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History of Kappa Sigma Jan 7, 1970 - March 14, 1971
(summarized from GA minutes and correspondence file)
by Joel Hahn


The first meeting of the executive board of the new administration was on Jan 7, 1970. Ex-president Rider gave a farewell speech, a little advice, and wished the new board a lot of luck.

The new officers consisted of:

President......................Philip Hahn
Vice President.................Thomas Rossin
Secretary......................Frank Ferko
Treasurer......................Gary Lessmann
Membership Committee Chairman..John Pinkert
House Manager/Warden...........Christopher Michaelson
Music Committee Chairman.......Timothy Nickel
Faculty Advisors...............William Kroger
                ...............Alan Julseth

One of the first things the newly elected board tackled was filling the newly vacated and/or created appointed positions. They did so as follows:

Meal Steward             Tom Rossin
Choir Director           R. Schneeweiss
Corresponding Secretary  B. Ness
Ushering Chairman        B. Ness
Alumni Secretary         D. Schulz
Historian                G. Bossard
Athletics                J. Stechholz
Fine Arts Chairman       C. Michaelsen
Radio Program            Music Committee

The official induction of elected officers was conducted on February 9. There was apparently some turnover in the positions of Historian and Alumni Secretary between the beginning of January and the middle of February, as the official list of officers reported to Nationals at that time included John Pinkert as Historian and Timothy Nickel as Alumni Secretary.

The chapter reinstated the local bylaws (possibly with some reworking to cover some of the problems that resulted in the previous executive board's resignation) sometime during this administration's term, but no record still exists of exactly when they did so, only that it was sometime before Spring 1971.

Rush, which had been postponed while the chapter sorted out its problems, started up in February. Due to an incident involving drunken rushees, which got the attention of the Dean of Men, the chapter passed a motion declaring that there would be no alcohol consumption in the house during a rush function by any rushee or brother.

There was much discussion at that time of the possibility of joining the social fraternities on the Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC), and thus gaining IFC's support for rush but also having to abide by IFC's rules for rush. No motion was made, so the chapter stayed free of IFC.

Four pledges were inducted at the end of February:

John Brusen    David Gouker
Bryan Dadlow   David Schulz
Norman Franke  Tim Nickel
David Potter   Jon Stechholz

Not long after the first rush was over, a second rush was undertaken, though it set up on a one-to-one scale, with each rushee having an active or two assigned to him. At the end of it, only one ballot was sent out--and that man decided not to pledge. Also, just as the second rush started, Bryan Dadlow depledged, leaving the chapter with only three pledges that semester. Not the most auspicious numbers, given how many seniors would be leaving at the end of the school year.

Money was very tight this semester, due to necessary house repairs, brothers not paying their dues & their phone bills, and in a paraphrase of a statement by President Hahn, previous chapter treasurers having been somewhat lax. It got so bad that the executive board set a date and declared that anyone who hadn't paid up by that time would be assessed a late fee on top of what they owed and be given until the end of the semester to pay every cent that was owed. Additionally, in the cases of actives & recent alumni who owed money but wouldn't or couldn't pay, the chapter sent letters to their parents, hoping that the parents would either pay up or convince their sons to pay up.

In March, Dr. Norman Hannewald was placed on Alumni Status--the last of the charter members to make that move.

Five brothers were involved in the university's production of Hippolytus in February.

After a rocky period with near nil attendance at rehearsals, the chapter's wind ensemble was officially put down and laid to rest in March. As the secretary related in the minutes, "the wind ensemble died and did NOT rise on the third day, or the fourth day, or the fifth day, or the sixth day, or the seventh day, or the eighth day, or the ninth day, or the tenth day..."

It was during this semester that Nationals finally changed the "blackball" rule in the National Constitution from a pledge not being activated if only five brothers voted against him, to require a more reasonable three-fourths super-majority for activation. Kappa Sigma had locally changed this rule several years before, and had been asking Nationals about the procedure to go about getting it changed nationally almost ever since.

Province Workshop was at Chi Omega (Northeastern Illinois) in February; four actives from Kappa Sigma attended.

The chapter put on a performance of Gilbert & Sullivan's Trial by Jury as part of Valparaiso University's annual Week of Challenge in April. It went over very well, as evidenced by requests, including one from Gail Eifrig, for an encore performance.

