Sigma Chi - University of Missouri

Winter 2016 Newsletter

Xi Xi Chapter of Sigma Chi at the University of Missouri

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The The Tiger Sig Published by the Xi Xi ChaPter alumni assoCiation of sigma Chi fraternity COLUMBIA, MISSOURI WINTER 2016 Jeff Unger '75, Jay Shields '76, Joe Bednar '76, Dave Knight '73, Rich Elias '72, and Paul Courter '73 during Alumni Weekend. Jay Shields '76, Jim Whitacre '49, and Amy Whitacre Crapo, Jim's daughter, gathered in 2015 to record Jim's memories of his Mizzou days. Jim played football and starred in track during his undergraduate years. The summer of his freshman year, Jim and three of his pledge brothers, Bob Evans '49, Andy McCanse '49, and John Dickey '50, rode bikes to Wyoming. They were also together at the 1949 Cotton Bowl and again at the 2008 Cotton Bowl. Alumni Happenings MeMbers Discuss Diversity at Mizzou A t the start of the second semester, a group of Chapter members sat down with the author to relate their observations and feelings regarding recent events at the university. The discussion was quite encompassing and revealing. The general situation in the Greek community finds several historically black and multicultural fraternities whose total memberships would just about add up to the size of our Chapter. In the past, our Chapter has invited black groups to social events at the Chapter House, but finds the size difference—the largest black fraternity numbers about 20—has been a bit imposing to the visitors. Black membership is growing in fraternities, with one chapter having six black members. We will have our first black pledge this semester. It was gratifying to see that our Chapter was enthusiastic about his pledging for one reason: he is a fine young man. Interestingly, a black member of another fraternity, initiated at another university in a chapter not existing here, spends a good deal of his social time at our Chapter House since he likes us and the Chapter likes him. In looking at specific events on campus, named as examples of racist expression, the Chapter took them rather lightly since they equated them to single actions typical of drunks, commenting that they had seen many acts worse than those cited done by those having little idea of what they were doing. The "brown" swastika in the dorm bathroom was viewed by our members as being, perhaps, more anti-Semitic than anything else. They heard of the cotton ball incident, recognizing the racist implications of that act. Interestingly, when the protests erupted last year, the Chapter indicated that university life remained normal with some rare occasions of discussions of the problems in classrooms. The Chapter did indicate that members stayed at the Chapter House more during normal social hours, not because of any concern of being out in Columbia, but wanting to discuss the on- going events. Naturally, social media exploded on the subject, so even more time was spent on tablets and phones. The membership generally avoided the rallies indicating they were not of much interest to them. They, like most, have difficulty in understanding safe space. The Chapter indicates that the general population at MU is decidedly liberal as is the teaching faculty. They did say, however, that, although teachers might express their bias, there was never any indication of student disagreement affecting grade outcomes. It was mentioned that one teacher, overtly quite liberal, had a Marxist speak to this class, but classes that might open the door for such instances were few. They recognized a definite move to replace retiring white faculty with blacks and indicated that students were being assessed a special fee to underwrite freshmen education in diversity and hiring changes. They estimated that the Greek system would contribute some $600,000 a year to this effort. They felt that diversity education would not have a great effect on the Greek system since racism simply isn't that prevalent in fraternity houses. It was mentioned that the IFC had held a diversity camp where attendees were cautioned against the use of gender specific pronouns. This, they felt, was rather ridiculous. The only negative incidence with a black student that our members could recall was when an uninvited young man entered a party at the Chapter House and started insulting the women and wouldn't leave. One of our brothers physically intruded. All in all, the Chapter's attitude could be summed up as mature, recognizing realities and accepting them, and welcoming black members in the future...not on race but on character. SC

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