Five Key Points When Planning Events Where Alcohol Will Be Present

By Marc S. Mores, Executive Vice President – James R. Favor & Company

Alan: “I tend to think of myself as a one-man wolf pack.” – The Hangover

Mixing brotherhood and alcohol happens every day on college campuses across the country.  Often times, our brothers fail to appreciate the fact that their own “one-man wolf pack” actions and decisions do impact our Fraternity.  The choices surrounding your own personal alcohol use are yours to make, but you can have a positive impact on the safety of your brothers when you consider these five key points when planning events where alcohol will be present.

1.  Location

Deciding where to host a social event or where to hang out with your brothers is of utmost importance.  Ideally, should you choose to drink alcohol, you would do so in an establishment that is properly licensed to sell alcohol. The venue would absorb the risks of controlling, selling, and serving the alcohol. When spur-of-the-moment or even planned events occur elsewhere (i.e. a brother’s apartment), you and/or your chapter could be liable for the events that take place. Just this year we have seen an intoxicated fraternity member shoot a bottle-rocket out of his rear end and a group of sophomores use a water balloon launcher to hit unsuspecting targets all in the name of fun but end with severe injuries and unintended consequences.

2.  Transportation

Many chapters are using designated driver or safe-ride programs to address this key exposure in today’s Greek community.  These programs are a strong attempt to ensure brothers get home safe.  Unfortunately, no matter how well-intended, there have been a variety of significant injuries and even deaths when these programs do not strictly adhere to their design.  The best choice is to use public transportation for those events that occur more than 10 miles away from your campus.  Members who choose to drive themselves and others in their personal automobiles must understand they do so at their own risk as no insurance coverage is available to them for this exposure.

3.  Beverages 

At events, chapters should never provide alcohol for their own members or for guests. Using chapter funds or passing the hat violates the Fraternity’s risk management policies. Remember to avoid the use of hard liquor and the mixing of energy drinks with alcohol. If you decide to not use a third-party vendor, each person should bring their own beverage of choice. Given that the clear majority of collegiate fraternity and sorority members are under the legal drinking age, Chapters should offer alternatives to alcohol such as complimentary bottled water or other appropriate beverages.  Food at any event is a welcome addition but you want to avoid salty foods whenever possible.

4.  Pre-Gaming 

Pre and post event activities are commonly misinterpreted as the time where no rules apply. Phi Delta Theta’s risk management policies do not come with a time clock or an expiration date.  Each member is expected to understand, comprehend and adhere to the risk management policies at all times.  If you are unclear ask the chapter’s risk management chairman, president, or a local adviser to review them with you. Younger members commonly use this time to binge drink prior to the registered or planned events. Big brothers or pledge dads should help monitor these activities and step-in when necessary to ensure all members avoid this risky behavior and stay safe.

5.  Event Planning

Phi Delta Theta General Headquarters offers assistance in planning your events to ensure your chapter is in compliance with the rules and regulations of the Fraternity.  The Headquarters staff offers feedback to assist chapters in planning safe events that reduce the potential for loss.  Contact Melanie Clayton at Phi Delta Theta General Headquarters (melanie@phideltatheta.org) or visit www.phideltatheta.org for additional information.  You can also visit www.jrfco.com for risk management resources.

While you may get a good laugh out of characters like Alan from The Hangover, repeating the antics you watch on the big screen can lead to real world consequences. Remember to not let today’s fun turn into tomorrow’s evidence.

Looking for Some Heroes

By Dr. Sparky Reardon 

“This is your brain.  This is your brain on drugs.”

Years ago, in an effort to fight drug usage, those words were blasted relentlessly on television screens.  The commercial first showed an egg (This is your brain) and then showed an egg perfectly frying in a skillet (This is your brain on drugs).  I think I know what the government was trying to convey with this public service announcement, but I have to agree with the comedian who said, “Yeah, and there’s some stoned guy out there thinking, ‘That egg sure looks good.’”

I don’t expect fraternity men who haze to read this blog and change what they are doing.  So, if you are a hazer and are looking for arguments, ideas, or faults in what I say, stop reading.

This blog is intended for men of character.  Men who believe in the teachings of the Bond.  Men of substance.  Strong men, courageous men.  Men of action.  Men of strong faith. Men who might be heroes.  Men of character.  So, if you think that you might fit one of these categories, read on.

