Comment of the Day: “The Hazing Abuse of Michael Warren”

Reminding us that one or even several incidents can’t give us the full whole measure of an organization, Hartwick College alum Fred Stoss recalls an act of courage and principle by the fraternity that hazed Michael Warren. Let Fred tell the story:

“I cannot defend the actions of what happened to Mr. Warren. I am a member of Alpha Delta Omega Fraternity, having pledged in 1969 and served as its President from 1971 to 1972. During this time our fraternity was a rather diverse community of whites, blacks, browns, Protestants (Hartwick was then a Lutheran College), Catholics, and Jewish. There is, however, a piece of ADO history (taken from the ADO FaceBook site) that deserves mention:

“In 1948 ADO went national, a trend which engulfed all three Hartwick fraternities at about the same time. Being recognized by the national Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity as the Nu Triton chapter enabled the brotherhood, with the help of national funding, to say goodbye to its then current residence on Clinton St, and move into the newly purchased house at 34 West St, near the corner of Cherry Street and West. For four years, the brotherhood adopted national rituals into it’s preexisting local traditions and continued it’s tradition of excellence in athletics, particularly in basketball, where ADO brother and current Hartwick trustee, John Johnstone set new records for the Hartwick Hawks. However, in 1952, one of Johnstone’s teammates, sophomore Ben Clarke, one of the first African-American male students at Hartwick, soon presented the brothers of PSK’s Nu Triton chapter with a challenge. Although Ben “Bacon” Clarke obviously had the right stuff to join the brotherhood, the national policy of PSK, like most national fraternities of the day, forbade the admission of blacks into the chapter. In a controversial, but principled move, the brothers of PSK, pledged Clarke anyway. When the national refused to recognize Clarke as a brother, the brothers abandoned their house at West St and became ADO once again. The time spent as PSK, and the events surrounding the pledging of Ben Clarke have left an indelible imprint on the fraternity, and the principled stand of the brothers of the 1950s is remembered and honored by the brotherhood as one of our proudest moments to this day.”

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