Contemplations & Reflections (with Toni Matulis)
Maroon & Gold
Bloomsburg State College (PA) - October 14, 1966
A Frat Is A Frat When It's A Frat
"Trustees Approve Social Fraternities" was the campus-stopping headline featured on the top of page one on September 16th, as the 48-point lettering teased BSC a few giant steps ahead, out of the world of conservatism, into the world of progressivism. It seemed like a dream turned to reality—ideas formed into black on white and thereby Truth.
Turnabout Is Fair?
But, it was not as simple, clear-cut, or world-shattering a bit of news as it seemed.
The simplicity of the statement was entangled with a web of limitations, do’s-and-don’t’s, and rules that would lead someone to believe that the term ‘social fraternities’ was a little bit misleading. As they are put forth, they become nothing more than a semantic mockery of a term. As they are stated they are nothing more than a farce.
BSC’s giant step forward turns into nothing more than a five-year stagger.
It is often said, “If you must do something halfway, don’t bother to do it at all.” Who ever heard of half a social frat? Such organizations, under the present conditions, will be nothing more than lackluster clubs with the overbearing restrictions which have been superimposed.
Without national affiliations there can be no brotherhood between other college chapters. It will be impossible for one brother to visit another college and ask, “Are there any SAE brothers here?” It will be impossible to have any tradition from the national group on which to build one’s own chapter.
Without houses social frats will be like a man without bones. Interchange between brothers will have to come at bi-weekly or monthly meetings; there will be no set place that a brother can expect to call “home,” no place where he can expect to regularly find other brothers and share the interests that had brought them together in the first place.
Hazing is the feature of joining a fraternity that instills both the fraternity’s tradition and its objectives into the mind of the new members. It probably sticks in the mind of a fraternity brother better than anything else about the whole institution.
Yes, we concede that the mere mention of the words “social fraternity” on this campus is a step forward—but just a little step.
Some people associated with the college are too hesitant about moving along with progress—in fact they sometimes move against it. Perhaps an occasional push--?
October 21, 1966
I confess that I did not know what to think upon reading Contemplations & Reflections last week. As a member of Beta Sigma Delta I would like to first apologize to the authorS for the fact that we do not have $50,000 in our treasury with which to build a frat house. I’m sorry that we would not like to be able to find Beta Sigma Delta members at UCLA, the U. of Hawaii, or anywhere else, even if we could have national affiliations. As for hazing, I’m sorry to report that the infirmary will not be filled with Beta Sigma Delta pledges during our initiation period.
What is a social fraternity? To my way of thinking, a social fraternity is a vehicle whereby men of like interests can get together and share meaningful social experiences. The author of the column may feel that having a frat house, hazing, and national affiliations are necessary to have a social fraternity, we of Beta Sigma Delta do not agree. I agree with the columnist in that social fraternities may still have a long row to hoe, but I am mature enough, I hope, to realize that real progress has been made. We who are in social fraternities are, on the whole, satisfied with the existing policy. Beta Sigma Delta is appreciative of the pioneer work done by the brothers of Sigma Iota Omega, and we hope to follow in their footsteps. If the fraternities themselves are satisfied then why can’t the rest of the campus join us in being appreciative of what has been done. Progress must come slowly, and I once again assert that a big step has been made.
In closing, I once again apologize to Mr. Benyo and Miss Matulis for not fulfilling their expectations. I can only say that, being Number Two, Beta Sigma Delta promises to try harder.
William J. Howells
Representing Beta Sigma Delta