(a.k.a. "The 1969 Crisis")
On December 1, 1969, the entire executive board of Kappa Sigma resigned, and the chapter went into a period of deconstruction & reconstruction. In order to best relay what really happened, here are the original documents-- they do a much better job describing the events and feelings of that time than I could ever hope to do with a summary.
I have tried to stay as true as possible to the original, typewritten documents, down to the line breaks and typos. One result of this is that the few expletives in these documents have been retained, so if you are sensitive to such things, consider yourself warned.
Letter from David Stechholz
Sept. 10, 1969 To future generations of Sinfonians, I have been meaning to write this addendum to the files for several months. Perhaps you have already noted that I am a lousy typist, and that much of the minutes during this administration appeal risque and positively unorth- odox. For the former I apologize; a talented typewriter I have not. For the latter, though, I make no apologizes. It would be easy for me to critize previous Secretaries for their bent on format minutes-writing. Yet, I shall not lower myself to that because I realize that the office of Secretary is a very demanding job, that Each Secretary had his own style, and that history has handed down a general and effective format for organizational secretaries. Then why have I rather audaciously cast aside that which has worked so well for so many? I cannot give a behavioral listing of reasons for my actions. But I have tried to be honest with several factors: that is, not only presenting a reasonable facsimile, but keeping Brothers interested in the fraternity, the meeting, and adding a little sparkle to a world which often excessively steeps itself in a mire of rules and regulations, law and order, and creativity- stiffling formalism. To this end, the minutes of the Rider administration are quite different. We have experienced some exhilirating effects by varying our style of meetings, minutes, and occasional dropping Robert' Rules. It should not be felt that I am trying to destroy the old order. Buddha said that change is the essence of all things. I believe that he is correct. In conclusion, I wish to quote Tennyson, even though it is somewhat of the subject and has been heard by you several times before: "The old order cahngeth, yielding place to new, And God hath fulfilled himself in many ways, Lest one good custom should corrupt the world." Fraternally yours, David P. Stechholz P.S. I do not live in the house in this my Senior year. I reside at 812 Brown St., from under the foorboards.
Where is your Brother?
["Brother-to-Brother List" elided]
[Addendum, p. 4 of the minutes]
Passed on the 'meeting' of Mon., Dec. 1st, dps as dps would like to reiterate these considerations: 1. Do we want a fraternity? 2. Do we want a House? 3. What do we propse to do about these first 2 points? 4. What are the other alternatives? A large 'music' apartment house? 5. Can you speak to any BROTHER in the fraternity? 6. If not, why not, and what are You going to do about it? 7. Some people haven't completely thrown out the Bible, and they feel that Cleanliness is next to Godliness. It might be noteworthy to visiting friends, lady-friends, girls, prospective members, and to ourselves whether our House is indeed a pig-pen or a clean place. Amazingly, this might mean that some of us, perhaps myself included, ought to start thinking of others' welfare ahead of our own. I wonder whether God rates Individuality as license when it occupies a higher value than 'where is your Brother?'??? 8. Have some of the Seniors, especially dps, Pontificated a little too much? 9. Is it time for some of the Seniors to give place to younger members in positions of great responsibility? (I think that this must be done). 10. Should the fine system be reactivated? 11. Should the Brothers come to respect Fraternity meetings, song rehearsals, and social activities as having a maximum priority on a certain night? 12. Should they be willing to pay a fine for missing any of the above mentioned events? (from the suspended By-Laws: "Continual unexcused absense from meetins may be a cause for suspension from this Chapter." III, C. "Nonpayment of fines shall be a cause for suspension from this Chapter." XII, G. 13. Should a By-Law (assuming resumption of the existing By-Laws) be submitted that would require at least three Juniors or Sophomores (or Freshmen) to be on teh Exec. Board (assuming resumption of an Exec. Board)? 14. ARE WE DOING TOO DAMNED MUCH? 15. Are some of us doing too damned much? 16. Do we really care about the Fraternity? 17. Do we care about its future? What about RUSH? 18. Is it fun to be in Kappa Sigma? 19. Should we disaffiliate with National? 20. Is the fraternity not fulfilling what you want? Why not? 21. When was the last time that all the Brothers were at a Song Rehearsal, a Meeting, a Rush event, a Social Function?? 22. When was the last time the fraternity gathered on a Sat. afternoon to straighten up the 810 Brown property? 23. Should we hold new elections now? 24. Is it time for Rider and Stechholz (D.) to step down (now)? 25. How about you? 26. If you were a rushee, would you sincerely want to join FMA-KS? Why not? or why?
