- ANTI-GREEK BIAS MOVES OHIO TAX COMMISSIONER
- Observance of ritual is at the core of fraternity relationships
- HISTORY CHANNEL LOOKS AT FRATERNITIES
- GREEKS AND THE CAMPUS
- MISSISSIPPI WRONGFUL DEATH CASES SETTLED
- SPEECH CODES REMAIN UNDER ATTACK
Newsletter > September 2003 > "HISTORY CHANNEL LOOKS AT FRATERNITIES"
HISTORY CHANNEL LOOKS AT FRATERNITIES
Tim Burke, Manley Burke, firstname.lastname@example.org
On September 1, 2003, the History Channel aired an hour and a half special entitled “Frat Boys.” Focusing on the Phi Delta Theta Chapter at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), the program traced the recruiting of new members by the fraternity system at Ole Miss. Interspersed throughout the program was information on the history of the American Greek movement going back to the 1820s. It briefly considered the centuries-old tradition of related organizations, and examined the critical challenges facing Greek organizations today, including the twin challenges of hazing and alcohol abuse.
With the cooperation of the Phi Delt Chapter at Ole Miss, the program aired portions of a bid meeting at which voting on bids to new members was shown. It also showed the new members gathering for the Phi Delta Theta initiation.
Robert Biggs, the Executive Vice President of Phi Delta Theta, said about the unique view of the Chapter’s internal functions that:
“The History Channel respected the privacy of our ritual. They were not admitted to any chapter meeting nor to any portion of the ritual of initiation. Phi Delta Theta holds in confidence our fraternity ritual. Our chapter at Ole Miss maintained that confidentiality and The History Channel honored it.”
There is a value in preserving the secrecy of the rituals of private social organizations. The Supreme Court of the United States has repeatedly recognized that when examining the right of certain groups to protect their intimate association, one of the factors the courts should consider is whether or not there are aspects of the relationship of the group involved that are kept from public view and from which non-members are excluded. A fraternal organization should endeavor to guard its secrets. It has a right, following its own disciplinary rules, to discipline members who reveal the organization’s secrets.
“Frat Boys” is available for $29.95 from The History Channel and can be ordered through its web site ((http://store.aetv.com/html/home/index.jhtml)