United We Stand: The Men Of Phi Kappa Psi

United We Stand: The Men Of Phi Kappa Psi


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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I'm The College Girl Who Likes Trump And Hates Feminism, And Living On A Liberal Campus Is Terrifying

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.


I will get right to the point: being a conservative on a liberal college campus in 2019 downright terrifying.

At my university, I'm sure about 90% of the population, both students and faculty, are liberals. They are very outspoken, never afraid to express their views, opinions, and feelings in several ways. There are pride events for the LGBT community, a huge celebration for MLK day, and tons of events for feminists.

Then there's the minority: the conservatives. The realists. The "racists," "bigots," and "the heartless." I am everything the liberals absolutely despise.

I like Donald Trump because he puts America first and is actually getting things done. He wants to make our country a better place.

I want a wall to keep illegals out because I want my loved ones and me to be safe from any possible danger. As for those who are genuinely coming here for a better life, JUST FILL OUT THE PAPERWORK INSTEAD OF SNEAKING AROUND.

I'm pro-life; killing an infant at nine months is inhumane to me (and yet liberals say it's inhumane to keep illegals out…but let's not get into that right now).

I hate feminism. Why? Because modern feminism isn't even feminism. Slandering the male species and wanting to take down the patriarchy is just ridiculous.

I hate the media. I don't trust anyone in it. I think they are all biased, pathological liars. They purposely make our president look like the devil himself, leaving out anything good he does.

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

I mostly keep my opinions to myself out of fear. When I end up getting one of my "twisted" and "uneducated" thoughts slip out, I cringe, waiting for the slap in the face.

Don't get me wrong; not everyone at my university is hostile to those who think differently than they do.

I've shared my opinions with some liberal students and professors before, and there was no bloodshed. Sure, we may not see eye to eye, but that's okay. That just means we can understand each other a little better.

Even though the handful of students and faculty I've talked to were able to swallow my opinions, I'm still overwhelmed by the thousands of other people on campus who may not be as kind and attentive. But you can't please everybody. That's just life.

Your school is supposed to be a safe environment where you can be yourself. Just because I think differently than the vast majority of my peers doesn't mean I deserve to be a target for ridicule. No one conservative does. Scratch that, NO ONE DOES.

I don't think I'll ever feel safe.

Not just on campus, but anywhere. This world is a cruel place. All I can do is stand firm in my beliefs and try to tolerate and listen to the clashing opinions of others. What else can I do?

All I can say is... listen. Be nice. Be respectful of other's opinions, even if you strongly disagree. Besides, we all do have one thing in common: the desire for a better country.

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Why I Love Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, not for political reasons

I don't want to talk about political beliefs necessarily when I talk about why I fucking love AOC.


My political affiliation couldn't be kept a secret even if I tried. In the words of my mother, I've been a liberal since I popped out of the womb. So to me, the dramatic change in representation in the House was a huge win for me at this time in history.

While I sit on one side of the aisle because that's where I hear the most conversations about my closest political beliefs happening, I don't want to talk about political beliefs necessarily when I talk about why I fucking love Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The first I'd ever heard of this powerful voice from New York was in a video being shared around on Facebook that gave me a strong sense of hope that I haven't felt in a while. She explains the nuance behind "identity politics" and the importance of complete representation in Congress in terms of race, class, and policy. Here was a young woman in my generation (or just outside of it) running for Congress because she knew there was work to be done, not because she knew she would win, or because of some larger force paying her to win, or because she comes from a family of politicians. She ran because she was passionate and because she works to understand her district and represent them in ways that give her district a matched fight with revolving-door politicians who know how to play the game.

This woman, to me, represents accessibility into politics for Americans. When I first started listening to politicians and presidents talk on TV, I remember listening to Obama speak my freshman year of high school (maybe for a state of the union address?) and I asked my mom what a lot of words meant. I learned what poverty, immigration, economic policy, taxes, the middle-class, and more were. She had answers for some but not all of my questions, and then I asked why they felt the need to use such big, intimidating words? Weren't they supposed to represent the country, who to my understanding, probably didn't know what all of these words meant if my own mother didn't? (Moms know everything.)

I didn't want to be left behind in a country that made decisions based on Harvard graduate levels of thinking when most of us were in fact, not Harvard graduates. I was aware when Obama used words I had on a vocabulary test the week before, and I was aware that my honors class was strikingly different from my friends' general education English classes, and that our entire high school was years ahead of some less privileged schools 30-minutes away. But all of us, no matter how politically accessible our situations were or not, were to be represented by a man using these words.

AOC is progressive (in a non-political sense) for Americans because she uses rhetoric and tools to educate Americans instead of persuading or intimidating them to think that she just knows best. She's a politician, yes, so of course she uses persuasive techniques to get policy she believes in to pass so she can do her job as a legislator. But have you seen her Instagram stories or heard her speak in interviews?

Her style of leadership involves a refreshing level of transparency and group participation. I feel like I'm allowed to ask questions about what happens in Washington D.C., and about what another congressperson meant when they said ______. She answers questions like these online to her followers, some of which are her represented correspondents, and some of which are people outside of her district just desperate to expose themselves to any congressperson willing to talk to them on their level. Her flow inspires the average American to listen and checks the confident incumbent from underestimating just how much she knows.

Not all of us are fortunate enough to afford college. Not all of us are fortunate enough to come from a community where high schools prepared and primed us for college-level vocabulary filled conversations. Some of us have to accept politics as a realm with which we can never be involved, heard, or interactive. A.O.C. is what's changing this mentality. 43% of adults living in poverty function at low literacy rates. If they can't understand political rhetoric, how will they be able to democratically participate? Politicians spend so much time talking about poverty rates and how they want to move every family into a middle-class lifestyle, but they don't alter their political approach to invite the poverty-stricken or under-educated Americans into their conversations. AOC does this.

She spends time every night explaining whatever her followers have questions about in full detail. She actually uses up-to-date technology and social media to communicate with Americans, making older senators look lazy or technologically incompetent for not engaging with their community as often or as explicitly. Not to mention, every video I've ever seen produced by her or her team (including her Instagram stories) have closed-captions already edited in. She considers every American to be her audience before speaking, and the fact that what she's doing feels new and refreshing to me suggests just how badly we need her, and more people like her, in politics today.

This isn't even because of her understanding that literacy affects voting--in the original video I saw of her, she understands that the people she represents were flat-out not being addressed in politics. "People aren't voting because no one is speaking to them." Truly and meaningfully, directly and honestly.

She's America's teacher, a representative of why mentorship on all levels is important, and to me, what America would look like if our politicians were not only our representatives, but our educators, our mentors, and our teammates.

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