Beloit College Magazine

Spring 2013 (March 14, 2013 at 12:00 am)

Examining Greek Life, Then and Now


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March 14, 2013 at 12:00 am

When Eric Hetland’12 looks back on Beloit’s history of racial inclusion in Greek life, he likes what he sees. Beloit went to the mat to desegregate fraternities and sororities in the 1950s and 1960s, and Hetland wants this history to be more widely known. But he also wants to explore how Beloit’s progressive record plays out when it comes to contemporary issues in Greek life, such as gender identification and sexual orientation.

For his honors term this spring, Hetland is researching three pivotal points in the 1950s and ’60s, when Beloit chapters pledged students of color, often raising the ire of their national affiliations. He’s seeking help from alumni who would have been juniors or seniors in the following years and members of these fraternities: TKE in 1955, Pi Kappa Alpha in 1964, and Phi Psi in 1967.

Hetland, a Phi Psi, hopes to interview alumni to capture some yet-untold stories for posterity. He plans to share the results of his work with college Archives, through a regular column in the Round Table, a future essay in this magazine, and possibly through an event at Reunion 2013 in June.

In February, Hetland sent surveys to a targeted group of alumni, and since then he’s been busy conducting research in the Archives. He invites alumni with first-hand knowledge of Greek life during these three periods to contact him directly at hetlande@beloit.edu. In addition, Archivist Fred Burwell’86 invites alumni to consider donating to Beloit College Archives original materials or copies of documents or photos related to these historic events.

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