A Trend of Trends

One of the things I ask our Chapter Consultants to do after they visit a chapter is to provide me with an overall assessment of how the chapter is trending... upwards, downwards, or sideways.

 They take many factors into consideration when they make this assessment, so I won’t try to get into that here. Although to a large degree it’s a subjective measurement, it’s still helpful for me to see.

 I like to look at each one, but even more importantly I like to look at the macro level, to see how DKE is doing as a whole. Sort of like looking for a trend of trends.

 So far this academic year it’s looking really good; of the 51 chapters we’ve visited, we see 34 trending upwards, 2 trending downwards, and 15 in a sideways trend.

 It's good to see such a strong trend of chapters trending upwards.

 That’s really what it’s all about for a Deke Chapter, for DKE International - for just about any organization. Always be moving in the right direction, always be improving something. Even strong chapters (organizations) have some room to improve. When’s the last time you heard someone say “Hey, let’s be equally good as last year?” Not too often do you hear that. Most people in an organization - if they believe in the organization - have a strong desire to always be improving in some aspect of their performance.

 Sometimes changes happens “overnight,” other times it takes while. A lot of that depends on how big the change is that’s happening. But as long as you’re moving in the right direction, people are more motivated, they’re having fun, they feel they’re part of a winning team and that there’s a reward for the hard work they’re doing.

 Great job by our Deke Chapters for moving in the right direction.


Doug Lanpher

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“We Believe in Free Speech, but...”

One of our chapters got into hot water recently over a banner they posted which poked fun at football player Colin Kaepernick for his now-famous refusal to stand for the National Anthem. I thought it was a clever banner, on a topic that remains a major news story around the NFL, and really all over the U.S. Does Kaepernick have a right to sit or kneel during the National Anthem? Of course he does. Do we have a right to object to it and express our disagreement with his method of protest? Yes, you say? Well, not so fast, because according to some people, no, we don’t. Our humorous banner was considered offensive and hurtful by some interest groups, and they demanded that we get pre-approval of all banners. So let’s get this straight - most (if not all) members of a Deke chapter were offended by Kaepernick’s free expression of his beliefs (nobody from our chapter says he doesn’t have the right to kneel), but those students should not be allowed to express their opinion in opposition to Kaepernick? The University’s position was that it’s not good enough for us to simply say that we’re protesting his actions; we also have to consider the reason for Kaepernick’s protest (social injustice). So, they say we should not have made him the target of our humor, even satirically, because of the cause for which he was protesting. Our satire of his actions, they say, means we are also dismissing the reasons for his protest. Any critique whatsoever of Kaepernick, you would have to conclude, is therefore off limits. (South Park also had a funny satirical scene on Kaepernick.)

So what happens when one party’s free speech is considered offensive by someone who sees/hears it? This debate is being played out around campuses everywhere, and while there is no easy answer, many feel the scale has tipped too far in the direction of suppressing free speech. Some comedians won’t even perform at colleges any more because too much of their routines are considered offensive by somebody.

Of course DKE is part of a community and we must behave responsibly and in good taste. We are, after all, gentlemen, scholars, and jolly good fellows. But where’s the line? Where’s the boundary between censorship and social commentary?


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