In early May, Kinsey Hall was set on fire by an extremist group of Vietnam War protestors, and fell against the building next to it. After the destruction by fire of the old chapel in the 1950's, Kinsey Hall had taken on the role of Music Building (and Administration Building, which is why it was targeted for arson); thus it was one of the places on campus most near and dear to the hearts of the chapter. By 1970, however, the Art-Music Building (formerly the Engineering building) had taken over much of the role, including being the location for the chapter's ritual. Several actives helped clean out what was left inside before the building after the fire. Though rendered unusable and unstable by the fire, the building was not actually torn down until the mid-1970's!

Then came summer break, giving everyone plenty of time to think back over the previous school year and/or think ahead to the coming school year--or mentally block out as many of those thoughts as possible--according to one's personal outlook.

At the first meeting of the 1970-1971 school year, there was some turnover among the officers. Thomas Rossin was replaced as pledgemaster with John Pinkert, though Tom retained his position as Vice President. Dave Deffner was appointed chairman of the Rush/Social Committee. Schulz stepped down as Alumni Secretary, and Ron Oberla agreed to take on those duties--perhaps the first time in the chapter's history that an alumnus had held an active office. (According to National's regulations, Alumni Secretary is the only executive board position that can be held by an alumnus.)

Several brothers helped out with the University's production of Marat Sade, by playing the role of "lunatic musicians." Typecasting at its finest.

One of the first big conflicts of the new school year was something that had been simmering with occasional flare-ups for quite a while--Meal Plan. Lack of funds and brothers not cleaning up after themselves (leaving dishes unwashed and spills untouched) were the main culprits, as always. The result this time around was the removal of weekend meals from the plan, which lasted for about three weeks before being reversed.

In October, Kappa Sigma started down the road to performing Play of Herod with SAI in December. Between the various parts and the size of the chorus, there would be something for everyone in both groups to do. Auditions were held, and rehearsals were begun, only for the show to be postponed until February and then cancelled due to not being able to get ready in time. Over the following year, the chapter went back and forth a few times with Oxford Press, eventually getting everything all straightened out and both sides to agree that since the show was never performed, no royalties were due.

In November, just at the end of rushing, Dave Deffner stepped down as chairman of the Rush/Social Committee. Five days later, the chapter inducted the new pledges, so this did not have much of an effect on the rush/pledge program.

The fall pledge class consisted of:

William Beermann  Norm Franke
Bryan Borg        Frank Ferko
Richard Dieter    Ron Oberla
Randy Gardner     Dave Potter
David Hawkins     Larry Wheelock
John Kurinsky     John Sonderman
John Schoening    Phil Hahn
Mark Stohs        Jon Stechholz
Lorenz Wahlers    Gary Snowbeck

Larry Wahlers was blackballed two weeks into the pledging period, and Randy Gardner depledged at the beginning of December, leaving the class with seven.

After Christmas break, it was obvious that Play of Herod was in trouble, and the show was cancelled. At the end of January and after much discussion, both the music committee chairman and the choir director (Tim Nickel and Larry Wheelock, respectively) resigned; the failure of Play of Herod was the last straw for each. The music committee was left to pick a new chairman; Frank Ferko was chosen to fill the position until elections in March. The choir director position was left vacant for the next administration to fill.

Initiation for the Fall pledge class was held at the end of January--about the time plans for Spring rush were getting under way. David Hawkins and Richard Dieter did not fulfill their pledging requirements on time (in one case, low grades was the issue), leaving the chapter in a bit of a quandary over how to handle the situation. The chapter decided not to initiate the two with the rest of their class. Their pledging period was instead essentially extended, though as "quasi-actives" instead of "pledges"; defining the term, in part, as "a probationary status and a quasi-active member is granted full active membership by the chapter upon fulfillment of the established requirements in the following semester, otherwise he will be dismissed from the chapter." (This seems to have been done to get around limits on the maximum length of the pledging period.) Eventually the two of them were simply added into the spring pledge class.

The National president, Robert C. Soule, visited the chapter in the middle of February. The chapter had about one week's notice, and managed to have the house looking clean as can be--including the installation of new carpeting in the halls and stairway--and put together a celebratory feast. Mr. Soule came away quite impressed.

In yet another turnover in the list of officers, John Pinkert stepped down as pledgemaster just before ballots for the Spring pledge class were sent out. Ron Oberla was chosen to replace him.

