all respects to the prescribed Ritual of the Fraternity of Alpha Chi Rho?" and you freely stated before witnesses that you would not uphold and conform in all respects to the Ritual of the Fraternity.
The National Council of
the Fraternity of Alpha Chi Rho at its meeting in
Chapter IV, Section 19,
Subdivision (c) of the Disciplinary Codes of the Fraternity and set
.December 2nd, at 8:00 o'clock P.M. in the National Office of the
Failure on your part to appear at the hearing without previous notice will be deemed acknowledgment of your guilt of these charges.
It is with extreme concern for your welfare as a Brother in Alpha Chi Rho and the good of the Fraternity that these charges be carefully considered, because of the stigma attached to a man who is expelled from his college fraternity.
Sterling E. Mayo, Jr.
SEM, Jr; Oc
The final suspension letter from AXP to Phi Gamma chapter members dated September 28, 1959. (1 page)
The following resolution was passed by the National Council of the Fraternity of Alpha Chi Rho at its meeting held on Friday, September 25, 1959:
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Council of the Fraternity of Alpha Chi Rho that
shall be and are hereby suspended from the rights and privileges of the Fraternity of Alpha Chi Rho until the next regular annual session of the National Convention of the Fraternity, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Council recommends their expulsion from the Fraternity for offenses against the Ritual, Constitution and laws of the Fraternity and contumacy to the authority of the National Council, the President of the Fraternity and the National Convention, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Secretary be authorized and directed to give due notice to each and every of the Brothers hereinabove mentioned in accordance with the provisions of the Disciplinary Code, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that said notice shall further advise each Brother that at said next session of the National Convention his name shall be presented to said Convention for expulsion from the Fraternity.
Wilbur M Walden
A letter to the AXP publication Garnet and White by Bob Patricelli, dated January 9, 1959. (2 pages) The letter was not published, but was subsequently sent to the Phi Gamma alumni with Gus Napier's letter of April 15, 1959.
Letter to the
On Thursday night, October 9, 1958, the members of Phi Gamma were suspended from the Fraternity of Alpha Chi Rho for our refusal to conduct an initiation council in accordance with the Ritual codes. We feel that our position has been somewhat misrepresented, and would like to explain bore the background of the suspension and the principles on which we stand.
Firstly, we at Phi Gamma are not among what our National Secretary Mr. Waldron termed, in the last issue of the Garnet and White, to be "clever forces... hammering away to break up the American College fraternity...". We are not anti-fraternity. We arc not, as we have been called, anti-Christian, anti-religious, or aesthetic intellectuals with no respect for tradition. Phi Gamma has been considered to be the fraternity the most aware of and respectful of Christian morals amongst all the fraternities on this campus. The president of the campus Episcopal group, the Canterbury Club, is a Brother here, and there arc more pre-ministerial students at Phi Gamma than at any other social organization at Wesleyan.
We do not believe that a person's religious belief should be a criterion for membership in a college fraternity, and on this stand we were suspended.
Sections from a letter sent to our Graduate Brothers by Hank Anderson, '40, and Don Hinman, '59, will help to explain the events which precipitated our action last Fall. The letter states: "In the Fall of 1957, Phi Gamma was successful in obtaining what we believed to be an excellent freshman delegation. When it came time to initiate the eligible freshmen they received detailed instruction concerning, the exoteric manual, as to the four Landmarks in particular, and other relevant dat as to the significance of the National Fraternity". In this connection, pledges were read the wording of the first Landmark which was changed in 1954 from the old phraseology of "membership from among Christians only", to the new reading of 1957 which read: "The fraternity requires that its members look up to Jesus of Nazareth as their moral exemplar." In this 1954 ruling, however, the Ritual was not modified to road in accordance with the revised Landmark.
The letter continued: "At the actual initiation two of the freshmen refused to complete the Ritual when they were faced with these inconsistencies. They were excused and the initiation of the remaining postulants continued. This event had a deleterious effect upon the entire house and it was felt that the two men had reacted honestly and with conviction."
The inconsistencies involved within the two manuals were summed up as follows: The exoteric manual requires simply that members of Alpha Chi Rho look up to Jesus of Nazareth as an exemplar of a very fine life. The esoteric manual, we feel, requires the members to accept, not only the sociological ideals of our Christian heritage (with which we have no quarrel) but also to swear allegiance to Christianity as a theological doctrine. We believe that this is inconsistent with the exoteric manual's statement that membership in Alpha Chi Rho is "not denied by reason... religion."
