From the Desk of Venerable Grand Prytanis Christopher T. Hanson
Today, I write to you at a pivotal point in Tau Kappa Epsilon’s history. The Grand Council and I believe in the importance of living our values. Our Founders set out to build a Fraternity that “should be a brotherhood in conduct as well as in name” and that “we should evidence our devotion to the principles we have solemnly obligated ourselves to observe.”
In recent years, men from various chapters and colonies have struggled to live by our Declaration of Principles. Their ill-fated decisions and willingness to subvert the rules, laws or policies have forced colleges, universities and TKE to close numerous groups. The climate on today’s college campuses isn’t the same as it was just a few short years ago. The tolerance for poor decisions is non-existent. Rather than educational sanctions, many campuses are moving straight to three+ year closures.
The impact of alcohol use by our chapters and the Greek world is tangible, predictable, and trending. Tau Kappa Epsilon has closed nearly 50 chapters and colonies since 2014. In several cases, alcohol abuse, specifically hard alcohol, was a factor contributing to the closures of our groups.
Though many may view this as a “sky is falling” moment, let me assure you it is not. It is evidence of our dedication to living our values, returning to our founding principles, and expecting more from ourselves.
The financial impact of these closures places additional burden on the Offices of the Grand Chapter to be even stronger stewards of our members’ dues. The Professional Staff have instituted staffing decisions, budgetary decisions, and strategic adjustments to ensure our members continue to receive the highest quality of service they can provide. Due to closures and an enhanced focus on risk management from the Professional Staff, our Risk Management Fee was raised $10 per person for the 2018–2019 fiscal year.
After careful deliberation, the Grand Council has approved an updated policy to reinforce our conduct and evidence our devotion to our principles of love, charity and esteem. We are leaders. We must step up to ensure the health and safety of our members and our guests.
Today, the Grand Council and I are announcing a new policy that bans hard alcohol over 15% alcohol by volume (ABV or 30-proof) from all chapter properties beginning January 1, 2019.
The Risk Committee of the Grand Council has been studying these issues burdening our organization for more than a year. We have consulted with our insurance provider, James R. Favor & Co. We have surveyed our membership on the policies already in place on their campuses. We have held focus groups of collegiate members and volunteers to understand the effects of policy changes and how they would impact our chapters.
We, on the Grand Council, are confident this is the best decision for the future of Tau Kappa Epsilon. We make this decision for the benefit of all members of Tau Kappa Epsilon, not for every other fraternity. We make this decision to strengthen and protect Tau Kappa Epsilon for the multitude of generations that follow us.
With this ban on hard alcohol, we hope that our collegiate men will respond like true Tekes, showing the world that we can be responsible members of our campus communities and hold ourselves accountable for these new policy requirements.
Tau Kappa Epsilon will be stronger because of this decision and those that will be made in the coming years. For nearly 120 years, Tau Kappa Epsilon has been building Better Men for a Better World.
In order to continue to achieve that, we need your help to build a championship culture. We need more volunteers to engage, teach, mentor, and be involved. We need more men to become Life Loyal Tekes and donate to the TKE Educational Foundation so we can provide more opportunities to educate our collegiate members.
Strict adherence to these policies will help make our Fraternity and our members safer, stronger, and better prepared to live our values on a daily basis.
This is a turning point in our Fraternity. I look forward to the day when we can look back on this as the day when Tau Kappa Epsilon took a stand with reaffirmed commitments to our values and the lifelong development of our members.
Fraters, I love the Fraternity.
Yours in the Bond,
Christopher T. Hanson
Alpha-Pi, George Washington
The Grand Council of Tau Kappa Epsilon has released our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan. Looking for a way to contribute to the future of TKE? Make a gift to Life Loyal Teke today.