Articles from the Hanover College Triangle

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"Greeks Rapped for Racial Discrimination," Hanover College Triangle,18 Jan. 1963, p. 2.


The Board of Trustees of Colby College has given fraternities and sororities at the institution until Commencement 1965 "to satisfy the board they have the right to select their members without regard to race, religion or national origin."

The trustee vote strengthens a stand taken on November 4, 1961, when the board went on record as being "strongly opposed" to discrimination within fraternities and sororities. On that occasion Chairman Reginald H. Sturtevant and Colby President Robert E. L. Strider were instructed to write letters, with a copy of the motion, to the presidents of the alumni organizations and to the national and international organizations of Colby's ten fraternities and four sororities.

In order of their founding, the Colby fraternities are: Delta Kappa Epsilon, Zeta Psi, Delta Upsilon, Phi Delta Theta, Alpha Tau Omega, Lambda Chi, Alpha, Kappa Delta Rho, Tau Delta Phi, Pi Lambda Phi, and Alpha Delta Phi. Sororities include: Sigma Kappa (founded at Colby), Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta and Alpha Delta Pi.

Concerned Parent, "Rights Explained" (letter to the editor), Hanover College Triangle, 1 Feb. 1963.

To the Editors of Triangle:

As a member of the Hanover family, past and present, I am a little more than mildly disturbed by stories of "Greeks being rapped for racial discrimination."

Since some of my family are members of a Greek organization, and some are not, I feel that I can speak freely and with a degree of authority.

THE TRIANGLE reported that in Waterville, Me., at Colby College, the board of trustees has given fraternities and sororities until Commencement 1965 "to satisfy the board they have the right to select their members without regard to race, religion or national origin." I wonder if the trustees of Colby know that social fraternities should not be denied the right to determine their standards of membership granted to them by two vital amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America. The right to "peaceable assembly" and the privacy of the "houses" and "papers" of all citizens?

In our great zeal to protect the constitutional privileges and immunities of certain citizens, colleges and trustees must be careful not to infringe upon or impair equally sacred rights of others. It is a long established rule that no individual has an inherent right to membership in any particular organization.

In choosing of one's friends and associates it is a social right WHICH CANNOT BE CONFUSED WITH CIVIL RIGHTS. It is a fundamental American right to choose members in accordance to the standards and qualifications applicable to each college fraternity, free from interference or restrictions by non-members.

I submit the suggestion that we all read again the Bill of Rights. Any trespass on the rights of others for "peaceable assembly" is infringing on the rights of us all whether we are Greeks or non-Greeks. Let us hope that Hanover College and its board of trustees will stand firm for Constitutional freedom.


Editor's Note: While this letter bore only the signature "Concerned Parent," we decided that we would print it because of the feeling that perhaps we have not made it clear enough in the past that ALL letters, whether mailed or handed to the editor must bear the legitimate signature of the writer. Names will be withheld upon request of the writer, but the original must bear the writer's signature when submitted.

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Caroline Brunner (HC 2018) selected these articles for Learning in Black and White, a study of African Americans at Hanover College from 1832 to 1980.
This is a faithful transcription of the text as it appears in the print version of the Triangle, available at the Hanover College Archives.

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