The members of Phi Gamma unanimously decided to try to remedy these difficulties by a modification of the Ritual according to Nationally accepted procedures. Meetings with National officers were held throughout the winter and spring of 1958.
On February 18, 1958, National President Stanley Bedford attended a Fraternity meeting with the undergraduate Brothers. Once again he informed us that no Ritual changes had been contemplated by the National. In addition the strict requirements on any Ritual change made chances for modification next to impossible.
Under this situation the Resident Chapter invited the graduate members of Phi Gamma to the annual meeting on June 6, 1958. The meeting was well-attended and after long discussion , the sentiment of those present was favorable to 1) that the under graduates urge at the National Convention in September an alternative reading of the Ritual, and 2) in the event that the National Convention did not accept such a motion, the proposed revised Ritual be used until this question is settled for
those postulants who refused to accept the original Ritual. Let it be emphasized here that we consider those postulants to have in no way "forced" us into a difficult position. Our own views concerning the Ritual and the above-stated inconsistencies exactly coincide with theirs.
As you all know, the National Convention in the Fall of 1958 unequivocally rejected cur attempts to revise the Ritual in the direction of the wording of the exoteric manual. Instead, a motion (later referred to a committee) to revise the exoteric manual on a theological basis so as to conform to the esoteric manual (i.e., the Ritual) was introduced.
In the light of these events, and in consideration of the decision reached by the alumni at the June meeting, the Resident Chapter planned the modified-Ritual initiation that was held on October 9, 1958.
The National officers were informed of the decision. They registered their disapproval, and upon attending the initiation ceremony suspended the undergraduate membership.
That is the situation. In no way has our action been hasty or ill-considered. We notified the Board of Directors of the Phi Gamma Building Association prior to taking any action, and they confirmed our decisions throughout. We believe that our action was the only honorable course open on the campus of the character and attitudes of Wesleyan. In the words of Victor L. Butterfield, President of Wesleyan University: "Without commenting on the specific issues involved, I would like to say that I have nothing but admiration for the mature way in which the members of the Fraternity have handled their problem. Convinced as they are in their firm and quiet way as to their ideals, they have pursued their objective with reason, patience, and courtesy. They have retained the respect of the whole college community in the handling of their problem."
Underscoring our position once more, our stand is this: we maintain that a person's religious belief should not be a criterion for entrance into a college fraternity. This is an ideal, but we do not think it to be one of the "unfortunately impractical ideals" Mr. Walden referred to in the last "Garnet and White". In this case all that is necessary to put this ideal into actuality would be action by the National Convention to bring the Ritual into accordance with the exoteric manual. We have taken our stand, and we hope that every Brother and Graduate reading this letter will, out of consideration both for Phi Gamma and the National Fraternity as a whole, seriously consider the problem himself, and take some stand of his own.
We of Phi Gamma hope that you will write us concerning your thoughts and opinions en the problem.
Robert E. Patricelli,
A letter from Gus Napier to the alumni of the Phi Gamma chapter explaining the situation, dated April 15, 1959. (2 pages)
April 15, 1959
We think it is appropriate that the alumni of Phi Gamma be reminded of the lacal chapter's stand in the conflict with the National Fraternity, and be brought up to date on the recent history of this disagreement.
The letter which accompanies this one is a copy of our regular chapter contribution to the last 'Garnet and White". It reiterates the history and causes of our position; the fact that the National Fraternity refused to print it points up the need for open presentation and discussion of the various arguments. We are making every effort to have our case heard in spite of Alpha Chi Rho's concealment of this issue: the letter has also been sent to all chapters of The Fraternity.
The primary impetus in
the writing of my letter came from the undergraduates' realization that the
officers of the National Fraternity had organized a meeting of the alumni of
this chapter to be held on April 25, in
It is of course conjecture on our part to anticipate the precise form that the meeting will take; yet it seems to us slightly incongruous that a meeting serious enough to consider "the future of Phi Gamma" should not permit the presentation of the stand of the Chapter's immediate constituents.
