"NON-FRATERNITY AND FRAT MEN HOLD JOINT MEETING AND DISCUSS LIVE ISSUES" The Crimson White April 15, 1913
Representatives from Non-Frat League Present Complaints to Pan-Hellenic Council
MUCH GOOD IS EFFECTED
On last Thursday night, at the Kappa Alpha house, a group of the non-fraternity men were the guests of the Pan-Hellenic council. The object of the meeting was stated to be a discussion of the existing relations between the fraternity men and non-fraternity men. The president of the council opened the meeting by expressing his gratification in the fact that we were come together as University of Alabama men, regardless of other affiliation, to talk over the interests of the student body. He asked for prefect freedom and candor, without prejudice or unpleasant personalities. The meeting was then thrown open. Numerous expressions came from both fraternity and non-fraternity men, and from these statements, the following criticisms of the fraternities at the University were gathered.
1. The fact was brought out that heretofore the fraternities have elected their men to office to the exclusion of the non-fraternity men. Out of 120 leading offices in student organizations since 1892, statistics show that only 8 non-fraternity men have been elected.
2. Complaint is made that the college publications discriminate between non-fraternity and fraternity me; that the editorial staffs are composed of non-frat and frat men, but the non-frat men get only the minor positions, and their contributions do not find their way into the columns when offered.
3. It was pointed out that discrimination is made in social life between the non-fraternity and the fraternity men; that the non-fraternity man is made to feel unwelcome because he is a non-fraternity man.
4. That the non-fraternity man has not a fair chance to make the Glee Club.
5. That in a few instances it is claimed that students have been preferred, because of fraternity affiliation, by members of the faculty.
6. That in times past, non-fraternity men have lot had a "square deal" in athletics; that they have been discriminated against by fellow players.
7. That in the write-up of individual men, the fraternity man gets a half-column, where the non-fraternity man gets a half dozen lines-or nothing.
8. That the literary societies cannot get publicity through the college papers, because they are largely composed of non-fraternity men.
9. That too rarely is merit the basis of the choice of choosing men for fraternity membership; whereas family prestige frequently decides the case. That the tendency is to "aristocracy."
10. That the freshmen who is newly initiated is not kept from feeling that he is better than the non-fraternity freshman.
Mr. Chambers, traveling secretary of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity was present at the meeting and was asked for an expression. Mr. Chambers expressed his appreciation of the opportunity of meeting this group of men. He dwelt on the aims of fraternity organization, pointing out the fact that a fraternity is a mutual benefit society; but not only must it benefit its members, but must also "justify its existence" by owing genuine merit, by lending aid to the University, and must surely never be guilty of working to the detriment of others. He asked the question, "Why should a man's fraternity affiliation have any part at all in determining his eligibility for college honor?"
He pointed out that insofar as fraternities made themselves felt as organizations in college politics, just so far were they falling short of the fraternity idea. He suggested the possible benefits of fraternity life would be best attained by more fraternities and better fraternities, rather than by fighting fraternities; that 96 per cent of the students of Amherst and 88 per cent of the students at Brown are fraternity men. He was not sparing in his criticism of the practices which, he said, appeared to exist in University life here, where the non-fraternity man did not receive due consideration at the hands of fraternity men. He then spoke a few words particularly to the non-fraternity men, charging them of being guilty of that "Snobbishness" with which they accused the fraternity men. He said that he had discovered that the non-fraternity men refused to accept the invitation of the fraternity men to dine in fraternity houses, and charged that any spirit which was unwilling to meet the advances of the other side halfway was "snobbish."
Throughout the meeting, the very best spirit was manifested, each man speaking with perfect freedom and candor, placing personal feeling always in the background. The charges which have been set out above were admitted by all present to have foundation for belief; and the fraternity men who spoke were ready to acknowledge that these practices exist, and that it remains, in large measure, for the fraternities to eradicate them. The meeting adjourned with the expressed determine-…