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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'As A Woman,' I Don't Need To Fit Your Preconceived Political Assumptions About Women

I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.


It is quite possible to say that the United States has never seen such a time of divisiveness, partisanship, and extreme animosity of those on different sides of the political spectrum. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are saturated with posts of political opinions and are matched with comments that express not only disagreement but too often, words of hatred. Many who cannot understand others' political beliefs rarely even respect them.

As a female, Republican, college student, I feel I receive the most confusion from others regarding my political opinions. Whenever I post or write something supporting a conservative or expressing my right-leaning beliefs and I see a comment has been left, I almost always know what words their comment will begin with. Or in conversation, if I make my beliefs known and someone begins to respond, I can practically hear the words before they leave their mouth.

"As a woman…"

This initial phrase is often followed by a question, generally surrounding how I could publicly support a Republican candidate or maintain conservative beliefs. "As a woman, how can you support Donald Trump?" or "As a woman, how can you support pro-life policies?" and, my personal favorite, "As a woman, how did you not want Hillary for president?"

Although I understand their sentiment, I cannot respect it. Yes, being a woman is a part of who I am, but it in no way determines who I am. My sex has not and will not adjudicate my goals, my passions, or my work. It will not influence the way in which I think or the way in which I express those thoughts. Further, your mention of my sex as the primary logic for condemning such expressions will not change my adherence to defending what I share. Nor should it.

To conduct your questioning of my politics by inferring that my sex should influence my ideology is not only offensive, it's sexist.

It disregards my other qualifications and renders them worthless. It disregards my work as a student of political science. It disregards my hours of research dedicated to writing about politics. It disregards my creativity as an author and my knowledge of the subjects I choose to discuss. It disregards the fundamental human right I possess to form my own opinion and my Constitutional right to express that opinion freely with others. And most notably, it disregards that I am an individual. An individual capable of forming my own opinions and being brave enough to share those with the world at the risk of receiving backlash and criticism. All I ask is for respect of that bravery and respect for my qualifications.

Words are powerful. They can be used to inspire, unite, and revolutionize. Yet, they can be abused, and too comfortably are. Opening a dialogue of political debate by confining me to my gender restricts the productivity of that debate from the start. Those simple but potent words overlook my identity and label me as a stereotype destined to fit into a mold. They indicate that in our debate, you cannot look past my sex. That you will not be receptive to what I have to say if it doesn't fit into what I should be saying, "as a woman."

That is the issue with politics today. The media and our politicians, those who are meant to encourage and protect democracy, divide us into these stereotypes. We are too often told that because we are female, because we are young adults, because we are a minority, because we are middle-aged males without college degrees, that we are meant to vote and to feel one way, and any other way is misguided. Before a conversation has begun, we are divided against our will. Too many of us fail to inform ourselves of the issues and construct opinions that are entirely our own, unencumbered by what the mainstream tells us we are meant to believe.

We, as a people, have become limited to these classifications. Are we not more than a demographic?

As a student of political science, seeking to enter a workforce dominated by men, yes, I am a woman, but foremost I am a scholar, I am a leader, and I am autonomous. I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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Educate Yourself And Spread Facts, Not Bias

Do you know the truth? Or are you allowing rumors to cloud your judgement of the political arena?


In our society, the government has grown to be a capitalistic effort. Payout, backroom deals, we are unaware of many actions those that represent us take behind closed doors. The transparency we think we see is unrealistic and just not the way that politics actually work. In the entire world, governance has become essential to the survival and future of society. No two governments are the same, and they are essentially ever changing as many people of power change constantly.

This being said influence from these individuals rule the political sphere. Whether it be a local councilperson, senator, governor, or even the president.IN the U.S. our daily lives and wellbeing rest in the hands of the few. Some of these politicians are honest and work genuinely for the people. However, agenda frequently takes over the arena and leaves the decisions of our livelihood to the gains of politicians.

Our generation has the lowest voter turnout, leaving the decisions that we do have to older generations. Some of those hold ideologies that are not relevant nor acceptable to the climate we live in today. This is not a call to action but more of a thought. As someone who was incredibly uninvolved in politics, I wanted to look at why I lacked the care that other people my age held so passionately. I believe it starts with my distaste of conflict, which many people my age also agree with. Politics can lead to confrontation and negative conversation.

Therefore, who would want to make friendships and interactions awkward with an avoidable subject. I found myself straying from these conversations and becoming uncomfortable when friends assert opinions that I do not agree with. However, in taking classes where this environment hinges the change in industries I study. I was forced to form some type of opinion in the matter.

From here I decided to change the lens on how I looked at politics. Instead of shying away, I really listened to what my professors felt about it and their assertions. I then did my own research, looking into the history of matters that my peers and professors talked about. Educating myself on what the facts were, versus believing in rumors that I heard through the grapevine.

I started engaging friends in a positive manner, as opposing opinions are valuable in a holistic situational viewpoint. I became comfortable in the discomfort of politics and worked to learn what may be in store for our world. My point for this is to educate yourself on genuine fact. Do not assert opinions based on information that your friend or even a professor gives you, keep your knowledge on the subject relevant.

You never know when legislation may come out that seriously effects your way of life. Most importantly, knowledge is power and power is what those that leave us in ignorance have over us.

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