Politics proved to be the root of many problems at Dickinson in 1934. At times Dickinson seemed more like Washington, D.C. than an institution of learning. The politics among the fraternities proved to be destructive to many. The political feuding of the members of the IFC broke out into athletics and other extra-curricular activities on campus.
In sports fraternities tried to dominate sports by placing members in leadership positions. Fraternities did not control all the athletic organizations but they did influence many. In track and cross-country Sigma Chi dominated with a large number of its members involved in the events. 1 The fraternity placed its members in the leadership spots of the two teams. Football seemed to be the big political issue for many of the fraternities. While control of the sport passed between a number of fraternities over the years someone was always using it to their advantage. In a survey of alumni in 1955, Earl R. Handler complained about the quote "over emphasis on fraternity and clique politics". Handler, a member of the Class of '34 also wrote, "no matter what your talents were, if you did not belong to the right group, you did not obtain recognition." 2 The politics were ruining the innocence that went along with the athletic spirit.
Politics also reached into other non-athletic organizations. The Belles Lettres Society was under control of Phi Kappa Psi. It did not matter that the society had no direct affiliation to the fraternity. It was all about a lust for power and the desire to manipulate activities for personal good. Even the sororities were involved in the political game. Zeta Tau Alpha had a majority of members in the McIntire Literary Society. 3 Once again the true meaning of the organization, an academic one, was lost in the haze of a power struggle. It seemed that no organization was beyond the political intrigue that troubled so many at campus. Many complained but little reform was made because those with power would not give it up easily. It would take many years to eliminate some of the monopolies the fraternal organizations had over non-fraternal ones.
BACK TO IFC
1. Dickinson College Microcosm of 1934. Dickinson College. Carlisle, PA.
2. 1955 Alumni Questionnaires: Classes of 1934 - 1936. Dickinson College. Carlisle, PA.
3. Dickinson College Microcosm of 1934. Dickinson College. Carlisle, PA.
||Dickinson 1934 is a project of Prof. Osborne's History 204 Class, Fall Semester 2000.|