December 3, 1969 Dear Brothers, In the opinions of those of us who were at the fraternity meeting on Monday night, the Phi Mu Alpha organ- ization must do something about its depressed condition immediately or die. As has been the case in the past several months, a bare quorum attended the meting. Unfortunately, the same men have made up this quorum week after week. Still more unfortunately, about two-thirds of them will not be returning to Valparaiso next year. A big pledge class alone will not be enough to keep Phi Mu Alpha operating next year: more important, first, will be a core of dedicated leaders taken from among our current members.But most important of all is a group of brothers: men willing to live together, have fun together, and work together, with some common goals in mind. Each brother has to do his share. This group with some comon concerns, and conscientious leaders to guide it can be Phi Mu Alpha. The question is whether such a core of leaders exists, and whether such a group of men with common concerns exists, and if not, what to do about it. Another program which we must face is that we are a small group of men, most of whom are--rightly so--more inter- ested in academic work than in non-academic activities. It may be that we are too small to effectively operate a restaurant, a rooming house, a choir, a band, a soccer team, a basket- ball team, a radio show, charitable services, and social activities. Due to the hard efforts of a few men, these operations are being successfully or nearly successfully brought off during this year. It may be impossible to continue this next year. It seems obvious that we are stretching ourselves too far or too thisn and that a dramatic cutback must be made. Think of the fraternith related activities between now and Christmas requiring the effort of many brothers: There are the usual weekly activities such as: 1. Basketball games 6. Executive Board Meetings 2. Meetings 7. Choir Rehearsals 3. House Duties 8. Basketball Practice 4. Madrigal Rehearsal 9. Ushering at Concerts 5. Radio Programs Some activities require participation more often: 1. Brass Quintet 3. Filling the Pop Machine 2. Dish Duties 4. Making minor house repairs Also many special activities: 1. Reception after Christmas Concert 2. Singing in Chapel service 3. Rush Visitations 4. Christmas Party and Decorations 5. Committee Meetings 6. Singing at the Old Folks Home 7. Performing at "Celebrate Christmas" All of these activities require forethought and preparation by someone to come off. Just consider: is this too much to do--and still remember why you are attending college. Therefore, at our meeting on Monday some extraordinary actions were taken. On the suggestions of the president and with the support of the members of the Executive Board, the Bylaws were suspended indefinitely; and all the elected officers resigned. Those of us who were at the meeting reorganized as an informal caucus. Phil Hahn was elected chairman and Dave Stechholz was elected Secretary. The informality of the causus will permit us to inquire much more easily into the organization's problems without being hindered by bureaucracy and traditions. Because our internal problems are so great, it was decided to postpone rush activities during the coming week at least. On next Monday night we will meet at nine p.m., sing together, and then turn to the problems as we see them. We shall attempt to give a summary of them here: First is the problem of membership. Many of our present members are simply not interested in continuing actively as Sinfonians. During this week, those who were at the meeting are attempting to contact all who were not there; and, if appropriate, discuss this issue with them. it was the agreement of the caucus that those who sincerely what to be without responsibilities in the Phi Mu Alpha organizations or who are not especially interested in seeing that the organ- ization continue to exist should be granted suspension immediately. Therefore, you are being asked now to come to a decision during the next week. Please think seriously about it and ask yourself if Phi Mu Alpha has any meaning for you now. If you wish to be suspended, there will be no hard feelings, no broken friendships. In fact, it is fully expected that up to twelve men may request suspension next monday. On the other hand, if you are sufficiently committed to the organization to take an active part in either rehabilitating it or dismantling it, then you should indicate your committment by either attending the caucus next Monday or sending a written excuse. It will be assumed that all who remain silent are tacitly asking for suspension. Suspended brothers, by the way, will not be evicted from the house or removed from the meal plan. We will still value our relationship as friends. We merely want to trim our voting body down to include only those who intend to parti- cipate in it. Finanial details will be worked out indiv- idually later. Second, it will be necessary to decide whether to con- tinue the organization's existence ar whether to te minate it. This is seriously meant. If those who will be returning next year do not turn out in sufficient force or with sufficient enthusiasm on Monday night, we will have no choice other than to disband. If this is done, those living in the house and eating on the meal plan will be asked to selet temporary officers to maintain those