I had the privilege to hear fellow Phi Gary Bender (Wichita ’62) speak at convention a couple of years ago, and he ended his talk with a quote that has stuck with me.  He said, “Fame is a vapor, popularity is an accident and money takes wings. The only thing that endures is character. Reputation is what man thinks us to be. Character is what God knows us to be. Reputations are chiseled on our tomb stones, character is what the angels of heaven say before the throne of God. If God knows he can trust you, He will enlarge your territory.”

Wow, that’s a powerful statement.  Character is what compels you to contribute, to challenge, to grow, to change yourself and others.  Character is the quality that determines whether you address the wrongs in your chapter whether they be apathy, alcohol abuse, drug usage, a culture of violence, poor scholarship, or HAZING.

If you are a man of character, you should be compelled to stop hazing in your chapter if it exists.  Here are some tips.

Align yourself with other like-minded men of character.

These might not be your best friends, but you know who they are by their actions and words.  Have a meaningful discussion about how the new members are treated in your chapter and what you think about hazing.  Select only men of character to be your Phikeia educators.

Work overtime to develop Phikeia programming that builds men up, not breaks them down.

Frederick Douglass once said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Don’t concern yourself with what others will think of you.  If you conduct positive Phikeia programming, in a couple of years, the other fraternities will be emulating you.  Be courageous and creative.

Have the courage to confront the hazers in your chapter.

Anyone who hazes is a coward.  There I’ve said it.  Don’t be afraid to gently confront a brother who wants to haze and ask him to explain his motivation for hazing.  Be unwilling to accept “tradition”, “it was done to me”, etc.  I have often found it impossible to reason with someone who is committed to hazing (especially when using words of two syllables or more!), but give it a try.  Confront hazers with like-minded brothers by your side.  Confrontation is not a bad thing.  If you see a situation that is dangerous (especially involving alcohol), confront quickly, forcefully, and physically if you have to.  You won’t get in trouble for doing the right thing.

Rely on GHQ, Province Presidents, University Officials, and Alumni.

First realize that these are not bad people or people out to get you.  No one gains when a chapter closes, goes on probation, or when a Phikeia is injured, or leaves with ill feelings toward the fraternity.  People who go to Alcoholics Anonymous know that the first step is realizing that there is a problem, standing before others and saying, “Hello, my name is XXX and I am an alcoholic.”  If you want to get well, be willing to admit, “My chapter’s name is XXX and we are a hazing chapter.”  Doing this puts you on the right track. Please know that there are many people willing to help you.  All you have to do is ask.

And, finally,

Look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Is this a man of character at whom I am looking?”

If the answer is yes, you have no choice.  You have to stop hazing.

Dr. Sparky Reardon is the Assistant Vice Chancellor/Dean of Students at the University of Mississippi. He has worked in higher education for 34 years. His primary areas of responsibility have included advising fraternities and student government, leadership development, crisis intervention, organizational discipline and teaching. He has a M. Ed. from Delta State University and a B.A.E. and Ph.D. from Ole Miss. Brother Reardon has spoken to thousands of students at numerous universities, conferences, and conventions. For this, Phi Delta Theta recently honored him with the Legion of Honor Award. He has also been awarded the Robert Shaefer Award for significant, long term service to Greek Life. In 2008 the Ole Miss senior class honored him with a scholarship in his name and in 1995 he was awarded the initial Thomas Frist Award for his outstanding service to students. He has appeared in the History Channel‟s “Frat Boys”, a history of fraternities in America. He enjoys Ole Miss sports, reading, cooking, and traveling.

I Refuse to Believe

By Mike Dilbeck

Phi Delta Theta is proud to be a founding sponsor of both the RESPONSE ABILITY Project and the Every|Day Hero Campaign. This blog was created for sponsors of the project and will be shared by a number of (inter)national organizations throughout the day in support of National Hazing Prevention Week, and to raise awareness of how bystander intervention can combat hazing.

As we honor National Hazing Prevention Week, I want to challenge us all to think about the unnecessary and harmful act of hazing from all angles. While there are certainly the two obvious parties involved in, and impacted by hazing — the victims and the perpetrator(s) — I want to address the rest of us who may see, hear or even know about these acts. Much has been, and will be, talked about this week in regards to those impacted directly by these unnecessary acts.

