By Dr. Sparky Reardon, Ole Miss ’72
(Reprinted with permission from the author)
Since Donald Trump’s remarks surfaced on Friday I have watched with great interest the outrage, the defections and the deflections, the apologies, and the fallout. I have seen that Access Hollywood bus probably a hundred times. I’ve heard Billy Bush’s silly, childish prodding. As David Axelrod said earlier tonight, “This is a profoundly sad time for our country.”
I’ve watched the talking heads who have expressed their outrage. I’ve watched the defenders try to change the subject. And time and time again, I’ve heard someone lament having to talk to their daughters about the ugliness and hurtful nature of Trump’s comments. I can’t imagine having a daughter and having to explain to her why a grown man running for the highest office in the land would be so crass.
But what about our sons? I hate it for them also. I hate that they will be painted with the same brush that painted Donald Trump, that painted Billy Bush, and, yes, that probably painted me at one time. Carl Paladino, a Trump supporter and a onetime candidate for governor of New York conceded that Trump’s filthy diatribe was something “that all men do, at least all normal men.”
How sad for our sons that they might feel that they need to try to be “normal” by Paladino’s standard.
I once had a mother call me when I was investigating her son’s fraternity for hazing. It was the usual forced calisthenics, eating putrid food products, paddling, sleep deprivation and humiliation. “I know that you were in a fraternity,” she said, “and you know that boys will be boys.”
I was silent; afraid that I might tell her that she had lost her mind and probably wasn’t fit for parenthood. Instead, I took a deep breath and said, “Ma’am, if you send me a boy and I send you back anything less than a man, I’m just taking your money.” It was her turn to be quiet. She eventually said, “Thank you” and hung up.
There are men the same age as her son was who are working two jobs to support a family, who are busting their tails to get into graduate school, who are spending time serving communities, and who are sleeping in a barracks in a land far away serving in defense of our country. These are men not boys.
“Boys will be boys” is a lame excuse. Sure, boys can have fun, but at some point they will cease playing mud football, or endlessly playing video games, or watching “Beavis and Butthead” or “Jackass” reruns or laughing at their persistent flatulence. At some point, they will no longer say, “Hey, bubba, hold my beer. Watch this.” And, at some point they will learn to value, appreciate, and respect women. Everyone should graduate early from the “He-Man Woman Haters Club.”
At some point, well before they are 60 years old as was Donald Trump at the time of his taped interview or before they are 33 as was Billy Bush at the time of the interview, I hope they will not talk about groping women or trying to bed them regardless of any celebrity status that they might achieve.
At some point, I hope that as men, not boys, they will respect and appreciate women not because they are someone’s mother, daughter, sister or wife, but because they are someone.
At some point I hope that they as men will not only not use language like Trump or Bush, but that they will stand up to their friends who insist on doing so. At least, I hope that they will walk away and refuse to listen to it.
I am sad for women and girls. I am sad for our country. But, I am also sad for our sons.
Talk to them and ask them how they feel about Donald Trump’s interview. Use his words. Ask them how they feel when they hear those words. Let them know that that’s not what men, real men, do. Let them know that if they are bothered by Trump’s words, they are “normal.”
Frederick Douglas might have said it best, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
Time to start building.
About the Author
Dr. Thomas J. “Sparky” Reardon is a former Assistant Vice Chancellor/Dean of Students at the University of Mississippi. Now retired after serving the university for 36 years, he retains the title of Dean Emeritus. Brother Reardon is a member of Phi Delta’s General Council and a recipient of the fraternity’s Legion of Honor Award.
Phi Delta Theta is a non-partisan organization. The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of the General Fraternity, its members or affiliated entities. Opposing viewpoints are always welcomed and encouraged.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Lou Gehrig was not only a legendary New York Yankee, he was also a Brother in the Bond of Phi Delta Theta.
To honor Brother Gehrig’s memory and to help fight this horrible disease and provide resources to those currently affected by it, the Phi Delta Theta Washington, DC alumni club is forming a team to participate in the annual “Walk to Defeat ALS” consisting of undergraduates, alumni and other supporters.
Here are the details for this year’s event in Washington, DC:
WHERE: Washington Monument Grounds
WHEN: Saturday, October 29, 2016
TIME: 9 AM Registration, 10 AM Walk Begins
DISTANCE: 3 miles
Join the DC Alumni Club team “Phi Delta Theta DC” by visiting:
Whether or not you are able to walk with us, please consider joining our fight. Let’s do it for Brother Lou!
Football is back! This week, the NFL officially kicks off the 2016-17 season.
Join the Phi Delt DC Fantasy Football league to compete against local Brothers in the Bond. Make your picks and fight for a playoff berth and the ultimate championship in our first annual fantasy challenge. We have space for a total of 12 teams.
LIVE Draft is set for tomorrow Thursday, September 8 at 2 PM ET via Yahoo Fantasy Football.
Register here: http://ow.ly/jKYE303gatg
No wagering… winner earns bragging rights, respect and admiration of all. Good luck!
More than 600 Phis and their families joined together for Phi Delta Theta Fraternity’s 81st Biennial General Convention in Savannah, Georgia — one of the most charming cities in the United States. In addition to electing the General Council, delegates debated various issues facing the Greek system and voted on amendments to the Constitution and General Statutes of the Fraternity.
