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I don’t always cover news about local fraternities because, quite frankly, the concept scares me. A local fraternity? Why not bring that shit national, dog? I’ll take a crack at some total local frat moves, but I’m not sure how this is gonna go.
We call our chapter meetings a “convention.” TLFM.
Never having to worry about getting kicked off by nationals. TLFM.
Yeah, not really feeling those. The Arm of Honor fraternity at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan, is not your average local fraternity, though. Founded in 1896, they claim to be the oldest local fraternity in the country. I, for one, find it adorable that they’re proud of their cute little 120-year history. You go, fellows! In just another 50-or-so years, you will finally catch up to the big-time national fraternities! That is, of course, if a ton of our organizations go defunct this year, which they probably won’t, because they’re run by a nationals organization that, even if they are terrible, will at least do whatever it takes to not shut down. I mean, their current business model, “have college kids pay us a ton of money and give them nothing in return,” is working out pretty well for them.
As storied as I’m sure their time has been, the Arm of Honor fraternity has hit a rough patch. After peaking in the 1990s, when the fraternity garnered a reputation for partying, failing building inspections, and housing randos, the Arm of Honor is now barely clinging to life after some rough run-ins with the university. Of course, the source article frames this a little differently, going so far as to imply that these incredibly F reputations are actually what caused the fraternity’s decline.
The Arm Of Honor fraternity in the student neighborhood just south of Eastern Michigan University’s campus used to be an organization to which some of the school’s brightest and most promising students belonged.
But during the 1990s, it started shifting course and earning its reputation as a party frat. As the situation spiraled in recent years, Ypsilanti Police visited the home on dozens of calls annually, and city building inspectors found more than 100 code violations in a 2015 inspection, many of them considered critical.
Learning of the fraternity’s spiral came as a shock to older Arm of Honor alumni, said Mike Beaugrand, an alumnus who graduated from EMU in the 1980s. Upon investigating, the alumni board found kids who weren’t even a part of the Arm of Honor or attending EMU living in the house.
Then, in early 2014, the university suspended the active chapter, which the alumni association informed the active members they were not recognized by the university and could not continue to engage in fraternal activities.
So, with their beloved fraternity in the midst of being erased from the annals of history, the alumni stepped in to build it back up. The first thing they did was kick all the brothers out of the house. Just gave them the boot. Cold blooded. It appears as if there are currently no members of the fraternity who are recognized by the alumni, who plan to recruit new members again in a few years.
The next thing they did was renovate the house, which was falling apart at the seams. Compare the photo at the top of this page with the photos of the house post-renovation, here, and it’s pretty clear that they succeeded in that aspect. Now, all they have to do is recruit some awesome, chill dudes whenever they’re ready and the fraternity is back, right?
“We really want change the whole mission of the fraternity. This goes for every campus, but if a fraternity is social then they’re about big parties. Quite frankly, Arm of Honor was a very local, very academic, very community-minded fraternity with a long, rich history,” Beaugrand said. “Someday we want to get the organization back to what it was founded on, which are some pretty strong principals.”
Tragic. Absolutely tragic. Recruiting nerds to save your fraternity is the last thing you want to do. The only thing worse than not being in a fraternity is being in a fraternity so lame that it might as well not be a fraternity. I hope I’m wrong, but I bet the kids they’re looking for are going to be so lame that the only action they get is from their own “arm of honor.” Like I said, I hope I’m wrong. Good luck either way, I guess..
Image via Google Maps