However, I will argue that we don’t talk enough about the third party to hazing — the bystanders. While we are certainly shining the spotlight this week on hazing, it’s also important to include other often related problem behaviors like bullying, alcohol and drug abuse, sexual violence, discrimination and everyday life issues. By including these, it’s safe to say we are all bystanders. We have all witnessed problem behaviors in our lives and, while there have certainly been times where we intervened, there are way too many times we didn’t.

We stayed silent. We laughed along. We walked away. We participated. We froze.

When it comes to these actions — or inactions — from ourselves and others, I refuse to believe this is what we actually want to do in that moment of time. I refuse to believe that we don’t care and want to make the difference for those being impacted. I refuse to believe that we don’t know the difference between right and wrong. I refuse to believe that we don’t want to intervene in problem situations.

And, I refuse to believe that every single one of us doesn’t want to be a hero for others, for organizations we love, and for issues we care about.

I choose to believe that we do care and that we want the best for each other. I believe that every person has values of love, compassion, caring, respect, and acceptance — and these act as our moral compass. I believe that we really do want to intervene and make the difference for others — to keep each other safe and protected — to show dignity and respect.

And, I believe we all want to be heroes in one way or another.

We are all committed to being a certain kind of human being in life and there are actions we want to take as a demonstration of who we say we are and want to be for others. In our own respective and unique ways, we actually say “this is who I am and this is what you can count on me for!”

So, here’s the question: do your actions in life match what you say? Is the “you” that shows up in life — especially in critical momentary situations — a match for who you say you are and the commitments you have?

If I gave you a hypothetical scenario — one where someone was in trouble and needed your intervention — and asked you what you would do, would you say you would intervene in some way? I believe you would. I believe we all would. If you take all the reasons, justifications, excuses, doubts, fears, and rationalizations away from the equation, we all believe that we would intervene in that situation. It’s the noble thing to say and this matches who we say we are in life. But, not so fast…

Let’s look at the Penn State sexual abuse case — already one of the most layered cases of bystander behavior. I believe Coach Mike McQueary really did want to immediately intervene. Yet, what he did and didn’t do became water cooler conversation for days — many of us being armchair quarterbacks for what he should have done.

Here’s my take: what happened to Mike McQueary can happen to all of us on some level — our alter ego takes over. There is the person we are all committed to being in life. Then, in the reality of a situation, there is the “you” that shows up in that moment of time. Unfortunately, it’s not the “you” that you wanted to show up. It’s a “you” that lets fear take over. It’s a “you” that listens to your naysayers, even to your own internal voice. It’s a “you” that does nothing — or doesn’t do enough.

I believe there are times when most of us are no different than Mike McQueary. While we want to believe otherwise, we don’t know what we will actually do in the reality of a momentary choice. We simply want to believe we will do what is right.

How do I know this? What evidence do I have? As I travel the country and speak, I invite audience members to text me and share their stories. I have received thousands of stories on the impact of bystander behavior — as a bystander or as a victim to others being bystanders. The stories are heartbreaking. So many of us have had at least one moment that made a lasting impact on our lives — one that we have never forgotten; one where we have never forgiven ourselves or others.

To the positive, I have had conversations with many of these same people and they share that they do care and they do want to do what is right. I also receive texts, emails, Facebook messages and submissions on our website where people are now taking actions that match their values — they are actually intervening in problem situations. Many of them share they literally would not have done what they did without hearing the message of the RESPONSE ABILITY® Project and holding themselves accountable.

I hope you are now asking, “How do I ensure my actions match who I am committed to being in life?”  Great question!

We want to provide you the three critical tools I have put together as a framework for being equipped and empowered in life — no matter your age, roles in life, or gender — to make the difference you want to make and to be a hero. These are three life skills you can use for the rest of your life — in any moment when you say there is a problem.

To get these critical tools, go to the Phi Delta Theta page on the RESPONSE ABILITY Project website and take the Every|Day Hero™ pledge. Once you take the pledge, you will immediately receive an email from me with a link to download a PDF of the three tools and also view a special training video.

