My Brothers:

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”  Whether that aphorism is attributed to Joseph P. Kennedy or Knute Rockne, it is of no matter.  It is now the clarion call for Penn State DUs.  I pride myself on repeatedly telling you over the years that the state of our beloved Fraternity is sound.  I repeat that now.  We are financially solvent and we have reserves.  We continue to budget upgrades to our Chapter house.  Come see the new party room floor and renovations.  The parking lot is now fully paved.  We have full capacity of UG Brothers living in the Chapter house (40+) and as many other Brothers out-of-house.  So, things are good.

That’s not to say there are no issues.  I should not have to rehash recent episodes that cast a dark cloud over the entire Greek system at Penn State.  Suffice to say, Penn State is ground zero for “reformation” of the fraternity life style for North America.  I am not exaggerating.  I attended the annual DU International Leadership Institute conference in Milwaukee on August 3-6.  It was attended by representatives of 84 active DU Chapters, several Colonies and other reorganized Chapters.  Time and time again, at each seminar and break out session, the topic returned to, “What’s happening at Penn State?”  The entire fraternity industry across our continent is focused on University Park, PA.  As goes Penn State, so goes the rest of academia in North America regarding the Greek system.  We have our work cut out for us.  Tough goings.

Your Alumni Board of Directors held a special meeting on July 17, 2017, focused on planning our direction vis a vis the University’s expected revisions and dictates as part of the fallout from the Beta tragedy.  It is getting onerous, right or wrong.  The “new rules” imposed by the University immediately impact our fraternity operations, rush, pledging and our viability to sustain our DU heritage and our financial future.  The University’s dictates are draconian.  

We could just bend over and say, “OK.”  Whether we successfully challenge some of the proposals or not, we are on the cusp of systemic changes to the college experience regarding the Greek community. Whether the focus is hazing, alcohol abuse, sexual misconduct, property damage, over-sized parties or other brands of mayhem, dramatic change is on the immediate horizon.  Though it might be bold talk, the University is setting the table for “zero tolerance.”  One strike and you’re out.  If the University rescinds DU’s recognition, our International may revoke our charter, the Borough of State College may revoke our occupancy permit, and the rest of the dominoes fall so that we are out of business.

“Is the sky falling?”  Maybe not yet, Chicken Little.  But we have to place our bets.  We can’t risk the ranch.  Calling the University’s bluff is bad poker.  Instead, your Board of Directors instituted a plan that incorporates the expected University’s nebulous plan, augmented by DU International’s guidance and Loss Prevention Plan, along with our local Chapter’s rules and regulations.  By July 31, we sent to our UGs and their parents the attached letters and documents. The letter to the UG's can be found HERE and the letter to parents, HERE.  Those documents spell out our expectations for proper behavior and stewardship.  We also afforded an opportunity to resign from DU, without regrets or animosity. You can review these documents at your pleasure.  Four DUs resigned in response.  Lower than we expected.

Bottom line for now is this:  We expect to weather the storm.  We are solid financially this academic year 2017-18.  University changes may impact our 2018-19 finances.  As things develop, we hope to adapt.  We expect cooperation from our undergraduate Brothers so as to avoid difficulties.  They are getting the message.  We are in these changing times together.  If our Chapter house is posted as “dry,” alums must abide.  Please do not compromise the situation by expecting open refreshments.  Much is dependent upon it.  Parking on the lawn for alums will continue for home football games or otherwise.  Large tailgating not so much.  Help us to avoid difficulties while these new rules pan out.

Upon your welcome return to 229 Locust Lane, things may seem different than an alum might expect.  We all have war stories.  Relive them with relish.  Interact with the UGs.  Like it or not, the rules have changed.  It is important to abide.  Please help avoid problems.  After all, we will always be DUs.  With or without fire water.


Tim Finn

Alumni President

Class of ‘75

And Proud of it!

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