Dr. Telschow, who'd been appointed the head of Valparaiso's music department in the fall, was made an honorary member of the chapter in the Spring.

At the end of February, the chapter treasury listed an accumulated loss of about $700 (though the total balance ended up around $1300 in the black). This caused a bit of consternation, leading to the suggestion that the books be audited, to more ultimatums that delinquent actives pay up or be assessed interest, and more letters home to the parents of certain delinquent alumni.

At the second meeting in March, elections were held. The results:

President....................Norm Franke
Vice-President/Pledgemaster..Jon Stechholz
Treasurer....................Gary Lessmann
Secretary....................Dennis Ferrini
Music Committee Chairman.....Larry Wheelock
Rush Committee Chairman......John Schoening
House Manager/Warden.........Dave Potter
Social Committee Chairman....Bryan Borg
Faculty Advisor..............Norm Hannewald
Meal Steward.................Rick Carter

For 1970-71, the chapter received three of the possible seven citations for outstanding achievement: Musical Achievement, Chapter Operations, and Special Projects.

The minutes for the Hahn administration end on March 14, 1971 with the cryptic note "The meeting ended with a short discussion of Kroeger's ideas about what we'll do about Dr. Harmon..."

Dr. Harmon was the governor of Province 37. This quote is the only mention in the minutes from this time about the tussle the chapter got into with the province and Nationals over the province musicale in March 1971.

The story, as pieced together from General Assembly minutes, the correspondence file, and alumni memories, is that the province musicale (for which attendance by each chapter was supposed to be required) was scheduled to be hosted by Chi Omega chapter (though on the campus of Northwestern University) the same night as Phil Hahn's french horn recital--thus, there was no way he could attend. The chapter decided that, to show support for their president, the entire chapter would attend his recital. Since they couldn't be in two places at once, they recorded several pieces during the last week of February and arranged with Chris Butzen of Chi Omega chapter to have that recording played in their stead, accompanied by slides of Kappa Sigma's activities. That way, Kappa Sigma could be present in spirit, even though they couldn't attend in person. The multi-media presentation was similar in concept to a multi-media piece of music with accompanying slides that the chapter performed live at the Kappa Sigma fall musicale in 1969--a musicale attended by both Mr. Butzen and Dr. Harmon.

When Dr. Harmon heard shortly before the March 2 concert that Kappa Sigma had sent a tape recording instead of attending in person, he reacted quite negatively to the news, and prevented Mr. Butzen from going ahead with Kappa Sigma's section of the concert. Apparently, no announcement to the audience about the change in program was made; the concert simply proceeded directly from the piece before Kappa Sigma's section to the piece after.

The chapter felt (and not completely without reason) that the province governor and the national officers held something of a grudge against Kappa Sigma. Part of the cause of this grudge was owning a house; it apparently made the chapter too much like a social fraternity. It is at this point that the above quote from the minutes occurred.

Then came the response from National.

March 19, the fraternity president replied to Kappa Sigma's letter, sent to the same people as Dr. Harmon's was. In his letter, he sides completely with Dr. Harmon, but takes a more gentle chiding tone--more disappointed than angry, and eager to have Kappa Sigma learn from its mistakes. The executive secretary, Alan Adams, replied on March 22. (Mr. Adams, as secretary, had had frequent written contact with Kappa Sigma over the years, and so was familiar with Kappa Sigma's past actions as well as with the current active members.) His language was somewhat more strident than the president's was, but he, too, emphasized that Kappa Sigma needed to "look positively toward a constructive future instead of toward the difficulties...of the past." -->

All was not as dark as it sounded, however. In the first meeting of the new administration, Dr. Kroeger said that the situation had been blown out of proportion, and that he would send a letter to the appropriate people at National. He also suggested that Kappa Sigma did need more participation with the other chapters and that it might good to donate some money to the Sinfonia Foundation. The chapter immediately moved to take $31 out of the furniture fund and contribute it to the Sinfonia Foundation in the chapter's name. With that, officer installation was held and the torch was passed to the new executive board. Dr. Kroeger's letter and the chapter's attempts to improve their amount of support for province activities--especially offering to host the Fall 1971 Province Workshop--seem to have helped calm things down; subsequent letters from both Dr. Harmon and the national officers were generally positive towards Kappa Sigma.

Respectfully submitted,
Joel Hahn