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Choosing the Harder Right Over the Easier Wrong

Ben Doss (Stephen F. Austin State) had a dilemma.

Dylan, his best friend in the chapter, had stopped showing up at chapter meetings, stopped paying his dues, and was struggling managing his money. When Ben challenged his friend, he did so with honest perspective. “You are one of our best guys,” implored Ben. “You are wasting your talent.”

The other brothers in the chapter had given up on Dylan. However, nobody wanted to be the one to send him to the chapter’s Honor Board. The prospect of accusing a friend in front of their peers was a tall order in general, let alone the prospect of accusing a brother they had taken an oath with. Besides, they likely thought, why make a big fuss over some unpaid dues, attendance issues, and other red flags? It was Dylan’s life, let Dylan handle it.

Two other chapter officers also noticed what was happening with Dylan and came to a different conclusion. They knew that if something wasn’t done, it would be set a bad precedent for the chapter and Dylan.

The decision whether to be bring his best friend to the Honor Board weighed heavily on him. As he thought about it, he turned back to the principles of Sigma Nu and his own personal principles. “I’m the type of person that believes that people can change and that there is good in people,” he says. “Everyone deserves a second chance.”

After much soul searching, Ben decided to go before the chapter’s Executive Board. “Something needs to be done about Dylan,” he said. “If we don’t hold him accountable, we are going to lose him as a brother. If we choose to let him do what he wants without repercussions, then he is going to think he can get away with that in other types of situations, like a future job. We can’t let that happen.”

The day before the Honor Board hearing, Ben was talking to Dylan. “He didn’t know I made the complaint to the Honor Board. He just knew he had to go to the Honor Board hearing and wasn’t happy about it.”

When he arrived for the hearing, Dylan saw Ben and shared his disbelief that someone so close to him would do this. Ben stood his ground and reiterated why he was bringing Dylan before the Honor Board.

“What do you mean? We may be best friends, but I am real with people,” Ben explained. “If I have to use tough love on you, I will. This isn’t just the right thing to do, this is what’s best for you.”

Since that Honor Board meeting, Ben has seen a difference in Dylan. “He’s made a big turn-around. He has been attending chapter on a regular basis, agreed to a payment plan with the Treasurer, and has become a more engaged member of the chapter.”

The chapter has more confidence in the Honor Board process and is more comfortable in holding brothers accountable as well. “Now that it has been used correctly, we’ve seen how it should play out and know how it should run,” says Ben. “We know that it works.”

Reflecting on the whole ordeal, Ben believes that the chapter just needed to see someone to take action and show them that being a good Sigma Nu brother means holding each other to the highest of standards.

“We are trying to change the culture of the chapter. You need to be willing to be called out when you aren’t living up to the values of Sigma Nu.”

Hi Rickety to that, Brother Doss.

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9 North Lewis Street, P.O. Box 1869, Lexington, Virginia 24450
Phone: (540) 463-1869 | Fax: (540) 463-1669 | Email: headquarters@sigmanu.org

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