The fraternity under Matt Dobbertien made some interesting steps forward, as well as a few steps back. The past number of years brought a downsizing of all Greek organizations, and Kappa Sigma was not immune; however, it managed to hold its own, and shrink less than it had in recent years.
Matt suffered from a malady which struck most of the chapter, namely procrastination. Across the board, things were put off until the last minute, then rushed to completion or dropped altogether.
Another major problem during the year, linked to the first, was a general apathy which pervaded the chapter. Topics would be vitally important for a short time, then get pushed to the back burner and wither into nothing.
A small group, led by Mike McConnell, decided that it was time for the chapter to live up to the statement in the By-laws that all meetings would be run according to Robert's Rules of Order. Mike gave a short lesson in Robert's every week for several weeks, to bring the brotherhood up to speed. However, at first, everyone felt that most issues were railroaded through, as the brothers did not know enough about parliamentary proceedure to be able to make their points known. Also, certain loud-mouthed brothers discovered many points which could be used to disrupt meetings with instant votes on non-discussable items. By the end of the year, meetings were running smoother than before, and the business portion of the meetings rarely ran longer than an hour and a half, and usually lasted less than an hour. However, the president had a strong tendency to railroad legislation through, or consider it out of order, just to get on with business. The latter problem was caught the few times it came up, but the former lasted throughout the year. At of the end of the year, Kappa Sigma was still using its own hybrid of Robert's and house rules; but there was now much more Robert's than anything else.
Railroading legislation was not solely the problem of the president; the loud few often managed to quickly sway those who were undecided on an issue, and call for a vote before anyone could make a strong enough case for the other side. Then, if a similar issue came up later, it would automatically be voted on the same way the first was, with little or no discussion.
Over the past year, the chapter gained structure, and got more people involved in the inner workings of the chapter. In the past, it was the dedicated few who got everything done; during 1993-94, people who before would have tried to do everything delegated some responsibilities to members willing to help them out.
Social Chair: Mark Urbaniak
A growing trend over the last few years, which reached a head this year, is that Kappa Sigma sponsored fewer and fewer organized parties, especially those with sororities. This culminated in a confrontation during GA in which Mark was all but accused of not doing his job. To Mr. Urbaniak's credit, the chapter had three sorority parties the first semester, before party privilege was removed by GSRC due to a violation of the campus alcohol policy. However, two of these were with the same sorority, Delta Phi Kappa, which had long been known to be ardent supporters of Kappa Sigma, and of which his girlfriend was the president. Part of the problem can be traced to Mr. Urbaniak's abrasive personality; he reasoned that if the social chairs of the sororities couldn't take the time to return his one phone call, then he wouldn't bother to call them again that semester. Also, he would complain that the sororities' calendars were already full for second semester when he got around to calling them at the beginning of second semester. Second semester had more parties, but the majority were to celebrate lavalierings, pinnings, or engagements, and were not planned by Mark for the most part.
Second semester included the first PMA-SAI party in rememberable history. The theme was "Toga in the Jungle Party," and most people managed to show up in wild print sheets. Much fun was had by all, even though attendance could have been better.
However, when it came to formal, Mr. Urbaniak outdid himself. A wonderful evening in downtown Chicago, the play Shear Madness, and rooms in the Blackstone Hotel for unbelievably low prices made this a formal to remember for those who took part.
The social chairman was also in charge of planning the two fundraisers which took place during first semester; namely the "Rent-a-Sinfonian Party" and the "PMA-DPK Crop Hop." Both succeeded quite well. The Rent-a-Sinfonian Party featured a `slave trade,' as Mark put it, where brothers were auctioned off to the highest bidder to do something for the highest bidder for a couple of hours. The one stipulation placed on the duty performed was that it could not be vulgar or demeaning. "And for some brothers," Mark said, "singing is vulgar and demeaning." Sean Hoyer was sold for the most, $57 total, to one of his fellow Alumni Hall RAs. The brotherhood made over $100 total. The Crop Hop was a fundraiser for the Crop Walk, jointly sponsored by Delta Phi Kappa. Essentially, it was a party with a fee to get in. It was wildly successful, and easily the best attended party in quite a while. The house was packed, and people spilled out onto the lawn.