In closing, I refuse to believe you don’t want to make this difference. I refuse to believe there is anything you want more than to live out this pledge in your life. Go ahead, try and convince me otherwise — I just refuse to believe we are anything less than caring, loving, extraordinary human beings who just want to make the difference for others, for our organizations and for issues we care about.

I refuse to believe.

And this is what allows me to believe in the good in all of us.

Mike Dilbeck is Founder & President of the RESPONSE ABILITY Project and also Founder of the Every|Day Hero Campaign. Every year, Mike speaks to thousands of college students as a CAMPUSPEAK speaker and member of the National Speakers Association. When he is not traveling, he works on expanding the RA Project, writing articles and blogs, conducting training and workshops, and appearing in the media. 

From Broken Pledges to Lives of Fulfilled Promise

By Hank Nuwer

The year was 1978, the date the 26th of February. It was a post-dawn Sunday morning and cold as only a city on a Great Lake can be. I was visiting my parents in Buffalo. Coffee percolated on an oven burner as I spread out an issue of the Buffalo Courier ExpressThe Courier’s front page sucked the wind out of me. The lead headline was big and black. My mother, wearing her oft-washed robe and plastic curlers, asked me what the story was about that dismayed me so.

“A young man named Chuck Stenzel had perished at a fraternity party,” I said. He’d died of alcohol poisoning.

I’d belonged to a fraternity at Buffalo State College that once had been connected to a national. But by the time I pledged in 1965, the then-chancellor of the State University of New York had converted all national fraternities and sororities to local chapters.

The local chapters kept the traditions, bylaws, and secrets of their previous nationals but lacked the important oversight the parent organizations had provided. The Chancellor would abandon his crusade but eventually unregulated, wild local SUNY chapters would endure hazing deaths at Plattsburgh and Geneseo.

My own local fraternity at Buffalo State College had more guidance than most because of strong faculty and alumni involvement. Nonetheless, our pledge period included the sort of pranks that caused my working-class, no-nonsense father to roll his eyes. He’d driven me to campus and dropped me off just as a brother confronted me verbally and handed me a concrete block with Greek letters.

“This is what I send you to college for?” he said at supper that night.

He was a wise man, my Dad. But I shrugged off the hazing nonsense, got in, and had a wonderful fraternity experience. Through the fraternity I would find my life’s calling as a writer.  My mentor was and is a faculty brother named Fraser Drew who had interviewed the likes of Ernest Hemingway to make his English classes more intriguing. He and I co-wrote a book together when he was 97.

Thus, my impetus to write about hazing never occurred until graduate school when I attended the University of Nevada. There I frequently observed alcohol-fueled hazing by a wild bunch of athletes. Some of these students were high-status guys—not only good ballplayers but good students who were active in student government. A minority, unfortunately, were dangerous and would mock their pledges when they got drunk and vomited.

Their hazing consisted not only of crazy pranks but dangerous amounts of alcohol. Their liquor-guzzling made anything I’d experienced at Buffalo State seem like choir practice.

In the spring of 1975 I chanced to enter a Reno bar called the Little Wal on a Hell Night. I observed a pledge half-conscious under the pool table who foamed at the mouth. I nudged an acquaintance and asked him to walk with the young man until he sobered up, which he did without hesitation. But that’s all he did. He lacked the foresight to see a close call and go back to his brothers demanding an end to the dangerous drinking.

In October of 1975, another Hell Night was held far from campus. Unbelievable quantities of alcohol killed a giant Wolfpack football player named John Davies and left another pledge with brain damage. The incident ignited a wakeup call in me.

I learned that alcohol can and does kill. I watched previously well-regarded students become  “killers” in the minds of student body members.

I had another revelation in time. As a bystander, had I taken more action such as writing an expose for the student paper, John Davies might not have died.

The death of John Davies came back to me as I read about the death at Alfred University. There in my mother’s kitchen I made a decision. I would write a serious article about fraternity hazing. The next time I traveled to Los Angeles, I approached Human Behavior editor, Marshall Lumsden, with a proposal and he accepted.

Lumsden was a writer’s editor, a veteran of journalistic wars at the Los Angeles Times and Saturday Evening Post. He didn’t care a hill of beans about my own little hazing experiences. He wanted to know the stories behind the deaths of kids like John Davies and Chuck Stenzel.