It is difficult to predict the arguments which will be used against us on April 25. Perhaps the usual charges of irresponsibility and atheism will be repeated: the statements by President Butterfield and the arguments of our chapter correspondent in the letter to the "Garnet and White" should answer those criticisms.
But, one recent incident may be cited by the National Fraternity: the fact that we did not attend a hearing which the Fraternity held for us on December 2, 1958. This was to be a "trial" in which our "open and flagrant violation of the codes of the Fraternity" were to be at issue. Since we were admittedly guilty of this action, having planned it in advance 'and having notified the Fraternity of our intentions, we felt that our presence was not needed. Our many offers to arbitrate with the officers of the National Fraternity should offset any accusation that we are adamant and uncommunicative; we hope that this decision will not be construed at the April meeting to indicate negligence on our part. Nor, however, should we be seen as fluctuating and variable in our opinions. Our position has remained firm and unanimous in the face of Alpha Chi Rho's consistently compromising demands.
One question which should be answered pertains to the present state of the local chapter. We are now known on campus by the traditional name of the eating club, Black Walnut Club. Our senators still vote in the College Body Senate because we are a fully recognized organization on this campus. We are more than "recognized", in fact. We have aroused much favorable comment among the undergraduates, the faculty and the administration for our actions in regard to the National Fraternity. President Butterfield's comment speaks for the older group, while the fact that we have an eating club full to capacity with a waiting list speaks for our popularity with the undergraduates. And there is great enthusiasm within the House now: we recently spent about $1000 of undergraduate funds furnishing the library and the recreation room and spent many hours putting in a completely new lawn. We have a committee which is at present planning to introduce a new series of fraternity lectures next year. These lectures will feature noted writers, painters and musicians who will discuss the position of the artist in America today.
More important than any of these activities, however, are the efforts of three special house committees. These three groups, together including most of the Brothers, are at work creating the forms of a new social organization. One nucleus has presented a new set of guiding principles and new initiation ceremony; the final articles of a new constitution are due for debate in council; and a new name is under consideration. These preparations are being made in the event that no compromise can be reached with the National Fraternity. The final form of any new social organization would of course result from a cooperative effort between the undergraduates and the alumni of this Chapter.
The guiding principles, which are crucial to any organization, are liberal. They call for a dedication to certain moral ideals, for a sense of responsibility to the group, for a close co-ordination with the educational goals of Wesleyan, and for standards of membership which value social existence and friendship but which negate any discriminatory practices - be they economic, racial or religious.
The undergraduate chapter is extremely active and alive now. We enjoy being members of this group, and we are proud of our organization. Furthermore, we are not alone on campus in our stand as reflected by Sigma Chi’s recent decision to leave their national fraternity because of discriminatory codes. We have a successful social organization which we believe our alumni should be proud of whatever its name.
Our only resentment is centered on a group which has sought to intimidate us on every account. We have had our rushing choices negated by religious specificities in the ritual; and when we tried to abide by our intellectual and moral convictions, we were expelled temporarily from the Fraternity. We have even suffered the indignities of an attempted seizure of our bank account and of an attempt to discredit us on this campus. We have been continually suppressed in our efforts to present our stand and have witnessed many attempts, from proxies to meetings, to organize the alumni against us. We only ask that you consider the relative validity of each position when you are asked to decide in favor of one or the other.
We offer to answer any questions which you may wish to pose in your letters, and look forward to seeing you personally in June.
Augustus Y. Napier
A document written by Robert Moore ('15) and sent to all Phi Gamma alumni, dated April 4, 1959. The darker print, which is hard to ascertain on these copies, was printed in red in the original. (5 pages) (and not clear at all in this scanned copy)
April 4, 1959
PRESERVE PHI GAMMA
The Phi Gamma Graduate Chapter may well be the deciding factor in determining whether the national fraternities will remain on the Wesleyan campus as they have from the establishment of Psi Upsilon in 1843. Delta Upsilon and Phi Sigma Kappa collapsed like a house of cards and Sigma Chi is now teetering. Our Resident Chapter is in revolt.