Meal Plan Co-Chairs: Mark Urbaniak/Tom McKenzie
Meal Plan suffered from a lack of interest this year, and had to be scaled back significantly. Apparently, some brothers had problems making it back to the house for lunch and didn't want to pay full price for just dinner. The suggestion was made for next year that this be circumvented by only serving breakfast and dinner. Getting the dishes done has been a perennial problem as well, and it continued through this year as well.
Earl Jones, who has been the cook for the last seven years, retired at the end of this year. He was made an honorary member several years back, and was well loved by all who got to know him and eat his food. The brotherhood threw him a retirement party, with excellent food cooked by John Oberman. He was also given a plaque in thanks, and a picture of the house brothers standing in front of the house. He will be missed by all.
House Manager: Paul Springmann
The house went through several changes over the summer. New carpeting was installed on the first floor, the stairs, and the hall of the second floor. New thermal windows were installed in the basement, as the old windows were deteriorating rapidly.
Some excitement was had early on during second semester, when a record cold snap ruptured a pipe in the basement, near the washer and dryer. It was discovered by Steve Eichhammer, who suddenly experienced a cold shower. Paul Springmann purchased copper pipe and, with the help of a couple of the house brothers, repaired the broken pipe. However, between this and the water damage, much of the wallboard was removed in that corner; it has yet to be replaced and is something of an eyesore.
The brotherhood encountered that largest bed tax in recent years, as only 14 brothers lived in the house during second semester. Several house brothers went out on co-op in the spring, and the university housing policy made it very difficult for other brothers to move in. Of the two brothers who were off campus during fall semester, only one could move into the house. This problem will continue into next semester, but things are looking good for spring semester of next year.
Special Projects Chair (Music in the Schools): Sean Hoyer
This position was created during the 1991-92 school year, serving one grade school, and has blossomed into a large operation, servicing about twenty schools, and also now includes the women of Sigma Alpha Iota. The joining of forces of the two organizations aided growth considerably, as SAI had many contacts in area schools. The program was set up so that the schools informed Mr. Hoyer what type of ensembles/instruments they wanted to be demonstrated, and musicians from the two organizations would travel to the schools and perform and talk a little about their instrument/ensemble.
However, problems arose when there were not enough Sinfonians and SAIs available on the dates the schools had available. Rescheduling was common, as were last-minute phone calls by Sean Hoyer and the SAI representative. Also, to cut down on the work load, the schools were divided up between Sean, the SAI representative, Kappa Sigma's Music Chairman, and SAIs music chairman. Crossed communications and misunderstandings occurred too often for comfort, but things usually turned out in the end. However, one school got rescheduled three times, and then had the group cancel out an hour before the event due to a stalled car. The contact at the school was very put out at what she saw as a slipshod operation, and informed the presidents of both organizations that she was telling all of her colleagues at area schools to stay away from this program. Next year will say for sure how this will effect things, and if the scheduling and communications problems can be fixed satisfactorily.
Fraternity Assistant: Sean Hoyer
The FA is a university-required position, and, as of 1991, serves as a quasi-Resident Assistant for the fraternity. As such, he is in charge of various educational programs, informal personal counseling and referral, and as a liaison to the university, through the Fraternity ministry of the Chapel. In this position, Sean Hoyer brought in speakers on several topics, including alcohol awareness, acquaintance rape, and risk management. He also took part in meetings of all of the FAs, informing the other fraternities of Kappa Sigma's problems and seeing how they dealt with the same problems, and helping out the other fraternities by showing how PMA solved some of the problems they were having. The rapport between PMA and the social fraternities is slowly improving, and the Summer Orientation planned by the university will include a section on fraternities, helping both improve the inter-fraternity rapport, and with getting incoming freshmen interested in rushing.
Province interaction has rarely been good in recent years, and this year was worse than most, but included the beginnings of a significant improvement. At Fall Sprawl, Kappa Sigma, who in the past always outnumbered any of the other chapters, including the host, only sent three or four brothers. Province Workshop had similar attendance. Kappa Sigma was supposed to host Spring Fling, however, it was not informed of this until after the chapter calendar had been firmed up for the rest of the year. The one date this chapter had free conflicted with the schedules of the other chapters in the province, so the torch was passed to another chapter. Apparently, no one else could hold it either, so the province meeting that usually takes place at Spring Fling was moved back to Valparaiso. Unfortunately, it fell square in the middle of Songfest, so the brotherhood was busy performing while the province met. Also, the new president forgot the date of the meeting, and so almost missed it. Then, after Songfest, very few, if any, brothers showed up to represent the chapter at the meeting. Ed Klint and several of the other province representatives were somewhat angered by this; Kappa Sigma has lost a lot of face in the province, and will have to work hard to get it back.