I wrote the first draft and then a second and third. Lumsden met with me at a coffee shop on Santa Monica Blvd. in Los Angeles. We met there so often I thought Lumsden must keep his typewriter there.

Always he wanted more sources, more documentation, more research. I had taught a continuing education course at UCLA. I plunged into scholarly research in a big way and found the few available studies on hazing. They were all in abnormal psychology or Higher Education.

Then I read a breakthrough book called Groupthink by Yale University professor Irving Janis. I rewrote my article once again employing this theory to explain Davies’s death and took it to Lumsden at the coffee shop.

“Well, good,” he said. “Interview him.” Interview the legendary Janis?  I was intimidated, but I said “OK.”

I sought Janis out. He only turned out to be Buffalo-born and a wonderful and brilliant scholar, but he grasped immediately how the Groupthink theory applied to fraternity hazing.

What was the Groupthink theory?

Basically, in the interest of maintaining camaraderie and good will, a group won’t challenge individual members that display reckless tendencies such as hazing. They put aside moral qualms and piss all over their national’s and founder’s moral values and put newcomers in harm’s way, covering all up when the risky behavior causes injury or death.

I remember my relief having one last cup of coffee with Lumsden when he pronounced my article finished.  It appeared in print in October of 1978.

The result was a response like no magazine piece I’d ever done or would do. Human Behavior was deluged with letters from readers.

One came from the mother of Chuck Stenzel, the pledge whose death I had read about in my mother’s kitchen. (Unknown to me until much later, Eileen Stevens had photocopied my article and sent it to anyone she could think of–prompting many of those letters). Eileen wrote me from New York that she had read my story and was starting an anti-hazing organization called the Committee to Halt Useless College Deaths. She wanted to meet with me the next time I was in the city on publishing business

We met for lunch in Manhattan. She brought a computer printout of hazing deaths she had paid for out of pocket. I began studying hazing in earnest, applying for a Gannett Foundation fellowship to write a book on hazing. Its title was Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing. University personnel and even members allowed me to interview them, lending their resolute anti-hazing messages to the book.

But that was then and this is 2012.

Some amazing things have occurred to me. I write a column for Stophazing.org. I am writing my fifth book on hazing and maintain Twitter and Facebook sites on hazing.

HazingPrevention.org named its anti-hazing hero award the Hank Nuwer Award in my honor, and Phi Delta Theta took over the funding of the award.

My Alma Mater, Buffalo State, hosts the Hank Nuwer Hazing Collection, my philanthropy, and it is a repository of all available hazing research for students and scholars to use.

But I am unsatisfied. Hazing still claims one or more deaths a year as it has every year from 1970 to 2012. I am in awe of an amazing network of Greek leaders all coming together in the interest of putting an end to hazing.

However it is not enough. Ending hazing should be simple, really. Stopping hazing isn’t like finding a cure for cancer where so much needs to be DONE. All you, I, Greeks and athletes and band members everywhere need to do is nothing, really. Just don’t haze, and you and I will put an end to the more than 160 deaths overall from hazing that exist on the list I still keep.

My Dad was right. He didn’t send me to college to haze. He sent me to acquire a set of values and a mentor and a trade. I won’t give up fighting against hazing in part because fraternities such as Phi Delta Theta won’t give up and motivate me.

Let us work together to make hazing a best-forgotten relic of the past. Just imagine what an amazing undergraduate fraternal experience there would be if hazing were ended, and all the time spent fighting an illicit practice were put into service to one’s chapter, school, national–and society itself.

Hank Nuwer teaches journalism as an associate professor at Franklin College. He resides in Indiana and has property in remote Alaska. He is the grandfather of two and roommate to a Labrador retriever named Dogzilla. His last book was The Hazing Reader for Indiana University Press. Phil Delta Theta supports the Hank Nuwer Antihazing Hero Awards given out each year by HazingPrevention.org.

Don’t Play Doctor!

Phi Delta Theta works hard to protect our members and educate them about the risks and legal consequences of underage and binge drinking. And while our expectation is that our members obey the law as well as the policies of our Fraternity, we are also aware of the unfortunate reality that some choose to abuse alcohol and put themselves or others in danger. Every year more than 4,000 people die from an alcohol overdose. Nearly 42% of those deaths are college students; a staggering statistic that could be much lower if students were knowledgeable about how to take proper action when such situations arise.

