There’s a very curious sense in which the early days of Beta’s
Carleton colony read like a replay of the early days at Toronto more than 80 years earlier.
The parallels are so striking that it almost looks like deliberate imitation.
The story started with one young man, Bradley Arthur Wilson Wylie, who arrived at Carleton University, full of eagerness to make the fraternal experience part of his university life.
Unfortunately, it was easier said than done. Carleton, like many Canadian schools, made no particular concession to fraternities,
didn’t like them, refused to recognize them and felt life would be much easier if the Greek-letter societies would just go away altogether.
As a result, Brad Wylie found no suitable Greek organization waiting for him to join.
There was a chapter of Acacia fraternity on campus, and Wylie attended several of its recruitment functions with some friends.
His reaction to the Acacians was somewhat neutral. At this point he paid a weekend visit to his older brother at the University of Western Ontario’s Sigma Chi chapter.
Another brother of Sigma Chi got into a discussion with him during one of their recruitment events.
Wylie explained the whole situation, and the Sigma Chi brother said to him: “Brad, are you prepared to spend the rest of your life as an Acacian?”
As soon as the question was asked, Brad knew that the answer was “No.” The Sigma Chi brother then asked another question:
“Why don’t you start your own fraternity at Carleton, then?”
History Repeats Itself And that second question contained, in effect, its own answer.
In exactly the same way as Billy Moore had done in Toronto more than eight decades earlier, Brad Wylie set about expressing his dissatisfaction with the fraternal life being offered in a practical way:
if you can’t find the right fraternity, invent it! Before long, Wylie was joined by other men at Carleton who felt as he did,
History Repeats Itself and the nucleus of a new fraternity began to grow.
An executive was elected, a constitution and statement of principles drawn up, duties agreed upon and fleshed out in detail.
Soon the men of this fledgling band began to seek international affiliation. In this too they emulated their early forebears in Toronto.
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