Take Care of One Another
October 11, 2018
To My Undergraduate Beta Brothers and New Members,
Cc: Beta parents, General Fraternity Officers, chapter advisors and house corporation volunteers
Fall is an important and busy time for Beta Theta Pi. No doubt, you and your chapter are already being pulled in 20 different directions. For starters, you need to study for midterms, plan homecoming, organize a fall formal, win intramurals, and recruit and educate the next generation of Betas.
Of course, as the old saying goes: If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. So, which of these gets top billing?
As General Secretary and chairman of the Board of Trustees, and most importantly a brother who cares for all of you, I want to be clear: Absolutely nothing is more important than the health and safety of our members and guests.
This message seems particularly pertinent now as the Greek community continues to struggle with several heartbreaking events across North America involving young fraternity men:
- Alpha Phi Alpha new member Tyler Hilliard of UC Riverside died during a fraternity pledge outing, and police are now investigating whether hazing played a role in his sudden death.
- Alcohol is believed to have been involved in the death of Dylan Fulton of Alpha Gamma Rho at the University of Minnesota, a dean’s list student with a 4.0 GPA, who was found unresponsive in his chapter house last month.
- University of Kentucky Alpha Tau Omega new member Jacob Heil was arrested after a fraternity tailgate when he was involved in a fatal DUI crash that killed a four-year-old child.
- Evan Hansen, Wabash ’19, left his family and Beta brothers in shock when he took his own life on September 10 – World Suicide Prevention Day.
I sincerely hope that you consider Beta Theta Pi a safe environment where you can openly discuss incidents like these and issues you or your chapter might be struggling with. I am certainly open to talking with you about them, and your chapter advisors, regional/district chiefs and our Administrative Office staff are also here to help. If you don’t feel comfortable talking with your brothers or a Friend of Beta, consider campus or professional resources:
- Greek Hazing Hotline
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Substance Abuse/Mental Health Helpline
As you continue this term, remember the oath you took at the time of your induction – to bring honor to Beta Theta Pi in all your actions. Please do not assume that because you have not yet met tragedy, that tragedy couldn’t find you if you open the door for it. The General Fraternity’s volunteer and staff corps remain diligent in support of our chapters, but no doubt the first and most important line of defense against a tragedy rests squarely with you and your brothers. Planning safe events and providing proper education and orientation to our members and new members is critical, particularly during important and formative events like pledge induction, big brother events and initiation. I urge your chapter to consult its advisors when planning these major milestones in one’s Beta experience. And if something does go wrong, know that seeking assistance for a brother or guest in need is certainly at the heart of your Beta obligations. Calling for help in any situation that concerns the health and safety of another human being is always the right thing to do.
A commitment to mutual aid and assistance has been a hallmark of Beta Theta Pi for some 179 years. I have the utmost faith, trust and confidence that you, as one of the Fraternity’s more than 10,000 undergraduate men of principle, will act throughout your college years to uphold this reputation and help ensure your brothers stay brothers for life – and all friends and guests are cared for accordingly.
Yours in ___kai___,
S. Wayne Kay, Virginia Tech ’73
General Secretary and Chairman of the Board
Jeff Rundle, Kansas State ’03