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Rho Lambda Newsletter

This month we’ll touch on several topics:

1) The 2022 Reunion details are here, and we’ll have more about the Reunion in our September newsletter. Contact Dennis Clowers if you want to play golf on Friday. If that’s not in your wheelhouse, there’s also a terrific glass exhibition at the OKC Museum of Art. Dale Chihuly is a Kappa Epsilon Deke, and is arguably the greatest glass artist in history.

2) Rich Burns emailed the new membership list on July 27th. Please contact Burnsie if you know of any brothers on it that have passed away, or who aren’t receiving our newsletter. Especially Elbert Lesch, James McGraw, Robert Rudd, Fred White, and Douglas Williams. 

3) We explore a few of the major issues, below, regarding the challenge of renewing the DKE chapter at OU in 2025. The RLLA and this website have two goals: to link you with your brothers and to empower our plan to return DKE to OU in 2025. This will be a complex task, and we’re asking for support from everyone. We know you’ll need a deeper understanding of how it will work, and we’ll supply you with that over the coming months.

The password we emailed to you opens any file. Don’t have it? Contact us. If you get lost, use your back arrow, or return to oudekes.orgIf anything’s askew, leave us a comment. We want to make this a simple place to navigate.

ΡΛ Responsible Person of the Month – MOM HARRIS

You’re an 18-year-old Deke pledge with zero social graces. Tonight you’re going to the Deke Formal with a girl you’ve never dated. Nervous?

You’ve already run out of gas and forced her to walk across the entire campus. You’ll remember, in a half-hour, when the other Dekes are giving their party favor to their date, that you left yours in your glove compartment. But right now, as you’re stepping into the house, in front of the housemother and her escort, you forget: “Do I introduce Mother Harris to Katy, or Katy to Mother Harris?” You flip a coin and go for it, “Mother Harris, may I introduce you to Katy…” As they wait for Katy’s last name, you realize you don’t know it.

Katy is looking at you aghast, eyes wide with embarrassment. You…are circling the drain.

A responsible person steps in. Mom Harris takes Katy’s hand and says, “Katy, it’s such a pleasure to meet you. We don’t need last names among friends, do we?” She chats with Katy for a few moments and re-establishes grace in the world.

Are you a potential 2025 Deke pledge reading this? Take my word for it, Deke chapters need a Responsible Person. One who can inoculate you against social tragedies, and implant in you the poise and polish you will need in this life.

We know OU presently requires a Full Time, Live-In House Director if there is a fraternity residence. Here is some excellent counsel from Brother Attorney George Otey about this, “First I agree, re: adult presence at the house.  Short answer: I believe housemothers are bygone. Although there may have been ill feeling about having a house mom, her presence was extremely important in keeping many things in check; a constant adult presence is very necessary.  The problem is, how “adult” (i.e., a 28 year-old grad student may not be ideal – too close in age, not “tough” enough, etc.)

Right now only about 30% of houses have house mothers (mostly sororities), with the trend going toward house-management companies; one real issue with housemothers/parent is worker’s comp and employee legal issues for the housing corporation. We would need to organize a separate housing corporation to develop and execute plans; housing corporations can be structured along many different lines. 
Many chapters are housed in school housing (for example: Vanderbilt, TCU, etc.), thus relying more on resident advisors; including stricter enforcement of the student code with more heavy-handed discipline, along with draconian measures like warrantless searches and seizures.
Starting in University housing might be good, to hopefully establish a positive chapter culture (no hazing, etc.). A free-standing house is the preferred model but that gets back to adult supervision, as well as the nature/design of the free-standing house: traditional rooms? rooms clustered around a central living area? apartments?
There’s no easy answer.  The Texas A&M chapter house is located way off campus, so residents have to commute every day.  That might be the future, especially with soaring land prices in the vicinity of campus.  Beta’s expansion of their existing structure cost $6 million 5 years ago; Fiji’s new, traditional house on South Greek Row cost $6 million 10 years ago.
A last comment: with or without an adult in the house, a contract needs to be executed between parents and the brother, to reinforce the boundary conditions of fraternity living.”
Brothers, please give this some thought. If you attend the Reunion, there’ll be some discussion of this topic. OU has accepted our plan for 2025, but we want everybody’s input. Talk to your Brothers, or contact us here. Your opinions are important, like a discussion of motions in the Chapter Room.
And Katy? A pledge brother drove us back to my car, I got it gassed up, drove her to her parent’s home in Bethany without much conversation, walked her to her door, wondering if I should expect a kiss. I can still see the look on her face as she closed the door in my face. Yep, I needed polish.

Leave a comment if you wish, or contact us here. Keep an eye out for September’s Newsletter, make plans to attend the Reunion, and Happy Labor Day!

RIP, Randy


The ΡΛ Commo Crew