institutions during the rest of the school year, and to sell the house and dispose of the furn- iture as soon as practical. If this quite probable action is not necessary, the organization will have to reshape itself and decide on its goals anew. This means that decisions would be made on what activities are to be re-begun, whether we will conduct a rush program to attract new members, and so forth. This could culminate in the appointment of a nominating committee by the caucus, and the election of new officers in the immediate future. If this sounds like it will be a long meeting, you are correct. It will be a long meeting, one that will either re-make or break this frat- ernity. We trust that brothers who are concerned will arrange their schedules for such a meeting. We are not looking forward to Monday night with any false optimism. In fact, we are very open to the possibility of collectively saving face through suicide; for this is certainly a more honorable course than collective death by atrophy. Respectfully and fraternally, [signed] Phil Hahn, Caucus Chairman [signed] Al Rider, Ex-president
From GA Minutes, Dec. 8, 1969, (David Stechholz, recording minutes)
The Meeting was called to order by Caucus chairman Hahn. [...] 100% attendance was noted, with Alumni Brothers Julseth, Kroeger, and McCall being present as well. Everyone's attendance at this meeting is greatly appreciated by Kappa Sigma Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. This unifying-solidarity meeting was an expression of the Brotherhood to remain the organizations we are under the symbols of Phi, Mu, and Alpha. The significance of this expression of Brotherhood cannot be minimized. [...] The last item on the Mu Calendar is this: a slate of officers will be proposed and posted before Xmas Recess by the Nominating Committee. WITH SUSPENDED BY-LAWS, EXEC. BOARD, AND RUSH PROGRAM, WE BEGAN TO CONFRONT THE PROBLEMS. Several Brothers had called for an Inactive Status. Some Brothers wanted to keep the Status quo, but this notion is passé. After some discussion, Brother J. Stechholz made the following motion: "I move that we initate a voluntary inactive status, with general social, meal plan, and musical options. An amendment was proposed that the General Assembly shall approve or disapprove the case of Inactive Status for a Brother requesting such status. This amendment was passed, 21-9. Another amendment was proposed which deleted the musical option from the motion and replaced it with this concept: The musical oblication of a Brother on Inactive Status shall be the same as an Active Brother. This amendment passed, 19-14. Brothers Stohs, Zeckser, and Snowbeck gave explanation of their 'no' votes. Brother Rider then proposed three amendments: 1. Anyone on Inactive Status must pay National Dues. This amend- ment passed 15-1. Henceforth abstainsions shall be included. 2. Anyone on Inactive Status cannot live in the house. Passed, 26-2-1 3. A Brother on Inactive Status, if he chooses to participate in some fraternity active, shall be assessed for the individiual activities in which he wishes to participate. Passed, 25-1-4. The motion was reworded and voted upon as follows: KS shall initiate a voluntary Inactive Status with general social and meal plan options. The General Assuembly shall approve or disap- prove the case of Inactive Status for each Brother requesting such status. The Musical Obligation shall be the same for both Active and Inactive Brothers. Sub-sections: 1. A Brother on Inactive Status must pay National Dues. 2. A Brother on Inactive Status cannot live in the House. 3. A Brother on Inactive Status, if he chooses to participate in some fraternity activities, shall be assessed for the individual activit- ies in which he wishes to participate. The entire motion was voted upon and passed, 23-10-0. The General Assembly now opted for discussion of what constitutes musical obligations. Brother Gouker explained the Music Commettee Open Meeting of last week. Brother Rider submitted the following motion: "Be it moved that all regulations and rules in the tradition and By-Laws of KS regarding Musical Obligations cease. In place of this deletion is the following: Being a brother means a musical obligation." In discussing this motion, the last sentence implies that the musical oblication of each Brother is to be decided between himself and the Music Committee. The motion passed, 29-3-1. Brother Zeckser explained is 'no' vote. The following resignations have been tendered: Al Rider (Pres.), Eric Moehring (V.P.), David Stechholz (Sec.), Wayne Heitmann (Tres.), Jim Haritatos (Historian), LeRoy Christenson (Social Comit. Chairman). Brother Hahn proposed a new Exec. Board-Commettee structure as follows: Exec. Board- 1. President, 2. Recording Secretary, 3. Pledge Committee Chairman and Vice- Pres., 4. Treasurer, 5, Music Committee Chairman, 6. House Manager-Warden, 7. Rush Committee Chairman. These are all elective offices. The Social Committee Chairman is also an elective officer, but shall not sit on the Exec. Board. The following will be appointed by the Exec. Board on the basis of interest: 1. Asst. Secretary for Correspondence, 2. Historian, 3. Alumni Sec., 4. Meal Steward, 5. Pop Machine Manager, 6. Assistant Treasurer, 7. Director of Ushering, 8. Radio Committee Chairman, 9. All committee members. This proposal was discussed, and acclaimed almost unanimously.
