Emperors, Kingdoms, 21st Century Leadership

As sure as God made green apples, Emperors who have no clothes pretty soon will have no Kingdom at all.

Daryl Egbert, Emperor of Beta Iota Sigma Chi for 35 years, should take notice. In those 35 years his Kingdom – Fraternities at Oregon University – have shrunk from 26 Chapters to eight. Three reside in rented properties, two are on probation and all of them are routinely dirty, rowdy, financially wobbling and without appropriate Alumni involvement. Unquestionably Sigma Chi has the worst facility, perfectly described by the late, great Brother Robert Oscar Warr:  “An old folks home for the dreadfully poor“.

In the same 35 years Oregon Sororities have continued to prosper. Then as now there are 12 of them – every single one full, immaculate and with eye-popping balance sheets. Then as now every single one has a carefully selected, well paid House Mom, closely supervised by a collection of Alumni officers, each of whom has a “counter-part” drawn from the undergraduate leadership. Sorority Boards meet quarterly to wrestle over tasks, time-lines, budgets and priorities. They use modern electronic metrics and stay in constant touch with both Alumni and the undergraduates. They track performance and believe deeply in accountability and transparency. Result? Houses that glisten and glow; an environment where dignity, pride and profit are on high display.

Is it any wonder there is such a sharp contrast between the men and women? When you think of “Animal House” what comes to mind?

Let’s ‘drill down” and compare the leadership practices of the women to that of Sigma Chi’s Daryl Egbert.

While Beta Iota bi- laws call for regular election of Officers and Committee Members, regular Board Meetings, regular audits and books and records available for inspection and review by the Alumni, none – not one! – of these have been in practice – for more than three decades!

This is Egbert’s fiefdom. Most of the kids think he’s the sole owner of the House — in fact it’s owned equally by all those who were awarded their White Cross in the Beta Iota Chapter Room. Each one has a vote. But does any Beta Iota Sigma Chi reading this even remember an election? audit? change of officers?

What’s so utterly strange and unacceptable about all of this it’s as if we did NOT live in the Age of Collaboration; as if there was no such thing as the “sharing-economy” “crowd-funding”  “The Cloud” “Smart Phones” “Virtual (profit making) seminars” . “Skype“. PLEASE SEE  Optimizing and monetizing EVERYTHING.

Egbert’s as out-of-tune with 21st Century leadership practices as were the buggy-whip makers when they were trying to survive decades after the “miracle” of Henry Ford.

The bad news is that if Egbert decides that there should be no “Hall of Fame” — for outstanding Sigs like Bill Dillenger, Jerry Tarr, Dyrol Burlerson, Bob Warr – then there will be no such “Hall”. Or if the 53 year old shack at 1440 East 19th falls down and there is no money for a replacement, so what? {More on this here.} Or if putting kids ages 10-16 in the House in the summer, at big profits to the House, if this is not to Egbert’s liking, then THAT IS HOW IT WILL BE!

There is no good news.

The Emperor is in charge.

If the House and the whole damn Kingdom disappears, who cares?

As if all of this was encased in steel, inside rock-hard cement, therefore impossible to change. HA! It’s not.  Tug on the first thread and all the clothes come off. Call me 541 343 9389 or write  —  skipper AT bfranklin DOT edu

Men of Sigma Chi — some of us may be old —

But we are not dead yet!


About oregonhibbs

I'm passionate about improving access to education, worldwide, sailing, Duck football (I live in the shadow of the University of Oregon in Eugene) and connecting with people with ideas and work that "can change the world". With this in mind, I am the "Skipper" for Global Learn Day, which you can find out more about at bfranklin.edu.

Posted on June 26, 2014, in Flipped Fraternities & Restoration. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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