Savannah native Chris Dubberly, Mercer, served as the official representative of the Phi Delt DC Alumni Club. He shared this about his convention experience, “The rich history of Phi Delta Theta is something we have all learned to appreciate and historic downtown Savannah was the ideal backdrop for yet another memorable and successful Convention. It was a distinct honor for me to represent the DC alumni club and help shape the direction of the fraternity’s future — especially in my hometown.”
A special thank you to outgoing General Council President Rich Fabritius, Kent State and all the best to newly elected president Jeff Davis, Southeast Missouri State, and the rest of the current council. #PDTConvention
On August 10, 2016, approximately 35 local area Phi Delts gathered for a casual summer reception hosted by local area alumni. Over two dozen different chapters were represented.
Many thanks to all who attended and special appreciation to the eight Phis from Gettysburg College (Pennsylvania Beta) who hosted the event in their Washington, DC home.
Washington, DC Alpha Colony Forms Fall 2016
We are very pleased to announce that following a presentation by GHQ staff and local Phi Delt alumni to the GWU IFC this past April, Phi Delta Theta has been officially selected to expand to the campus of George Washington University.
Although we have local chapters at UMD, McDaniel, Washington College, Johns Hopkins and UVA, this will be the first expansion for Phi Delta Theta in our nation’s capital city.
Recruitment efforts will begin later this Fall after Formal Rush has been completed. If you would like to be involved with the expansion efforts, please register via Phi Delta Theta’s website and indicate your interest in serving on the Washington, DC Alpha Colony Advisory Board.
Hundreds of Phis will gather at the Hyatt Regency in Savannah, Georgia on Sunday, June 19 through Wednesday, June 22, 2016 for Phi Delta Theta Fraternity’s 81st Biennial General Convention.
The Convention offers a unique opportunity for Phis of all ages from many parts of the world to meet in the true spirit of the Bond. Since 1880, the General Convention has held all supreme and legislative powers of the Fraternity. The Convention has three main responsibilities and powers including:
- Electing the General Council
- Consideration of judicial matters
- Enacting laws for the regulation of the Fraternity, since only the General Convention may amend the Ritual, Constitution, and General Statutes of the Fraternity.
The 2016 Phi Delt Convention, located on the riverfront in the heart of Savannah’s historic district, will offer plenty of entertainment and shopping venues plus events that will allow brothers to reconnect with old acquaintances while connecting for the first time with other “Brothers in the Bond.”
In addition the undergraduates and alumni volunteers, the Washington, DC Alumni Club is eligible to send one voting delegate. If you are interested in representing the club at convention this summer, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. It is worth noting that travel expenses and hotel accommodations are the responsibility of the delegate.
Here’s the full 2016 Phi Delta Theta Convention schedule. (PDF)
Leading up to 2000 during a General Officers Conference in Louisville, KY, the fraternity’s volunteer corps and professional staff met to discuss a new direction for Phi Delta Theta.
Simply put, we were going to put an end to apathy, fight complacency and hold members accountable for actions not consistent with The Bond. Alcohol-free housing represented a return to our founding principles and a renewed commitment to provide a values-based experience for our members.
It was a bold and courageous move and consensus was not easily obtained. The debate was robust — and at times heated, but in the end, the vote was unanimous. Many said it couldn’t be done and that our decision would lead to our end. Fifteen years later, the results speak for themselves.
Proud to be a Phi!
Long before Straight Outta Compton in 1988, there was Oxford 1848.
The Washington, DC Alumni Club celebrated Founders Day on March 26, 2015 with a gathering of over 50 area Phi Delts and guests at P.J. Clarke’s in downtown Washington.
Although Phi Delta Theta was founded on December 26, 1848, we officially celebrate Founders Day each year on March 15th in honor of Phi Delt Founding Father Robert Morrison’s birthday. This year’s event was co-organized and sponsored by Phi Delta Theta General Headquarters and the fraternity’s Washington, DC Area Alumni Club.
In addition to the networking reception, there was a brief presentation on the State of the Fraternity and a discussion of recent events in the fraternity world, as well as a Silver Legion ceremony for five of our brothers celebrating 25 years of membership. Over 30 Phi Delt chapters were represented among the undergraduates and alumni in attendance, reflecting the diverse and transient nature of the area’s population.
A few representatives from General Headquarters were also on hand for the event including Andrew Cole, Hanover Phi Delta Theta Foundation’s Director of Development, expansion consultant Andrew Carlson, Syracuse and Melanie Clayton, Director of Insurance and Safety. We appreciate all their efforts to coordinate and support this year’s event.
Thanks to all for attending and a special congratulations to the 2015 members of Phi Delta Theta’s Silver Legion.
2015 Silver Legionnaire recipients (L-R):
Robert Klause, Widener, Joe Martini, San Jose State,
James Rather, Virginia Tech, Mark Snyder, San Jose State,
Charles Fowler, Michigan
(Not pictured: William Turanchick, Akron)
— Seth A. (@sethguidry) March 27, 2015
*Special thanks to Bob Sutton, MIT ’73 for contributing to this post.