[Side note by Joel Hahn: This design went against National requirements, which mandated that Historian & Alumni Secretary also be elected positions. I don't think the actives of that time knew that, nor do I think they would have cared much about that had they known, given the situation.]
Brother J. Stechholz moved that the chair appoint a committee to prepare a slate of officers to be posted prior to Xmas vacation. This motion was amended to have the members of the committee elected by the General Assembly instead of by Chairmanship appointment. The amendment and the motion were accepted. Brother Wheelock also moved that the new officers be nominated for a term which shall begin in January, 1970 and terminate in March, 1971, this making present Seniors ineligible for office. The motion carried. The following were monimated for the Nominating Committee: Brothers Gouker, Hahn, Haritatos, Keller, Pinkert, Rider, J. Stechholz, Van Gorder, Wheelock, Zeckser. The following Brothers were chosen to this seven-man committee by the General Assembly: Gouker, Hahn, Keller, Pinkert, Rider, Van Gorder, Wheelock. [...] Brothers Hahn and Rossin are the temporary co-assistant Treasurers. 'Fuck'em' will do for the By-Laws. [...]
BEETHOVEN'S BIRTHDAY (199) December 16, 1969 Dear Brothers of Kappa Sigma: Since recent developments of the fraternity have taken place I have had a compulsion to try to communicate with you regarding this. For a while I thought that I might be the Faculty Advisor to a local woman's club but I hope that the back fence gossiping has subsided at this point because this behavior is really rather silly for men of your stature to embrace. You have so many things in your favor which mitigate against this sort of thing. Princeipally you have the Christian ethic and even if you claim that no one practices it, you men at least might give it a good try. You could demonstrate the love of god with a little intelligent good will . I can easily see that living together with 25 men might try the patience of a saint especially in a small house and that you might find one or two of the brothers unbearable, but you certainly can't, if you're honest with yourself, find more than that. The trouble is that you let yourselves develop into little gossipy groups and of course if that continues you do a marvelous job of feeding your own private prejudices and 'eer long you have split the organization down the middle. Please walk like Sons of God and assume that everyone else is doing the same thing before you behave otherwise. The second thing I'd like to bring up is for you to take stock of your normal activities as a fraternity. In view of the fact that almost everyone is so busy and time is of the essence, many of your activities seem to become a chore and a burden. Why don't you decide on what you think is really important for the organization to do and avoid so much splintered activity which has been characteristic of the past. For one thing, this is just my own personal opinion, I think that a spring program other than your outdoor program is needed like a hole in the head, because in the second semester there are so many programs that have mandatory attendance that one less program is truly quite welcome. There are activities that you could help to a much greater extent by con- tributing your services where they are sorely needed. For example: con- tributing your services to forming a chorus for the opera when needed, or making yourselves available for an orchestra for extra-curricular activities when an ensemble is needed. You'd certainly get credit on any program that Sinfonia was the organization responsible for such efforts. I'd like to compliment you on the program given about a much ago, however, because it was outstanding and great fun. Of course you could not do a program again in that format because it was much too gimmicky, however everything you did on that program could have been done in a formal manner except perhaps, Snowbeck and his reeds, and the poetry which was difficult to hear. The third thing that I'd like to bring up is to get you to realize that Sinfonia is a professional fraternity. Please take this seriously because otherwise you are living a lie and selling a lie to your pros- pective members. You are unique beause you are not a social organization. This is truly a strength because the social fraternities havin't a leg to stand on except their social prowess and in view of their new housing, I question the university's attitude toward their efficacy because it seems these houses with a few minor changes could be turned into dormitories very easily. It seems to me that it is an example of the handwriting on the wall. Sinfonia