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Dr. Walter Kimbrough speaks at Lehigh

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Excerpt:

As part of Lehigh’s celebration of Black History Month, Kimbrough delivered a speech titled “Dilemma: The History of Fraternalism in America.”

Kimbrough is the president of Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Ark., as well as an active member of the Association of Fraternity Advisors.

He addressed past and recent developments in fraternal culture in the United States.

“Fraternities were created to fill an emotional and social vacancy on college campuses,” Kimbrough said.

The original focus of fraternal organizations was on five main concepts.

“The founders of all the organizations that existed early on created ‘the blueprint,'” Kimbrough said.

He described the blueprint as the “five basic ritualistic precepts of Greek life,” character, scholarship, fellowship, service and religion.

He then addressed the relatively recent digression of “the blueprint,” or what he calls “the blueprint two.”

“After 1930, we created the blueprint two; we have a lot of good things going on, but we have this curse to deal with as well, and that curse is hazing,” Kimbrough said.

Due to hazing he said, a new version of the original blueprint has developed, he said.

“Furthermore, hazing is one of the main reasons the values of fraternities are incongruent with their actions,” Kimbrough said.

“Our rhetoric still does not match our reality. We say one thing and do something else,” he continued.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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