From the founding of Eclectic in 1337 until about 1950 the position of the fraternities was never questioned. They were focal points of Alumni loyalty. They provided homes for at least half the students in the day before there were "accommodations like a Palm Beach resort" and "money to burn" to quote a present Faculty member. In Carl Price's "Wesleyan's First Century," the late Dean Chanter wrote a chapter on the history of the development of the fraternities. We quote:
"The Wesleyan fraternities have been an organic part of the college since its earliest years. They have grown with it, sharing its fortunes and making their own contribution to them. On the one hand, those in charge of the administration of the college have treated the fraternities with confidence and respect, regarding them as all the more valuable because they maintained a certain independence. On their part, the societies have been willing to work with the Administration because they were trusted and their freedom was respected. It can confidently be said that at Wesleyan the relations between the college and the fraternities have been consistently a source of strength to all.
"It is hard to see how those relations could have been more intimate. The college had hardly entered its third decade when its policies began to be shaped by men who had been members of Wesleyan fraternities and believed in them. A glance at the list of Trustees shows a steadily increasing number of fraternity Alumni since the Rev. David Patten became a member of the Board in 1858. As for the Faculty, the names of Van neck, Rice and Winchester are examples of great teachers and leaders in educational advance who were proud of their fraternity membership. Among the presidents, Cummings, Foss and Beach were Wesleyan fraternity men. Men like these understood the fraternities, knew what might be expected of them, and hence were able and willing to work with them.
"On the other hand, the undergraduate members of the various fraternities have been influenced by the Alumni. Fortunately, it has happened that the faculty has always included men who commanded in a peculiar way the respect and admiration of their younger fraternity brothers. This cordial relationship has helped to keep the Faculty in intelligent sympathy with the undergraduates, while the latter were encouraged to regard their instructors as friends. Thus there has been a mutual interchange of ideas and influence. The policies of both college and fraternity have been directed in many cases by the same men. All through, this close interweaving of personal influence has made for harmony and mutual helpfulness."
Why in the short space of a decade has an institution esteemed for over a century suddenly become intrinsically evil? Why the move to pass an Act of Attainder?
Shortly after the close of World War II a group in
The first concrete idence of an organized attack at Wesleyan appeared in the publication in May 1955 of the Educational Policy Report. The Sub-Committee on Fraternities was headed by Assistant Professor Robert S. Cohen t)42, not a fraternity member and a person with close associations with Communist organizations. There was not a single member of a national fraternity on the sub-committee.
The Sub-Committee proposed two methods to destroy the fraternities. The majority report called for their destruction immediately in root and branch. The second proposed their rapid evisceration.
Five weeks before the Report was printed i.e. on April 22, 1954, twenty-six Faculty members, all Alumni, all members of Wesleyan fraternities national or local signed an OPEN LETTER sent to all Alumni of Wesleyan denying that the forthcoming Report of the Educational Policy Committee was adverse to the fraternities. This was contrary to fact as the Report published at the end of May plainly showed. Curiously the OPEN LETTER did not carry the signature of Assistant Professor Cohen who of all persons on the Committee knew the facts. Nobody acknowledged authorship of the text of the OPEN LETTER. And there is no evidence that any of the signers had read the Report. There is definite evidence that more than one had not read it.
Suffice it to say that the Educational Policy Committee Report of 1955, heralded for months, published, suddenly disappeared--a perfect example of the functioning of an Index Librorum Prohibitorum. Today even the Foundation for the Advancement of Education which furnished the $25,000 for the work of the Committee says it does not possess a copy.
Professor Cohen took off to
A letter from Steve Derby, Rush Chairman, to the members of the incoming class of 1963, dated July 1959, the summer in which the Phi Gamma suspension was lifted. (3 pages)
PHI GAMMA CHAPTER
Dear member of the class of 1963,
The paragraphs below embody ideals which we of the Phi Gamma Chapter of Alpha Chi Rho feel are representative of the attitudes and beliefs of the members of our Fraternity and are not archaic principles to which we give only tacit assent.
We commend the dignity of honorable human interaction and expect that intellectual and moral integrity will be maintained under the name of this organization.
We believe that the basic determinant of a candidate's eligibility for membership should be his potential for contributing to friendship, mutual respect and consideration within the Brotherhood. We maintain that race, religion, and nationality are not acceptable criteria for selecting members.
We regard group endeavor as a fundamental and valuable form
of human experience. Consequently, we recognize the necessity of a sincere sense of responsibility and loyalty toward the group. At the same time, we believe that the group is responsible to its individual members and that brotherhood remains meaningful only so long as personal autonomy and integrity are respected.