On the brighter side, inter-province communications via electronic mail have been established. This will allow for easier scheduling of events and communications between the chapters of Province 28.
This was the most successful year for pledging in the last three years. Kappa Sigma inducted pledge classes of 10 and 8, and initiated 9 and 7 respectively. John Herbon did a top- notch job, and it showed in the number and quality of the men initiated. He changed the program so that rushees were informed what the fraternity was all about from the start, instead of waiting until preference dinner to spell out the specifics. Also, he set up rush functions designed to get maximum interaction between brothers and rushees. To this end, one rush function a semester was designated as a brothers/rushees only event, and the other functions included much time and opportunity for brothers and rushees to get to know each other and inform the rushees about the brotherhood.
One probationary member depledged each semester; in each case, the person in question had been rushed quite hard and apparently had made the decision to join without taking much time to think it over. Neither one had any hard feelings toward the fraternity, and it is hoped that they will reconsider their decision in the future.
One change to the probationary member meetings is that John invited each of the officers and major committee chairs to attend and speak about his office and duties. Also, the historian gave a short lecture on the history of the chapter. All this helped tremendously to educate the probationary members about the inner workings of the chapter, and get more people involved in the education process.
John also altered the way the testing at the end of the pledging process was done. By- laws have stated for some time that the FEO was in charge of making up a test for the probationary members; in the past, however, the FEO considered the test of the composite to be enough. John wrote out an actual Chapter Test, based on information which was given out by the various officers, was included in the chapter history, or was discussed by the FEO during their meetings. In this way, he hoped that the probationary members would learn the information more fully, and thus be ready to be full-fledged brothers upon their activation.
Little Brother Big Brother Peter DeMik Tom McKenzie Tom Fielding Tom Prince Jason Heiggelke Kyle Hanser Dan Holst Brent Moritz Dan Imig Mike McConnell Bill Klein Mark Urbaniak Tom Moreland Paul Springmann Andy Richardson Doug Grove Jason Sheck Mike Barton
Little Brother Big Brother Ryan Arnold Jeff Kosman Peter Dreier Jonathan Oblander Mark Earnest Joel Boelke *Dennis Friesen-Carper Sean Hoyer Jeff Lawley Phil Roeglin Joel Scheiwe Jeff Meadows Darren Slack Jonathan DeMik
*Mr. Friesen-Carper was a member of the faculty.
The fall class performed its pledge recital on November 16, 1993; it was excellent overall, and no one piece was better enough than the rest to be mentioned individually here. Their group piece was an arrangement of "Leave a Tender Moment Alone," by Billy Joel. The spring class performed its recital on March 29, 1994; it featured a piano piece performed by Dennis Friesen-Carper, but was also quite excellent overall. Their group piece was "Gotta Get You Into My Life," by Lennon & McCarthy, as arranged by Earth, Wind, & Fire. The pledge project for both groups was to be constructing and painting a new trash bin. Unfortunately, as has been the case only too often of late, they ran out of school year in which to complete the project, and had to try and schedule a time when they all could work on it during the week before finals.
The fraternity was rocked by the self-requested expulsion of two members within the first few weeks of school. Both Paul Wilson and David Gaddini each came to the conclusion that Phi Mu Alpha no longer held anything for them. These cases followed hot on the heels of the failed self-requested expulsion of Mark Duray the semester before. The first of these, Mr. Gaddini, was hotly contested at first, and sparked much discussion, as he had apparently come to this conclusion without ever talking to a single Sinfonian. However, when time came for final discussion, the subject was no longer of primary interest to many brothers, and it quickly came to a vote. Mr. Wilson had had troubles with this chapter last year, when he stormed out of GA due to a misogynist comment made and generally laughed at during Passing of the Gavel. He effectively separated himself from all brothers save those he was close friends with, and most brothers understood that he would leave the fraternity one way or another, even if it meant being expelled due to lack of attendance. The loss of these brothers shook up the brotherhood a lot, and was part of the impetus to improve the probationary member program in order to catch such feelings about the fraternity much earlier than before and try to deal with them.
