Once a Beta, Always
a Beta, Everywhere a Beta.
These are words to live by for every Beta. Words echoed through the halls of Psi chapter for 143 years. Words proclaimed by all Betas since 1839. More than ever these words should be echoed in all of our hearts as Psi chapter faces difficult times and closes the doors of her beloved halls.
Since the early 80s, regardless of undergraduate leadership, alumni advisory, or General Fraternity support, national trends have shown fraternities and sororities declining in all aspects of chapter operations. National averages for recruitment numbers and grade point averages (GPAs) have dropped while risk management incidents and outstanding financial obligations have risen. Psi chapter, as superior as weve have felt she is, was no different and fell prey to these same trends, regardless of the support that surrounded her.
Because of this tremendous shock to the Greek system, Psi chapter has been on life-support for several years. Recent findings of further decline by Psi chapter forced the Psi Chapter House Corporation to close the chapter house in an attempt to sustain life and help the chapter members regain their ground by relieving financial burden.
This decision along with other areas of concern brought up by alumni, General Fraternity officials, and Bethany College faculty and staff led to several Psi alumni becoming proactive and scheduling a meeting with the newly appointed President of Bethany College, Patricia Poteat. In attendance were elected or appointed representatives of the six bodies of all Psi chapter alumni organizations, spanning several eras. These included Art Bertol 82, Chapter Counselor, Deno Emili 78, President, Psi Chapter Diamond Association, Art Musicaro 77, President, Psi Chapter House Corporation, S. Dean Lesiak 74, President, Psi Diamond Charitable Funds Foundation, Vince Mikolay 00, Associate Director, Men of Principle initiative, Beta Theta Pi General Fraternity and Michael Zdinak 01, Assistant District Chief, District VII, Beta Theta Pi General Fraternity.
The results of the meeting were both shocking and exciting. Many of the rumors and trends we, the alumni, had worries about were also shared by President Poteat. Although President Poteat is not Greek and admittedly has had little interaction and prior knowledge of Greek systems before coming to Bethany College, she was able to quickly impress upon us what she has learned from the schools rich Greek history and was thankful for the information we were able to share. She also expressed major concerns for Psi chapter that echoed our exact sentiments.
By the close of our very thought-provoking and productive meeting, President Poteat assured us that she supported and respected the heritage of fraternities and sororities at Bethany College and wanted to do what was best for the entire system. President Poteat offered that any decision made by the Psi alumni and General Fraternity would be respected and supported. Further and key to our meeting, President Poteat assured that whenever the General Fraternity and Psi alumni saw fit, Beta Theta Pi would be permitted to return to Bethany College should the decision be made to close the chapter. This assurance would be supported by an official letter under her signature.
Taking all of these thoughts in to consideration, the decision was made by the alumni to take action and solicit the General Fraternity to help stop the bleeding and take Psi chapter off life support by closing her doors and suspending her charter. Due to previous incidents by the chapter being investigated by the General Fraternity, the decision was easy to support in moving the chapter to suspended/disbanded status with a plan for future resurrection.
Given the time and talents that the General Fraternity can offer, the success it has shown in recent years with recolonizations, and the institutional knowledge it has in its staff members, a plan for return to Bethany College will be devised and implemented in coming years.
So you ask, Why wait, why not recolonize now? The answer is simple. By waiting, we give Bethany College the time it needs to grow and create a more supportive environment for Greeks, we allow for the reputation and culture of Beta Theta Pi to be removed from campus and we give the General Fraternity and the alumni body the time to prepare for a successful return. Preparing for and returning to Bethany College is not a goal, but a reality; a reality that we will all be proud in supporting.
So how can we ensure the problems we faced dont occur again? When the chapter is recolonized, it will return under the framework of the General Fraternitys highly successful and effective Men of Principle initiative (MPI). Simply stated, the Men of Principle initiative is a framework for success that helps sustain minimum standards through a partnership between the chapter and alumni, the college, and the General Fraternity. The initiative does nothing more than to help the chapter and her members strive to live up to the principles and obligations of Beta Theta Pi, each day, in their own unique way.
So what does all this mean?
1. The Psi chapter of Beta Theta Pi has been closed, but certainly not forgotten.
2. The Psi chapter and her success in the future depends on the students and the culture at Bethany College, so our support for our beloved alma mater must not stop. If nothing more, it must be strengthened in efforts to help better student recruitment and create a more ethical, values-based community that is in alignment with Alexander Campbells original mission for Bethany College.
3. In future years, the Psi chapter of Beta Theta Pi will return to BethanyCollege and will help lead the campus in a Greek reform with implementation of the Men of Principle initiative.
To close, brother, I want to thank you for your dedication and support, for your love and care, and for your time and patience in helping see Psi through these difficult times. We will continue to keep you informed of Psi Alumni actions and events as well as the progression of Bethany College and Psi chapters return. There is no doubt that Psi is down, but will never be out as our unified voices will be heard in place of the chapter, always proclaiming,
Once a Beta, Always a Beta, Everywhere a Beta.
Yours in ___kai___,