This week is National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week, a week that is dedicated to promoting education, research, and initiatives that will help eliminate alcohol abuse on college and university campuses. Phi Delta Theta is committed to this cause and in an effort to educate our members about what to do if a brother has had too much to drink, the Fraternity is proud to share its video: Don’t Play Doctor.



Don’t Play Doctor was produced in 2009 by Phi Delta Theta Fraternity to remind our members not to play doctor when a brother or friend is in need of help. The video identifies the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning and encourages all of our members to “be their brothers’ keeper and get professional help.”Two years later, Don’t Play Doctor is being used as an educational tool by other fraternities, universities, and insurance companies to educate undergraduates on these important concepts. As Phi Delts, we enjoy life by the help and society of others, a statement that must be remembered when a brother’s life depends on it most.

We encourage risk management chairman to view the Don’t Play Doctor processing questions so that they can facilitate a good conversation with their members about risk management, crisis management, and intervention.

An Invitation to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell – Please Join Us in the Fight to Stop Hazing

By Scott Mietchen, General Council President

Hazing:  As the International President of Phi Delta Theta, I realize that anytime I say or write this word many of our members, both undergraduate and alumni, roll their eyes and expect to hear yet another lecture on the litany of reasons why hazing has no place in the Greek movement in general, or in our Fraternity specifically.  However, this piece isn’t directed at the members of Phi Delta Theta.  Instead it is directed at one of the most powerful, thoughtful and influential men in the world of sports: Roger Goodell, the Commissioner of the National Football League.

You see, while the words “fraternity” and “hazing” are often associated together, the problem of hazing exists in many areas of our society including professional, college and high school athletics.  I refuse to accept the common perception that hazing is just a college fraternity/sorority problem.  In fact, I believe that national fraternities and sororities, and their respective chapters, do more to try and combat hazing then any organizations I can think of.  I realize that the Greek system gets most of the focus and I realize we have yet to completely end these practices within our own organizations, even though we have been waging the fight against hazing for decades.  However, we Greeks cannot combat hazing alone without key partners joining with us to end these stupid, pointless, harmful and sometimes dangerous traditions.  In fact, it makes it more difficult for us to combat hazing in our own ranks, when the media celebrates acts of hazing in shows such as the HBO series “Hard Knocks,” where it humorously profiled hazing in the NFL this past season.

That is why I was so pleased to read this past week that Jack Del Rio, Head Coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, has banned hazing this year from the Jaguars rookie training camp after things got out of hand in 2010.  Coach Del Rio defended his decision by saying that players needed to have more respect for each other in order to be better teammates.  And with his simple order, hazing stopped in the Jaguars training camp.  And just this week Jason Garrett, Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys, followed suit with a similar ban for his team.

For a coach to take this step in the NFL is important because it can trickle down to other NFL teams, and then into collegiate and high school athletics.  Ask any high school athlete, coach or referee about hazing and you will hear some incredible stories.  You can simply Google “high school sports hazing” and read an astonishing number of deplorable stories.  The NFL serves as a role model to high school and collegiate athletes whether it accepts the role or not.  And when hazing is accepted, and even celebrated, in the NFL, it makes it more acceptable at the high school and collegiate levels by conditioning students that hazing is an acceptable team-building behavior.

I am asking NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for help.  Last September, I wrote Commissioner Goodell a letter asking for his leadership in addressing hazing in the NFL and offering as help Phi Delta Theta’s 30 years of experience in fighting the issue.  That request for help from the Commissioner and offer of assistance by our Fraternity stands today.  The NFL sets the tone for many norms in our society and the players, coaches and owners do indeed serve as role models for our youth.  Their leadership on any issue can make a difference. Their leadership to join the fight against hazing just might even save a life.

At the time I wrote Commissioner Goodell last fall, there were many other things on his plate including the recently completed contract talks between the players and owners.  Those talks are now completed, the players are back in training camp and the NFL will most likely have another record breaking season.  Unfortunately the Commissioner missed an opportunity to ban hazing with the recently completed collective bargaining agreement.

