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Policy ‘misunderstanding’ causes confusion for Phi Delta Theta

A “misunderstanding” about homecoming t-shirts led to a bit of tension between Phi Delta Theta and Missouri Western Student Affairs. The fraternity made the decision this fall to open their homecoming t-shirt design for campus-wide purchase, a move that Student Affairs said is against general RSO polices, as well as the spirit of homecoming itself.
“There was a misunderstanding as to if Recognized Student Organizations should sell homecoming t-shirts,” said Shana Meyer, vice president for student affairs. “In the past there has not been an official policy against the selling of shirts, but an agreed-upon process that student organizations support the official university shirt, designed and sold by the homecoming committee.”
The fraternity has often created their own homecoming-themed t-shirts, with imagery that often showcases the Phi Delta Theta name or other logos. The shirts were typically open to Phi Delta Theta members only.
This year, President of Phi Delta Theta Connor Samenus says the fraternity wanted to encourage students to show school spirit in a new way.
“The intent of selling a shirt was to build spirit for the homecoming football game against Pitt State,” Samenus said. “Along the way, we found out that others liked the shirt and were interested in purchasing it, so we opened it up to our friends and family.”
But the move prompted an unexpected reaction from Student Affairs, which said that the Student Government Association homecoming committee should be the sole homecoming-shirt seller.
“It is difficult for the ‘official’ shirt to compete against other designs that do not have to adhere to the same standards a university shirt must abide by,” Meyer said. “The homecoming committee did not want to lose funds on the shirt they sponsored.
“By allowing only one official t-shirt, the [homecoming] committee could recoup their funds and the student body and fans could stand united with one shirt design, creating a common look in the stands.”
Although rumors spread that the fraternity staunchly opposed the t-shirt rejection, Samenus says that Phi Delta Theta was supportive and understanding of the process.
After meeting with Meyer to discuss RSO policies, the fraternity closed the sale of t-shirts to non-members.
Samenus agrees with Meyers that the situation was not a Greek versus Student Affairs confrontation.
“In the past there has not been an official policy against the selling of shirts, instead there was an unspoken rule that student organizations would support the official university shirt that is designed and sold by the homecoming committee,” Samenus said. “Unfortunately, Phi Delta Theta was not aware of this unspoken rule, so there was a misunderstanding.”
Meyers says shirts from the homecoming committee are still available for purchase in the SGA office, located on the 2nd floor of Blum Union.

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