Sean Esterline studied in Cambridge, England for the first semester. Matthew DeLoera was out on co-op that semester, as well. They returned to active status in the spring. In the spring, Mike McConnell traveled to Namibia, and was part of the university's first group sent to the new study program there. Paul Springmann was elected to take over his duties as warden. In addition, John Oberman graduated and became the computer engineer for the Law School, and Brent Moritz and Fred Renken went out on co-op. Mr. Renken kept his office of Alumni Secretary, but used Jonathan DeMik as a campus liaison/assistant.
Due to the course load of grad school, Steve Eichhammer was placed on limited status; this was renewed for the spring semester. Mark Duray got a job performing in a band at a local bar; this in addition to his studies prompted him to request, and be given, limited status each semester.
Both semesters, PMA had the highest fraternity GPA on campus. Unfortunately, it dropped considerably from that of years past, due to the graduation of several brothers with perfect or near 4.0 GPAs. This showed the consistent high caliber of members of this chapter, as compared to those of the social fraternities on campus.
Relations with SAI were at an all-time high. After many years of declining membership, and almost dying out several times, SAI grew exponentially during the last two years. The new actives were also much more outgoing than many of the previous members. This helped to create a good rapport between the two organizations, aided by the fact that many of the SAIs were either dating, or very good friends with, Sinfonians.
The two organizations began working together as never before. The joint party, Music in the Schools, and some joint ushering brought the two groups together. The future looks quite bright for both groups, so long as they work together instead of at cross purposes.
Perfect Harmony, created many years ago as "Phi Mu Little Sis's," then cut loose and renamed Perfect Harmony Inc. ("P.H.I.;" the "Inc." was dropped when someone realized that they weren't actually incorporated.) when Nationals declared that there could be no "little sis" programs, voted to end its existence this year. They had drifted away from Kappa Sigma over the last three years, and had been struggling for some time to come up with a good purpose & reason to exist. The year was marked with one request for deactivation after another, due mainly to apathy, and it got so bad that the remaining members decided that it was better to just end it than try to rush enough people to fill all the gaps. With SAI on the rise, the need for another music oriented group on campus was lessened, and PH got the short end of the stick. They tried to have a Last Annual PMA-SAI-PH Reading Day Music Interest Picnic, but Mr. Urbaniak had scheduled his own pinning party for that night. With many people having finals the next day, the brotherhood decided not to participate. It was suggested and passed, against Mr. Urbaniak's will, that PH be requested to move it to another day. PH was unable to do so, and so went out of existence not with a bang, but with a whimper. A few of the remaining members were invited to attend Mr. Urbaniak's party, but it was not quite the same thing.
At Homecoming, Kappa Sigma had its first major run-in with the Greek Social Responsibility Council. The university alcohol policy for the fraternities, as created and policed by GSRC, stated that there shall be no kegs at a fraternity party. Some brothers found a loophole in the GSRC guidelines which they attempted to exploit, and were caught by the Executive Secretary of GSRC, a friend of several brothers, who knew right where to go to find the keg, as she had helped to drain the last one which had been hidden at the house, a few weeks before. The chapter was brought up for adjudication. Several brothers were in favor of trying to fight the case, bringing to light the questionable activities of the Executive Secretary, and the loopholes which they had found. However, cooler heads prevailed, and it was decided that the chapter would plead guilty and accept the consequences, for two reasons. First, so that the chapter would appear to accept that mass quantities of alcohol was a bad thing, instead of trying to get off on a technicality; and second, in hopes that the panel would hand down a lighter sentence if the chapter pled guilty instead of arguing a technicality. The brothers that had seen the process at work before saw that GSRC had a "guilty until proven innocent" tendency in its adjudications, and fighting the verdict would simply make the fraternity look bad and make the panel come down that much harder on the chapter. The sentence was that party priveledges were revoked for seven weeks, a period which ended a few days before winter finals. This sentence made Sorority Caroling Night especially interesting, for Kappa Sigma was allowed to take part, as long as no alcohol was allowed in the house. All of the sororities were informed of this. That night, there was a box on the front porch which was marked "Donations," for the sorority women to put their alcohol in while they were in the house, to be picked up upon their departure. Many brothers felt that while the keg had indeed been a bad idea, GSRC had erred in bringing the chapter up. There were bad feelings for a while towards the Executive Secretary, overflowing a bit onto her sorority as well, but it all faded over time into a subject to be laughed at and joked about, then forgotten. Kegs became rarer and rarer at the house, more so than at other fraternity houses, partially due to this incident, and partly due to the fact that many of the younger members did not want to drink until they were at least 21 and therefore of legal age.