While I realize that there is much the Commissioner’s office does throughout the year on a wide variety of issues, I would hope that he may see the steps recently taken by the Jaguars and Cowboys as an opportunity to use his position of leadership to begin stamping out hazing in the NFL.  His actions now may help lead to the elimination of hazing in other levels of sports, which can also help us in our fight against hazing.  Commissioner Goodell has the unilateral ability to draw the line in the sand regarding behavioral standards in the NFL, an authority he has used in the past to deal with other issues which are viewed as a threat to the league and/or its players.  I believe the Commissioner has the decency to take a stand that can affect thousands of young men and women who may never play in his league. And beyond the illegality of hazing in many states, it’s just stupid, wrong and harmful.

I’m not suggesting that we blame hazing within our organization on the NFL – far from it.  Phi Delta Theta will continue its on-going efforts to stamp out hazing in our own organization regardless of what others do.  However, I am suggesting that the active and vocal leadership of Commissioner Goodell on this issue could impact many parts of society for decades to come.

Commissioner Goodell, you have the ability to unilaterally stop hazing in the NFL.  All it takes from you is the stroke of a pen.  Please consider joining us in this effort, as it will have very positive consequences far beyond the gates of the National Football League.

Brother Mietchen is the General Council President. Scott is a 1984 graduate of the University of Utah where he earned both his B.S. and MPA. He has served the Fraternity as a chapter consultant, chapter adviser, house corporation president, province president, delegate to the NIC and member of the General Council from 1994-2000 and 2004-Present. Scott became an Iron Phi in 2010. Professionally Scott is President and Managing Partner of Fund Raising Counsel, Inc. (FRCI), the oldest fundraising consulting firm in the Intermountain West. He was recognized as Fund Raiser of the Year in 2006 by the Utah Society of Fund Raisers. Prior to joining FRCI, he served as Vice President for University Advancement at Utah State University. Scott, his wife Lisa, and their children, Abby (17) and Alex (14) live in Salt Lake City.

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You Want to Do What???

Melanie-ClaytonWhen I was asked to provide a blog for the month of June, I was willing but anxious about sharing my experiences of working with an all male fraternity. Becoming the first female director on staff with Phi Delta Theta Headquarters is a huge honor and one I don’t take lightly.  I have to say that in the nine years I have worked for the Fraternity, I have faced my share of obstacles, but the rewards far outweigh the challenges.

To many I am known as Mrs. Clayton, the Event Planning lady.  It’s true, one of my primary duties since coming on staff, (the summer of the implementation of Alcohol-Free Housing, no less) was to help implement, review and advise the Event Planning Program.

I imagine that members are wondering just how could a middle-aged lady ever understand the bond of brotherhood shared by the members of Phi Delta Theta?  Why does she get to tell us what type of event we can and can not have? We’re fraternity guys! We know what is best for us!

It always makes me think of my Mother’s response when I wanted to do something that wasn’t always the smartest or safest thing to do, “But why?” I would ask.  “Because I’m the Mom and I said so!” she would respond.  I vowed I would never say that when I had children.  I hate being the “mean mom.”  I probably shouldn’t reveal this, but Phi Delts are among the most creative when it comes to their social events.  A lot of the stuff they come up with does sound like great fun!  Is it always safe or in their best interest? Well….NO!

Occasionally I have to tell a Social Chairman or Risk Management Chairman who have gotten to know me during the course of the year, “You know I hate to be the fun police, but no, you can not have a bungee jumping contest, ride a mechanical bull, have a water related event with a slide or pool of any kind, organize roof top boxing (?), or plan co-ed jell-o wrestling!”  “But why?” they ask (and they always do).  “Because I’m the Mom and I said so!”

On a serious note, the friendships I have made over the years with fellow staff members, alumni volunteers and the undergraduate members are ones that I will cherish for a lifetime.  You don’t have to be a Phi to be “proud to be” associated with them!

Melanie Clayton is the Fraternity’s Director of Housing and Insurance.  She handles a variety of issues for the GHQ Staff.  Her primary responsibilities relate to chapter insurance,  the Event  Planning Program , chapter housing and serving as one of the staff liaisons to the Walter B. Palmer Foundation.  Melanie is a lifelong resident of Oxford and  is beginning her tenth year on the Phi Delta Theta staff .

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