EQV Fraternity 1954 - 1968
EQV at Wesleyan
EQV AT WESLEYAN
For six years Esse Quam Videre has flourished as an independent local fraternity with a strong and individualistic undergraduate chapter. Its members have made outstanding contributions to the Wesleyan community as well as to each other. EQV is a non-secret, non-discriminatory organization based on values held to be meaningful to its members. The guiding principles of the fraternity are made public in its four landmarks printed at the end of this letter, and its ideals are embodied in its name and motto, Esse Quam Videre, "to be rather than to seem." EQV's recent history has been a stormy one, and the fraternity's present situation can be understood only against the background of that history--itself a record of our commitment to certain fundamental ideals.
In September of 1959 the undergraduate chapter of Phi Gamma of Alpha Chi Rho voted unanimously to sever its ties with the national organization and to establish an independent fraternity. A growing discontent among the undergraduate brothers with the secret ritual of AXP precipitated the break with the national. The Phi Gamma Chapter had been forced into the regrettable position of either hypocritically espousing a ritual to which some of its members could not adhere in good faith, or remaining a discriminatory fraternity.
The specific requirement in the secret ritual found objectionable was the stipulation that AXP be limited to those professing theologically defined Christian faith. Also, there was a discrepancy between the esoteric (secret) ritual, given to pledges the night when they brotherize, and the exoteric (public) ritual manuals, which were distributed before pledging. Constant efforts were made for several years before 1959 to effect a change in the national's ritual. These efforts were in vain. At the time of the break from the national, President Butterfield expressed his vigorous support of EQV's position. The administration stipulated that AXP's return to Wesleyan was conditional upon the resolution of the discrepancy between the esoteric and exoteric rituals.
In the fall of 1963 AXP successfully petitioned the University to reinstitute a chapter on campus. AXP claimed that the discrepancy had been resolved by means of a redefinition of crucial terms appearing in the esoteric manual. The University took it for granted that AXP had met the required condition, and required AXP to extend a bid to EQV to rejoin the national organization. Negotiations with AXP served only to convince EQV that the national's "redefinition" of Christian terms and symbols within the esoteric ritual was completely unacceptable, and that the national's public professions of its non-sectarian character constituted an unparalleled act of hypocrisy. The new ritual was an affront to devout and practicing Christians, as it "played" and "toyed" with such terms as "Christ" and "the Cross"; moreover, it upset non-Christians, who still found the ritual in conflict with their own beliefs, or who resented a definition expressly designed to "get them by." In the fall of 1963, EQV, by secret ballot, unanimously rejected this two-faced "solution" and declined the invitation to rejoin the national.
Before this vote was taken, the administration stated that the University would make available alternate housing with sleeping, dining, and social facilities comparable to those of 300 High Street, should EQV be displaced by AXP. Rent was not to be higher than at 300 High Street. Indeed, AXP's return was to be conditional upon the fulfillment of these pledges. In April of 1964 EQV secured the additional pledge that any new location would be at the south end of campus. Last year EQV was informed that it could no longer rent the property at 300 High Street from the AXP Building Association, begining with the 1965-6 academic year.
In the fall of 1964 the administration offered EQV Weeks House, located at High and Washington Streets. After careful consideration EQV rejected the offer. The administration had clearly reneged on two of its verbal agreements: first, Weeks House is on (indeed is) the northern fringe of the campus; and secondly, rent and maintenance was to amount to $2500 per year more than at 300 High Street. In addition, the University was unwilling to undertake necessary structural changes, and the new location, so distant from upper class dormitories, would have seriously threatened the financial success of EQV's eating club, which traditionally draws heavily from independents.
When EQV rejected the Weeks House offer, it was understood that no property was available for fraternities at the south end of campus. Some time afterward a fire destroyed the plant of another fraternity, prompting the University to offer that fraternity the Saraceno House, which is located precisely in the area which the University had told EQV was not a possible fraternity site. President Butterfield allayed EQV's dismay at the sudden availability of property at the south end of campus by explaining that "plans have changed."
It was finally agreed that EQV should temporarily move into a block of rooms in the new Lawn Avenue dormitories, where recreation and social space (but not dining facilities) were to be made available to the fraternity. Last May the administration promised that the Saraceno House would be the future home of EQV, but this September the administration broke that agreement, on the grounds that the renovation costs for the Saraceno House would be excessive.
EQV has decided not to let the administration's record of inconsistencies and bad faith discourage its efforts. We are still pressing our negotiations with the administration, and exploring a number of remaining possibilities for future relocation. EQV's membership includes the Editor-in-Chief of the Argus, a Co-Chairman of the Wesleyan Film Society, one member of the five man College Body Committee, the President of the Debate Council, the Chairman of the Wesleyan Committee on Civil Rights, and the Chairman of the Student Judiciary Board. A member of EQV has received the Ayres Prize, awarded to the freshman with the highest academic average, at the last four consecutive Convocations in Honor of Scholarship. We rush this year to insure that these achievements will not be lost, to fulfill our obligation to those who have worked to keep EQV strong, and, we like to think, to fulfill our obligation to the Wesleyan community, and to the Wesleyan freshman, present and future.
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 constructive endeavor within the brotherhood. We maintain that race, religion, and nationality are not acceptable criteria for accepting 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 implement, whenever possible, the academic aims of Wesleyan.
LIST OF MEMBERS