The year got off with a good start, musically speaking, as the men's chorus learned and went over several songs from the red book which had been forgotten over time. It was discovered that everyone had made mistakes when learning "Hail, Sinfonia" and "Serenade to a Girl." A concerted effort was made to put this right, and succeeded with the younger members, but most of the older brothers had sung their versions for too long to consistently sing them correctly. This brought to light the problem of learning songs by ear instead of by reading the music. This problem was corrected in both pledge classes by procuring mini-song books from nationals which contained all of the songs they needed to learn, but none of the ones involved in the ritual.
The winter Musicale took place on November 18, 1993, and was, as in years past, a joint venture with SAI. It featured a percussion piece performed by Kyle Hanser, Fred Renken, and Jason Heiggelke, all on one snare drum; a duet from "Don Pasquale" by John Herbon and Matt Dobbertien, and Faure's "Cantique de Jean Racine," performed by selected members of both organizations. The concert concluded with performances of Donato's "All Ye Who Music Love" and Dawson's "Ain't-a That Good News" by the choruses of both groups.
Spring semester was hampered by a publisher's delay of the music the Music Chairman, John Oblander, had ordered for Musicale. Such delays plagued the fraternity every year, yet the Music Chairs consistently relied on such music and rarely ordered it far enough ahead of time to have a cushion against such delays. This year was worse than most in that one piece was delayed indefinitely. Without any music to sing, the chorus was left rehearsing more songs from the red book for several weeks, losing precious time. Then the news came out that Songfest was just three weeks after Musicale. Since the Musicale music was late, Mr. Oblander decided that the chorus had to work intensively on it when it came in, and put off rehearsing for the other musical events for the year until after Musicale, as he considered Musicale the most important musical event of the semester. This ended up hampering the other performances, and created a lot of tension within the brotherhood.
Spring Musicale contained several organ pieces, an arrangement of "Amazing Grace" for electric Guitar by Joel Boelke, and several pieces performed by a trombone septet. One of the more interesting acts was "4:36: Theme and variations on John Cage's 4:30," a piece consisting of three movements of absolute silence; the third movement was the first musical performance to feature the yet uncompleted Center for the Visual and Performing Arts, as the instrumentation included a Nerf(TM) ball not hitting the steel girders. This musicale also featured several "lasts;" the hilarious last performance of Happy & the Fatman, the last performance of Los Quatros Gatos, and "Where Have All the Tubas Gone?" the everybody-is-hoping-it's-the-last performance of The Tuba Men. Unfortunately, the brotherhood neglected its yearly responsibility to perform one all-American Musicale. The Spring Musicale had always been set aside as such, but Mr. Oblander neglected his duties to declare it so, and even personally performed a French organ piece.
Songfest was almost a disaster. At the beginning of second semester, Mr. Oblander decided that the chorus should perform "Akenaten," a minimalist piece by Philip Glass. Many of the purist music majors decided to back this plan of action, even though most of the rest of the group thought the piece would stick out from the rest of the fraternities' and sororities' pieces like a sore thumb. Also, it was quite difficult, and would have required much more rehearsal time than the chorus had. The simmering tensions over this issue came to a boil when Mike McConnell stood up in during chorus and blasted the idea as something only the music majors could like and said it would go over like a lead balloon, which, considering the typical songs performed by the other fraternities and sororities, is a decent assessment of the situation. Much of the chorus rallied to his side, and the idea was reluctantly dropped after a vote to do anything but that passed overwhelmingly. Mr. Oblander had no other ideas for Songfest themes, so several brothers brainstormed and came up with "Cars." The chorus ended up performing "409," "Fun Fun Fun," and "Paradise by the Dashboard Light." Unfortunately, since Mr. Oblander decided that Musicale was more important than Songfest, the chorus had only three weeks to memorize the music and learn the choreography. A vote was taken to drop Songfest altogether, especially as PMA had been placed last in the performance, but failed, on the condition that PMA be placed first, as it had been in the past. Amazingly, the chorus pulled together in the last few days and got everything learned. Unfortunately, it was not learned well enough, and the performance was less than perfect. In fact, Dr. J.S. Paul, one of the judges, approached this brother and said, "You guys were really bad." To the groups' defense other people in the audience, including some SAIs (their first showing in many years), actually thought that, aside from a couple of pitch problems, and one major choreography error, it was a good performance; especially when one considers the amount of time the group had to rehearse.
