DU is still one of a very few fraternities to offer an educational summer program like the Leadership Conference every year. And DU doesn't settle for just a summer conference on leadership. We were one of the first fraternities to hold Regional Leadership Seminars (RLS) across the continent each winter, too. These RLS meetings bring men together from the chapters in their region for a weekend of educational programs, seminars and fraternal fellowship.
The Delta Upsilon Educational Foundation was formed in 1949 to raise money for education and assistance of DUs. You can read more about it in the chapter on DU finances.
The chapter roll grew rapidly after the war. San Jose, Kent State, Louisville, Michigan State, Texas, Bowling Green, Denison, Bucknell, Bradley, Colorado and North Carolina were added within five years. This geographic diversity continued through 1960 with these new chapters: Ohio, Western Michigan, Kansas State, Georgia Tech, Florida, Pacific, Ripon, Wichita and Arizona.
Chapters had a better way to plan their activities through the Superior Chapter Program, instituted in 1960. It has been superseded by the Seven Stars System, but the basic concept of careful planning and evaluation on objective criteria continues to serve DU Chapters well. After all, it's the plan followed by most successful businesses.
Challenges of the 1960s and 1970s
In the early 1960s, DU continued to grow. Oklahoma State, Clarkson, Auburn, North Dakota and Northern Illinois were founded and thrived. In the latter part of the decade, DU committed itself to even more growth and 14 colonies were underway in 1967.
But the late 60s also meant social upheaval, and fraternities were among the institutions questioned about their relevancy. DU strongly emphasized the personal aspect of fraternity, rather than just its ritual and formalities. This was a strong argument for starting so many new chapters: Fresno State, San Diego and Northern Iowa in 1968; Creighton, Arlington, Tennessee in 1969; Delaware, Central Missouri, Marquette, Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, North Dakota State, Maine and Eastern Kentucky in 1970; and Colorado State Dayton, South Dakota, Southern Illinois and Tyler in 1971.
In 1969, a Fraternity committee determined that DU would save time and money by moving its headquarters from New York City. Indianapolis was chosen as a centrally located site, with attractive tax breaks and low personnel costs. A bequest from a dedicated DU paid for the new headquarters; Brother Lester E. Cox, Pennsylvania 1898, left about $175,000 to DU in his will.
DU was the first fraternity to build headquarters on Founders Road in northwest Indianapolis. Today, seven other men's and women's fraternity headquarters are within a block, and a dozen others within a mile.
DU Always Open to All Men
Another trend occurred in the 1960s in which DU was a natural leader. The civil rights movement in the United States led campuses to analyze whether all their institutions were fairly available to men of all races and religions. When they looked at fraternities, they found many with restrictions in the national bylaws that permitted membership only by white men, or Christian men, or other unjustified criteria. These fraternities were forced to amend their fundamental laws so that they complied with more modern and just policies.
But DU was well ahead of the game. After all, since 1834, we had recognized one and only one distinction: merit. Men of every race, religion, national origin and economic background have become DUs. Never were there artificial barriers in our bylaws. We were the first fraternity to have none of these restrictive membership policies. Not that our Fraternity was perfect; some chapters were less receptive to social changes than is required by our bylaws and founding principles. But compared with other general fraternities, Delta Upsilon has always welcomed more men from more social and economic backgrounds.
So DU was ahead of the times, and still is. What's even better is that since DU is non-secret, no one could doubt our position. Many of the secret fraternities had to be forced to reveal their positions on admitting men of various religions and races. Again, an open, non-secret philosophy paid dividends.
Facing New Challenges
The 1970s also meant difficult times for many fraternity chapters, as alcohol laws changed and it became legal for college men to drink. Many men handled this responsibility maturely. But at some chapters, an "alcohol cult" began to grow. Their use of the Fraternity as a social outlet distorted their understanding of the purpose of Delta Upsilon. Instead of a place to practice leadership and focus on personal development, they thought mostly about parties, entertaining the women on campus and preserving their "social budget." And alcohol took on a powerful distorting effect on rush, as some chapters would get men drunk, then offer them a bid. The result: poor decisions, poor quality pledges and damaged chapters.
Certainly there is a place in your life for recreation, and dances and social functions with women are a part of that. But you'd be a fool to squander your time in college learning only what you could have learned working; that would waste time and money. You'd also be a fool to spend your recreation time only on late night partying, when there are hundreds of opportunities to perfect the social skills which will carry you far in the world beyond college.
You may see chapters on your campus trapped in the misunderstanding of "social fraternity" which cropped up in the 1970s. Our strengths in Delta Upsilon came from building men, not a "party reputation."
DU has not been immune to these forces. Nor has it sat idly by. DU was the first fraternity to call for dry rush on college campuses, even during the days when alcohol was legal for most undergraduates.
DU was also one of the first to emphasize the dangers of hazing within chapters, and to create more positive pledge education programs that don't rely on archaic, misguided attempts at "pledge motivation."
Enforcing high standards has also meant that some DU chapters have become inactive. In some cases, serious problems (such as drug use or alcohol abuse, hazing, disrespect for women, etc.) have meant that a chapter's charter has been suspended or revoked. While never a pleasant action, it's one that Delta Upsilon can and will take to preserve its name and its chapters.
There was further growth in the 1970s and 1980s, after the surge in the early 1970s. Many of the newer chapters are in the South and Southwest: Houston, Arkansas, North Carolina State, Southwest Missouri, Baylor, South Carolina and Virginia Tech. Western Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan Tech and Culver-Stockton have joined the fold, and Oregon was revived. In California, new chapters came to DU at Long Beach, Bakersfield and Santa Barbara. DU also added a chapter at Northern Colorado, and another Canadian Chapter, Guelph.