United We Stand: The Men Of Phi Kappa Psi

United We Stand: The Men Of Phi Kappa Psi

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There comes a time when every fraternity must face a challenge so daunting it will shake a man to his core. We’ve had our ups and downs these past four years back on campus, but each challenge has made us closer as a brotherhood and we've tripled in size.

Now, the men of Phi Kappa Psi face their greatest challenge, yet, since reopening in 2010 – the acquisition of their chapter house and property by the University of Oklahoma. 

Phi Psi has had a long and rich history for 94 years at OU. In 1919, the men of the local Kappa Psi organization petitioned for a charter to Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. That next year, in 1920, a charter was granted and the men in Norman became the 69th chapter and earned the title of Oklahoma Alpha chapter of Phi Kappa Psi.

 

There have been several prominent graduates from the University of Oklahoma who were members of Phi Psi, including Rob Standridge, who currently serves as our Oklahoma Senator for District 15. One of our most historic alumni is Stanley B. Catlett, for whom the OU Catlett Music Center is named. He and his brother, Eugene, were founding fathers of Phi Psi in 1920. These influential and generous men were badge number two and three, respectively, and set the foundation for Phi Psi’s grand history here at OU. The wood paneled formal study room at the fraternity house is also named after the Catletts and it does, indeed, smell of rich mahogany.

 

NASA astronaut, Dr. Owen Kay Garriott, was initiated into Phi Psi in 1949. Garriott’s first spaceflight was the Skylab 3 mission in 1973. That flight set a world record of 60 days in space, doubling the previous record. His endeavors in the field of engineering show the brothers, today, that even men from Oklahoma can reach the stars.

 

Paul Gadd was initiated in 1986 and, upon graduation, took his talents to Hollywood. He got his first big break as an associate producer on the show 24. Currently, he is the executive producer on AMC’s The Walking Dead, which is watched ritualistically after chapter each Sunday. Brother Gadd has come a long way from shooting Phi Psi’s recruitment videos back in the 80s.

 

Currently, Phi Psi has 32 active brothers and a member GPA of 3.12, with a 13-man spring pledge class. Phi Psi has two National Merit Scholars, two President’s Community Scholars, two President’s Leadership Class Members, a Conoco-Phillips Scholarship award winner, CAC and UPB members and a national officer in its ranks. The fraternity is very active with the Boys and Girls Club of Oklahoma City and enjoys teaming up with the sororities on campus to help the kids of OKC.

 

Now, Phi Psi faces a challenge that they have little control over. Since 1964, the University of Oklahoma has owned the property the chapter house is built on and the fraternity has had a lease agreement with the University. As any great college grows, it requires more land to build academic buildings or residence housing. Next door to the north, Zarrow Hall was recently built and, across the street, major renovation is underway on other university buildings.

 

It appears that 720 Elm is next on OU’s radar. After residing on this property since the 1960s, our time here is coming to a close. The university has recently decided not to renew the lease, nor will they provide an opportunity for any future negotiations, giving the fraternity a mere five months to find new accommodations for 32 brothers and a place to continue chapter operations. This is sad and an additional stress for the brotherhood on top of the typical pressures of college life. Being forced out of the chapter house has no effect on the charter, nationally or locally, for  and is not due to any volition of campus policy or regulations. The fraternity will continue operations and keep growing, as it has in recent years.

 

The National Executive Director of Phi Kappa Psi, Shawn Collinsworth, made a supportive statement affirming that, “Phi Kappa Psi has a very proud history and tradition at the University of Oklahoma. Nearly 1,400 members have been initiated into the chapter. Over the past several years, the local alumni and undergraduate membership have enjoyed immense improvements in the chapter. Furthermore, the chapter continues to be good partners with campus administration, following all campus policies.”

 

There is something funny about a rivalry that makes us strive harder to be the best men and women that we can possibly be. However, every once in a while we can put aside our problems with one another for the benefit of the Greek community as a whole. Phi Psi president Kevin Copeland has reached out to the presidents of all the other IFC and Panhellenic chapter presidents. He states, “In the near century that Phi Kappa Psi has been at OU, we have played a pivotal part in the OU community. The connections and partnerships that we have made with the other Greek organizations on campus have made the community stronger. The recent decision by the university not to renew our lease is no doubt one that we, along with many other IFC chapters, see as unfit and inconsiderate. It’s very comforting to see the Greek community rally behind us when we need it most. United we stand as Greeks, regardless of the letters we wear. We are proud to be Phi Psis and will always be Sooners, regardless of the decision made by the university.”