We consider implicit in the nature of this organization a dedication to the principles of Wesleyan University. As a group acknowledging these principles we recognize our particular obligation to develop social and moral maturity while further recognizing our responsibility to impliment, whenever possible, the academic aims of Wesleyan.
These aims reflect accurately what we think is the real spirit of our House. Of course they have numerous subjective implications for each of us too extensive to be articulated here in their entirety; nevertheless, we would like to present several considerations which are, we feel, most basic, quite unique in social organizations, and relevant to an understanding of our group.
First, it seems to us that "honorable human interaction" and the maintenance of "intellectual and moral integrity" are essential to the "principles of Wesleyan" and its aims for developing social, moral, and academic maturity. You may be unfamiliar with this philosophy, but it is an academic theory of Wesleyan that one learns by articulating and defending positions challenged by intelligent opposition and not merely by memorizing facts and theories from a text. It is only those thoughts which one can work with and argue for that truly affect the individual and contri
bute to his maturing process. Therefore, although the information and sources of information found in the classroom are of great importance, the exercise of acquired scholastic knowledge in contact with other students is a primary factor in true education. One of the essential aims of our organization is to afford an environment in which student discussion and learning can be sustained in a relaxed yet earnest fashion.
Secondly, selectively, the very basis of any fraternity system, has many drawbacks; and we feel that it can only be justified if individuals are judged solely on their intrinsic worth, without regard for such various external characteristics as race, religion, or nationality. Our only criterion is to find people who will make a unique contribution to our fraternity. In short, we reject the concept of complete homogeneity, believing that each member will benefit more from contact with "individuals," and being firm in our conviction that a person's religious beliefs, race, or nationality need not reflect his true strength of character.
Finally, a fraternity exists for the benefit of its members. Too often, however, it seems that the order of importance becomes reversed, and the members find that when their interests and those of the organization conflict, it is always the organization which is considered paramount. Obviously, belonging to a group entails the acceptance of responsibility and the sacrifice of some autonomy; this is what keeps the fraternity running. Loyalty, consideration, and other inherently significant qualities are essential to harmony and the well-being of the organization and are equally vital as characteristics of a mature social individual. Yet, at the same time, we firmly believe that development of the individual is the primary responsibility of the fraternity. It is the maturity of the individual members which determines the strength of the fraternity as a whole; and therefore, we object to demands of the group which force a member to compromise his ideals in any way.
How do the Brothers of the Phi Gamma Chapter of Alpha
Chi Rho put these guiding principles into practice? Supporting the general
aim of Wesleyan to produce educated men, the Brothers of "Crow" encourage
many activities which contribute toward stimulating a natural interest in
intellectual pursuits. To aid in ac
Student-faculty relations are also encouraged by the Brothers of "Crow". Every Thursday evening the House acts as host to a faculty member and his wife for cocktails and dinner. After dinner, the Brothers often gather in the living room for an informal talk and discussion led by the visiting faculty member. In addition to these more formal occasions Brothers many times bring their teachers to meals as their personal guests. Many valuable experiences are gained from these informal associations with faculty members.
By organizing student interests within the House, the "Crow" Brothers were able to gain some worthwhile benefits this past year. The French Table which met once or twice a week last year helped several Brothers in their French classes. Also, the lessons learned through some small investments made by the Blue Goose Investment Club may aid some of the Club's members in the future.
Working together, the "Crows" made several improvements in the House itself this year. The Brothers completely redecorated the House library and refinished the study tables so as to insure us of a place for quiet study. To provide an area for diversion within the House the "Crows" further created a recreation room downstairs with a pool table, a card table, and a television set.
Socially, the "Crows" were also quite active. Our
parties were among the best on campus and were c
In Campus activities the "Crow" Brothers are prominent, too. The House, as a whole, placed second this year in the Interfraternity Cup competition. This Cup Competition is made up of contests ranging from sports to singing. Additionally, "Crow" Brothers hold such influential positions as College Body Vice-President, President of the Board of House Presidents, Freshman Class Treasurer, Choral Society Vice-President, editor of the year book, the 011a Podrida, editor of the literary magazine, the Cardinal, and an editor of Wesleyan's newspaper, the Argus. "Crow's" members are further active in the Wesleyan radio station, WESU, the Glee Club, and the Yacht Club. They serve on several college body committees and are represented on most Freshman and Varsity teams.
