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Traditiongate rolls on.
Earlier this week, we reported on the Mud Bowl, an 81-year-old fraternity tradition at the University of Michigan that was shut down after Michigan SAE was kicked off campus but is still going to happen under the table because you can’t just kill a fraternity tradition all willy-nilly.
Well, another fraternity tradition is under attack, and this one’s even older: the University of Idaho “Delt Slip n Slide.” We’ve featured the tradition in question on our site before. It’s essentially just a long-ass slip n slide outside of the Idaho DTD house where Delts and Moscow, Idaho’s finest sorority girls go to cool off and have a good time around the beginning of the fall semester. Here are some photos of the event from over the years.
An artist’s depiction of the event even appears in a map of Moscow, Idaho from the 1970s.
I corresponded with a member of the Delta Tau Delta chapter at the University of Idaho and discovered that the event was not allowed to happen earlier this semester because the university banned it for safety reasons. Here’s what he told me about the event and its banning:
My name is (name redacted) and I’m a member of Delta Tau Delta Delta Mu at The University of Idaho. Our Chapter has been on campus, in the same house, on top of the same hill since 1931. This is our 85th year on campus, and at the beginning of this fall semester during rush week, our (university) “pulled” our oldest tradition, “The Delt Slip n Slide.”
Not only was the “Slip n Slide” a rush event I (luckily) got to participate in, it was the kickoff to what College seemed to be for every young man transitioning into his next phase of his academic career. I remember the Saturday that campus went “wet” at 2 PM. From the top of our hill, all myself and other brothers could see was freshman to senior girls, bikinis tied tight, from all sorts of houses, flocking to the massive “Slip N Slide.” It didn’t seem real.
Now, it doesn’t seem real that it’s gone.
Every homecoming, I’ve met numerous alumni of our chapter and the question that repeats itself over & over is, “Did you guys do the mud slide this year?” or “Oh man what’d you think of the slide?” I’m talking about guys from PC 64, old balls guys if you will.
I love the experience and greek atmosphere i’ve received from my chapter and the University of Idaho, but please, dear god, greek tradition isn’t harming anyone, and we all know that.
I got some more info from another member of the fraternity.
Really it was the University deeming it unsafe, due to a kid who was rushing. He dislocated his shoulder when he went down. The kid had told us before that he has a history of shoulder problems and injuries. When he dislocated it he said, “it happens all the time.” He proceeded to get it put back in by a nurse at student health, and that was that. (He didn’t get a bid…)
Our house is on our campus’s greek row, but is on private property, not owned by the University and the only incident we’ve had with the slip n slide is the dislocated shoulder last year. Our nationals didn’t even pronounce the slip n slide unsafe. We are in the process of trying to workout a “liability” sheet or some kind of permission slip that people would sign before doing the slide, that’s about as far as we’ve gotten. Fingers crossed!
This has got to be the most tragic and hilarious reason ever for a fraternity tradition to be halted. Love how he included “he didn’t get a bid,” not like anybody would blame them after he ruined their fun, albeit unintentionally. Frequently dislocated shoulder pledge would have had a lot of potential, though. The prank possibilities are endless. Just have him pop that sucker out and scare the fuck out of all the brothers who haven’t met him yet. Side note: could the dislocated shoulder rushee be the green shorts-clad fellow in the picture at the top of this page? The world may never know.
Who is the university to tell a privately-gathered group of American citizens on private property what they can and cannot do? Freedom of organization is a right, but more and more it seems like we as Greeks would be better off if we were not registered as organizations with our respective institutions. There are so many ways that Greek life and universities can work together in harmony, but time and time again universities drop the ball on what should be a symbiotic relationship.
Get it together, Greek life coordinators. We can’t just sit back and let all this tradition ending slide. Pun intended..
Images via University of Idaho Delta Tau Delta