is a professional music fraternity....music is one of the arts and therefore is a product of the spirit world...it is heartening to know that Sinfonia welcomes practitioners of other arts as well as music. It certainly behooves you to sell this element to your pledges, as well as the comforts of the house and the meal plan, etc. Please, please, please don't entice men into the organization that have absolutely no interest in the arts. This augurs no future for the fraternity. You have to orient yourself to this organization's being created to help the professional musician. Even if you are not going to make your living as a musician, you are going to have to think this way as a fraternity because that is the reason for Sinfonia's being. This fraternity was founded to fill a need and it does fill a need when the true reason is realized. As you realize th e arts are always in need because the great unwashed as a whole are quite insensitive to the spiritual qualities of life that make a civilization really have meaning. One more item. Many of you look with great disdain on the National. This is not difficult to understand because I agree that they could do more to help the locals than they do. But this can change and the only people who can change it are the people in the locals. You as a single local might find this difficult but if you coordinated with the provinces you might be able to create some pressure which could motivate the National. You might consider this as of the future. That's all men. A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all! Keep the Faith, Baby; a mustard seed's worth, maybe? Yours, [signed] [Kroeger]
THE BIRDS AND THE BEES or THE MEETING OF January 5, 1970 His Holiness Philip the Rooster called the 1st Holy Ecumenical Conclave Des Cardinals. Most of the cardinals, and a few peckers, were present. Monseigeneur Storkinholtz started to read the notations of previous fungus, but the Holy Bird took over due to Storkinholtz's bad-assery. Next, several feathered Fathers red their reports. The Rushian Bird, Cardinal Tealey, said that sign-up sheets for recruiting new fowls are in heaven (second floor, see the Ten Commandments Board). Give the fowls all you have, but don't screw up this program least shame come upon your house. Next, His Holiness Philip the Rooster gave a Heaven-Purgatory-Hell Report: more money is needed to finance St. JOHN's Cathedral. Do indulge on this matter, if possible. Arch-bishop Plato the Pious gave a Meal Plan Loaf; since we are runing short of funds, all priests are asked to go easy on the wine. Some old business was disgust. The Holy College des Cardinals voted to knock out the window in St. JOHN's Cathedral and not put in another window. (It would be most unholy for the dwellers of heaven to look out onto the plains of purgatory and the next door structure which is rooted in hell.) A new sucking vacuumcleaner was tacitly approved by the College. The Nominating Committee Report was not turned over to the Good Archbishop Plato. He read the proposed slate: Holy See- Cardinal Pinkert, Pledgemaster-Vice Holy See-Father Rossin, House Manager- St. Michaelsen, Recording Secretary- Monseigeneur Ferko, Tres.- His Hoiness Philip the Rooster, Minister of Music- Father Wheelock, Socialissimo- Bishop VonStein Gorder, and Rushian Bird- Jolly Old St. Nic. Several of these fine-feathered-fathers declined their nominations as the Election progressed. THE ELECTION OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL TO THE HOLY SEE (see) OF THE COLLEGE OF CARDINALS Needless to say, the College was under great strain to choose new fowlry for the High (!) Exec. Council. But, We have dunit. On the first ballot a new Holy See was sighted. (No surprise, our Caucus Holiness). Philip the Rooster is the new Holy See. All through the world bells are ringing, proclaiming the news that was made this day in the Sistine Chapel. Roma. The other elected fowls are these: *******************(His HOliness Philip the Rooster)****************** Pledgemaster-Vice-Holy See* Father Rossin, Heavenly House Manager * St. Michaelsen, Recording Scribe * Monseigeneur Ferko, Teasurer of the Holy Trsy.* Father Lessman, Minister of Music * Jolly Old St. Nic, Socialissimo * Bishop J. Storkinholtz, Rushian Bird * Cardinal Pinkert The Fowls of the Holy Aviary at least had their strength sapped out of them. THE INSTALLATION will be next Monday, January 12th. All of the Cardinals will be present. All Roma will be here to salute the New Birds Ah..... Bishop CAZ resigned as Alumni Scribe. (please read backwards): sutcere sinep ni, HALLELUJAH!!!!! Posthumously, Feed him to the Lions (Dandylions)! ------> DP Storkinholtz, Monseigeneur