All of these factors contribute to the character of "Crow." Probably the most important characteristics, however, have yet to be mentioned. These are the intangibles--the spirit of Brotherhood and the privilege of living and working with a group of men who are your friends--which make a fraternity worthwhile.
We of "Crow" look forward to your personal visit and inspection in the fall. Yours truly,
|A letter from seven Phi Gamma alumni to Phi
Gamma alumni entitled "The Crisis is Here," dated September 15, 1959. (9
Several years ago Alpha Chi Rho changed its first landmark from "Membership from among Christians only" to permit membership to anyone who recognizes Jesus as a great moral preceptor. The National Secretary stated publicly to the Phi Gamma chapter that the purpose of this change was to make the fraternity non-discriminatory, i.e. open to Jews, Confucians and other non-Christians.
To the surprise of many of us, the secret ritual was not changed to conform to the new public landmarks. The Phi Gamma chapter, three years ago, decided this put it, and the whole fraternity, in an anomalous and untenable position. It refused to demand, in secret, rites which were incompatible with the publicly declared position of the fraternity. It sought thru the Council and Convention to have certain changes permitted in the ritual which we do not believe in any way changed the basic principles of Alpha Chi Rho. This was refused. Last fall, it advised the National that on its responsibility it would make certain changes, specifying them in detail. This seemed to be the only way that it could keep a chapter alive while it sought to have the National change its contradictory tenets. The entire chapter was suspended for taking this action.
In August, the National Council reversed its June action to the extent of advising the chapter that it must thereafter use the ritual unchanged. The National President, alone of the Council, voted negative.
The entire matter was again brought before the National Convention September 11-12. One group, unwilling to change the ritual but desirous of avoiding the deceit implicit in demanding in secret conclaves the use of the old ritual while publicly parading as non-discriminatory under the revised landmark, sought to go back to the old landmark. This change was defeated. An effort to revise the ritual was also defeated.
The Phi Gamma undergraduate chapter, when college opened this fall, thereupon voted unanimously to secede from the National. It has formed a local, and is working as such. We deplore this result but we do not believe the undergraduates had any choice. The integrity of the National has been irrevocably compromised. The Convention rejected the recommendation of the National President and refused to adopt ritual changes proposed by the Ritual Committee. Men with Wesleyan standards could neither treat a serious Ritual as a mere formality, nor accept secret standards contradictory to publicly stated standards.
There is, in our opinion, no chance whatsoever of establishing a new Alpha Chi Rho Chapter at Wesleyan. The college Senate has a rule that alumni and outsiders may not do any rushing on the campus. In view of the position the National has taken, it seems inevitable that it will not be permitted in any event to establish a new chapter at Wesleyan. This is because there is an established college rule that to be permitted on the Wesleyan campus, a National must impose no restrictions upon the freedom of choice of its Wesleyan chapter in selecting candidates. A ritual which can only be accepted in good faith by those holding particular theological views clearly imposes such a restriction.
The bell has indeed tolled for Alpha Chi Rho at Wesleyan. It is deplorable that a Wesleyan man, R. E. Moore, '15, who initiated the reversal by the National Council of its June action, is largely responsible for the elimination of an Alpha Chi Rho chapter from Wesleyan.
The enclosed material was all prepared during the summer under the belief that our chapter would be permitted, as the National President assured the June meeting it would be, to make the minimal changes in the ritual required to conform to the first landmark.
It is now more important than we dreamed then to make the changes we have suggested in our charter and By-laws. We do not believe that we, or any group of alumni, will long be interested in accepting responsibility for the maintenance of a chapter house for a local with which, in a few years, we will have no ties. We do not believe that any of you want your investment in our house to be turned over to the National, to be used at some other college. The only alternative we see is to turn it over to Wesleyan. To avoid acting hastily, your Directors recommend leasing our house to the college for two years, if the college will agree, for an amount not less than our carrying charges.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Donald A. Eldridge, President Henry B. Anderson, Vice-President Frank A. Johnson, Secretary‑Treasurer, William B. Gould Gilbert W. Anderson Frank 0. Avantaggio Augustus Y. Napier