Continuing in the tradition set up a few years back, the men's chorus also performed in the Chapel, on the Sunday of each semester which fell during finals week. Each performance featured pieces and psalm tunes written by actives, and each was received quite well.
Unfortunately for the chapter, this year spelled the end of several of the most popular Kappa Sigma songs. They were not taught to the younger members, and the only brothers who really knew them were graduating seniors. A half-hearted effort was made to relearn the two most commoly used for lavalierings, namely "Seven Bridges Road" and "Little `Lize Medley (Honey)." "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" was laid to rest for a year, due to over-performing, but was never taught to the incoming members. Unless music is procured in some way, this, too will die. Several other of the popular do-wop songs were also moved to the brink of oblivion, as the number of times they were performed dropped down to once during the year. Campus serenading ground to a halt as the Music Chair determined that musicale music was more important than everything else, and not only did not ever bring these songs out to be run through, he also ran rehearsals so late that going out to sing afterwards was prohibitive. This loss was an unfortunate occurance, and one which desperately needs to be fixed.
One performance of note came at the end of the year, at the wedding of Dave Teske and Gwen Hilgendorf at the Chapel of the Resurrection. The men's chorus performed a psalm tune written by a brother and a prayer in song which the couple had picked out. In addition to this, the university handbell choir and a brass choir, each of which featured several brothers, performed several pieces; and Jim Loeffler was the wedding's organist. Many chapter alumni were in attendance, as was Ed Klint, and it was a better showing of Sinfonian alumni than had ever appeared on campus at one time in the past.
This year, it was hard to find enough willing brothers to fill out the slate of the nominating committee, as most of the best candidates will be either on co-op or studying abroad next year. Half of the candidates ended up running unopposed, and a few others ended up being defeated by candidates nominated from the floor. Only one office had a three-way race. The results were as follows:
Joel Boelke - President Mike Barton - Vice-President Peter DeMik - FEO Dan Imig - Treasurer Bill Klein - Warden David Markley - Music Chair Joel Hieber - Secretary Jason Heiggelke - Historian Dan Holst - Alumni Secretary Martin Jean - Faculty Advisors Rick Thomas
Although the special guests at Jazz Fest weren't quite as big a name as last year's guest, Maynard Ferguson, having several members of the old Tonight Show band perform was quite a sight. As in the past, PMA supplied the ushers for the concerts, as well as many of the members of the Jazz Band.
Fred Renken, as Alumni Secretary, wanted to get more Alumni to visit the chapter than had visited at Homecoming. To this end, he orchestrated an alumni gathering on April 30, 1994, designed to be linked to Chapter Day (April 23), the semi-annual Corporation Board meeting, and Jazz Fest. Earl Jones cooked his last meal for the brotherhood, and tickets were reserved at Jazz Fest for all of the alumni who came. Unfortunately, the weather was too inclement to permit fun and games outdoors, and also kept many people home. The turnout for both alumni and actives left a little to be desired, but those that came down had a time to remember. However, easily twice as many alumni managed to come down for Dave Teske's wedding, perhaps because it was after most graduate schools had let out for the year. The alumni gathering was deemed a success, nonetheless, and may become an annual event, giving alumni the opportunity to travel back more often than just at Homecoming.