 

The chapter's capital campaign has raised money from the donations of alumni for a new facility to build a new chapter house by 2020. In the meantime, Phi Psi wishes to remain at 720 Elm with a long term lease commitment to allow the fraternity to continue normal chapter operations and make progress here at OU. Phi Kappa Psi will remain at the University of Oklahoma for years to come, as it has since 1920, whether or not it resides at 720 Elm. Phi Psi simply asks the Greek community to speak out, as you see fit, in support of their efforts to have a fighting chance to grow as a fraternity of gentlemen.

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3 Reasons Why Step Dads Are Super Dads

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I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

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Sociolinguistics Series: Part 50

Language is a powerful tool.

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It's part 50--halfway to 100! I'm so glad to still be here writing! In this section, we will talk about Dr. Shikaki's findings on how Palestinians view the state of Israel.

25 years ago, 85% of Palestinians supported a two-state solution. 10 years ago, this number decreased to 70%. Dr. Shikaki believes this was due to an increase in the prominence of Islamism in Palestinian society during the second intifada; Islamists were opposed to the two-state solution. In the most recent survey, the December 2018 one, only 43% of Palestinians supported the two state solution.

In 2000, American President Bill Clinton met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat at the Camp David Summit to come up with a solution to the conflict. It ended without an agreement, but in December of 2000, Clinton once again proposed a resolution: the Clinton Parameters.

The content of the Parameters basically allowed Israel to annex settlements while Palestine to take 94-96% of the West Bank, as well as Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. There were other guidelines regarding territory, refugees, security, and the end of the conflict. Essentially, the West Bank would have been split up by Israeli roads and settlements--which is kind of the reality today.

Both the Israeli government and Arafat accepted the terms with reservations, and Arafat wrote to Clinton a letter asking for clarifications on the terms. Clinton and Dennis Ross, an envoy of the Parameters, publicized that Arafat had refused to accept the terms; they painted Palestinians in a negative light, saying that Israel wanted to accept the peace negotiations but Palestine did not.

American Lawyer Robert Malley was at the Camp David Summit and oversaw parts of the Clinton Parameters. In 2001, he said that three myths had come out of the failure of both negotiations, and that these three myths were dangerous to any future peace processes if people kept believing in them.

These myths are as follows: "Camp David was an ideal test of Mr. Arafat's intentions," "Israel's offer met most if not all of the Palestinians' legitimate aspirations," and "The Palestinians made no concession of their own."

He said that these three statements were not true but very heavily publicized by America and Israel after the negotiations failed; rather, there is more nuance to each of these issues, and America and Israel have just as much responsibility in the failure of the Summit and Parameters as Palestine did. Malley wrote, "If peace is to be achieved, the parties cannot afford to tolerate the growing acceptance of these myths as reality."

Anyway, what does this have to do with Dr. Shikaki? He polled Palestinians not only on the their attitudes to the two-state solution, but the Clinton Parameters as well. 25 years ago, there was 60% support for the Clinton Parameters by Palestinians, but the June 2018 poll showed that the number had gone down to 37%.

The last ten years shows a significant decrease in public support for both the two-state solution and the Clinton Parameters, and it could be a result of disagreeing with specific parts of the proposals (such as how the Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock or Jerusalem is delegated).

I did some further digging when I got home, and I found this data from the UN Division for Palestinian Rights website:

"A 25 December [2000] published poll found that 48% of the 501 Israelis questioned were opposed to the proposals; 57% would object to Palestinian control of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound; 72% were against even a limited return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. A 29 December published poll found that 56% of the Israelis would oppose a peace agreement reached on the basis of the Parameters."

This shows that though public media--especially Western media--may have painted the Palestinian government as the villain (and Israel and America as the "victims"), the proposals accepted by either government had varied support among its people.

The Israeli civilian population did not want to accept the Clinton Parameters because of the way certain things would be resolved; their reservations lie with the Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa Mosque because the Temple Mount, which is the holiest site in the world for Jews, would have been given to Palestine, while Jews would have control of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount (which is the status quo).

In addition, there was a section in the Clinton Parameters that dealt with the right of return for Palestinians, where there would be a certain number of Palestinian refugees who settled in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while other Palestinians either would become citizens of their host countries, move to a third-party country, or settle back into the land that is Israel Proper (with permission from the Israeli government, of course); many Israelis did not support this.

That was the public opinion years ago. Today, there is even less support for these proposals. Dr. Shikaki outlined three issues as reasons for a decrease in support of compromise, which we will cover in the next section. Stay tuned!

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