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Editor's note: The last issue generated a wonderful number of letters. Look below to see where articles evoked memories and where articles may have fallen short. We’re open to keeping the conversation going, so don’t be shy about sharing your thoughts.
Which ACC opponent would you like to see the Spartans beat in the Greensboro Coliseum?
Any team from the state of North Carolina. UNCG needs to prove it can be competitive, but it needs to start at home. I don’t think a victory will have as much as of an impact unless it is against one of North Carolina's ACC schools. Case in point: We defeated Georgia Tech in basketball a couple of years ago and nobody outside of the campus really noticed.
Jay Goodwin Clarke '09
Neo Black Society story’s sidebar “1973 A pivotal year”
The sit-in at the Administration Building was a memorable event. It was very orderly and the participation was great. People brought food for others that could not leave their spots and the numbers increased during the day as classes finished and those people joined the sit-in event.
George Warren ’73
As a member of the Student Legislature that year, I worked with other members as we trudged through the tedious task of revising the SGA constitution to satisfy the charter (allowing the organization to exist). The charter (consistent with other organizations in the university system) stated that any organization receiving student funds must be open to all students. This affected the feminist group, all the religious houses and the Neo Black Society.
It was not one student that moved to revoke the NBS charter, it was the entire constitution committee.
All of us were in the Foust Building the next day demanding that Chancellor Ferguson use his authority to change the funding rule for special groups.
This was a difficult week for us in SGA but it brought us to the decision that we were all working for. Sometimes well meaning rules create undesirable circumstances. I remember this as a time we argued, shouted, stomped out and in to meetings, demonstrated together and ended with a campus that could host any organization with a special focus without funding restrictions.
Janet Doughty ’74
“Brothers and sisters”
As a 1971 graduate of UNCG (BS, Chemistry) I read your article "Brothers & Sisters" in the Spring 2009 issue of UNCG Magazine with interest, but must admit I was a little disappointed that the history record of fraternities only went back to 1974. This is not meant to be criticism but just for the record you should know there was a fraternity at UNCG before 1974.
I was a charter member of the Phi Kappa Chapter of the Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity on the UNCG campus in 1969. I think our charter is dated December 13, 1969. True this was not a social fraternity but I believe it was the first non-academic fraternity on campus and for us charter members it represented the positive mark we wanted to leave at UNCG, and I believe went a long way to opening the door for the social fraternities that followed. It was something we fought hard for since we were to be the first of our kind at UNCG and there were many in the administration at the time that did not think fraternities of any kind should be at UNCG.
I am pleased however that APO did get some representation in this issue. You will notice the picture on the back cover. There is an APO member (note arm band) carrying a barrel from a white Chevrolet (1959 model I think) station wagon. I do not recognize or remember who this fellow is, but I'm sure it is from one of the activities we did every year helping move students in. Remember (sorry I know you are too young to remember this) us guys were outnumbered 7 to 1 on campus at this time so our help was usually very welcomed.
Jack Butler ’71
I read your article on the birth of fraternities and sororities on UNCG's campus some 28 years ago. This is true for social fraternities and sororities but if you check you would find the first male fraternity on the campus was Alpha Phi Omega that was created in 1969.
A group of the first men at UNCG had petitioned the administration and were sternly rebuffed when we asked permission to create a social fraternity on campus. We were told, in no uncertain terms, there was no place on the UNCG campus for such groups. We were advised it was in the constitution of the university that no social sororities could be formed by students (nowhere did it mention fraternities).
When we pointed out the absence of the language we were told the constitution had been for a Woman's College that "had" to admit men due to their being part of the UNC System. Therefore after much research we were able to make contact with the world's largest men's "service" fraternity. We applied for consideration from the administration who reluctantly could find nothing in their by-laws that prevented us from receiving recognition.
Therefore Alpha Phi Omega was born. It changed the way in which men had opportunites to bring service and recognition to the university. It also paved the way for service fraternities and sororities to become a reality at UNCG.
You also may note one of the first major service projects undertaken by APO and Friends (the young women who dated APO Men) was a project called Luminaires…I have yet to see any mention of this and the credit APO deserves in originating this project in December of 1969…
Dr. Steven V. Cates ’72
I just finished reading your article, “Brothers and sisters,” in the Spring issue of the UNCG magazine. Nice job! It must have been very difficult to work with space constraints on a piece that involves so much history. I’d like to share a few bits from my past with the Greek System.
On the way back to Philips Hall after classes in September of 1980, I stopped on the sidewalk at Mendenhall Dorm and remembered that a couple of fraternity headquarters reps were in Elliott Center talking with guys about fraternities. I paused but kept walking back to the dorm. I have no idea what made me turn around a minute later and head back to Elliott, but I did. The Sig Ep rep was busy as was the PKA rep. Duane Cretin from Lambda Chi Alpha welcomed me into the room at the north end of Elliott, and we talked for nearly two hours. Later that night I met four other guys who expressed interest in Lambda Chi. Three of them would disappear, but Gary Bouton and I started with no knowledge and a crazy idea of being the first to do something important on campus.
That fall, we only had a couple of more guys join our ranks, but in the spring, we welcomed a new batch of guys into the fold and we became a group of 10. We had a guy from Iran (after the major international incident with the Ayatollah Khomeni), two guys from Japan, an African-American and six white boys the original case study for cultural diversity, and in the Greek system at that!
I was very fortunate to serve as one of the first IFC presidents, if not the first, after the official vote by the faculty to allow the Greek System on campus. I remained a part of IFC for a couple of years until I moved closer to graduation deferring to guys from other fraternities, as well as my own so everyone could get experience. Some of my greatest experiences at college were over the next 2 ½ years as we worked on our chartering which you accurately noted was March 26, 1983. On that date, I became the first initiated brother of Phi Theta Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha, and for 26+ years, I have had a growing number of men that I know I can depend on when I need them. It is beyond my understanding somehow that what we did back then would affect the lives of guys who were not yet born.
Our relationships with the guys and ladies in ALL of the frats and sororities was outstanding. We had a mixer with Delta Sigma Theta which was noteworthy as a predominantly white fraternity mixed with an all African-American sorority. The events on the quad were legendary to us, and we still have pictures and memories of our cookouts, football games and Olympic games even today. The toga party at the Pi Kappa Phi house was my future wife’s introduction to all of my brothers, and she decided to stay with me anyway.
The stories are too endless to recount. As I approach 50 in a year and a half, the memories become more and more precious, and I am reminded how much I love these guys even the newest of the chapter that I have only met in the last year or so. Though our youthful indiscretions might make one think otherwise, our fraternity taught us to give God a chance dare I say it, give Jesus Christ a chance. For those of us that took that admonition seriously, it was a life altering experience at many different levels. In the end, what is important about fraternity is that we honor a piece of scripture from the book of James that says, “Faith, without action, is dead.”
Having visited campus now several times and having met our newest brothers, I know that our chapter will do well. The campus is beautiful and thriving. And I am feeling a renewed connection to the place I called home for a long time. I hope that my ramblings about the past give you a strong, good feeling that your work has hit a nerve with me. Hopefully, for many other Greeks, it will do the same.
Rick McKeel ’83, ’90 MEd