By-law revision time came around once again this year. Several changes were made, mostly in the structure. The most significant change was the addition of a musical activity requirement outside of the men's chorus. It was felt that some brothers were slacking off on their musical abilities, and this was done to stave off this growing trend. Also, limited status was changed to not allow consecutive semesters of limited status. The party policy was altered slightly to reflect GSRC policy, and an attempt was made to update the officer's guide. Unfortunately, this last failed, as only three officers managed to get their sections of the guide written. The rest either verbally informed their successor of the tips and tricks of office, or did nothing.
The largest change was an amendment which came up after By-laws revision was complete. The Sexual Assault Policy Committee, which had been meeting since early in first semester, presented its proposed policy on Sexual Harassment & Assault. This was prompted when the first campus date rape case made it through university adjudication. The chapter saw that there was indeed a problem on campus, and decided to take pro-active steps to define the course of action if such a case ever involved a brother or occurred in the house. Parts of the policy were very controversial, and encountered great opposition while the policy was being read, even though no discussion was allowed that week. The following week, which was the last GA of the year, the committee members had convinced enough people that it was better to pass this now and have a policy in place than to have nothing at all. The members of the committee, as well as several concerned brothers, were concerned that a victim could be afraid of the rigmarole and publicity of a university adjudication, and therefore not take any action; whereas if the chapter had a system set up for dealing with such cases, it would be easier for the victim to be avenged for the crime. There was no doubt that it got railroaded through, to avoid being tabled over the summer and dying, but acceptance was made contingent upon approval of the policy by one of National's lawyers. However, after the meeting, Ed Klint voiced great concern that the policy was not in the best interest of the brotherhood, either local or national, and could easily result in a similar situation to the one the university is now facing: a $12 million lawsuit by the defendant, who was expelled after being found guilty of date rape by the university, even though the case, which constituted a state crime, was never brought before the city police, because the publicity and the possible trauma of going to court could be too much for a victim to handle. This will be a major concern of the brotherhood when the policy returns from nationals at the beginning of next year.
Recently, PMA had co-produced several musicals, including "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" and "Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." Another was suggested for this year, but University Theatre decided to perform its first musical in 10 years, "Into the Woods." Several brothers took part, both on stage and behind the scenes, and it was a complete success.
What a long, strange journey it's been. The chapter improved itself in many ways, and slipped behind in others, essentially often taking three steps forward, then two steps back. It is slowly progressing, but problems still, and possibly always will, pervade the brotherhood to a point where either change seems to be going too fast, or everything goes towards maintaining the status quo.
The addition of proper Robert's Rule of Order were a welcome addition, once the brotherhood gained understanding of how it worked. Unfortunately, there are still loopholes allowing the loud few to interrupt GA with calls for five minute recess or calls to adjourn, and allowing the president the power to railroad legislation like never before. Hopefully, the brotherhood will see these and take care of them.
The appointment of a genial Social Chair may solve many of the problems experienced there. Music in the Schools, even though it experienced severe growing pains, has the potential to become a truly great function of PMA & SAI. The house was woefully low on brothers this year, and this trend will continue into next semester. The new actives are doing more than their share to help change this, and improvement here is coming as well.
Province interaction hit a new low for recent years, but doing so shocked the chapter into action; the addition of Internet connections between chapters should improve things immensely, and more brothers are becoming interested in what goes on at other chapters.
The pledge program under Mr. Herbon completely turned around the recent trend of smaller and smaller pledge classes. As almost half of the current actives are graduating seniors, the new FEO has his work cut out for him to build the chapter back up to the 50+ members it had just four short years ago. He seems capable to the task, and the summer orientation and changes to the PMA rush program should help considerably.
Campus interaction and visibility improved considerably, with improved relations with SAI, becoming much like the social fraternities in getting punished for violations of GSRC policy, the FA meetings, the Musicales, and Songfest. If this trend continues, PMA stands a chance of becoming a driving force on campus.
The musical talent of the brotherhood continually improved by leaps and bounds, but problems in the music committee and misbehavior by various brothers during choruses and occasional lack of belief in the ability of the group to learn everything it had to on time made for an equal amount of backsliding as overall progress.
Overall, it was a year of ups and downs. Much was achieved, yet many traditions were lost. Improvements were made, and new bad habits formed. The chapter ended up making much headway in important matters, and made steps to fix some of the major problems which plagued it. The outgoing seniors did a lot for the chapter over their years here, and the incoming freshmen are just the people the chapter needs to step into their shoes.