Beta Upsilon Chi

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Beta Upsilon Chi
ΒΥΧ
Official BYX Crest (2011).jpg
Founded Spring 1985
University of Texas
Type Social
Emphasis Christian
Scope National
Motto Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! --Psalm 133:1
Colors Purple and White
Chapters 36
Purpose To establish brotherhood and unity among college men based on the common bond of Jesus Christ.
Headquarters Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Homepage http://www.betaupsilonchi.org

Beta Upsilon Chi,or ΒΥΧ (pronounced "Bucks"), is the largest Christian social fraternity in the United States.[1] Since its founding at the University of Texas in 1985, ΒΥΧ has spread to thirty-six campuses in fourteen states.[2] According to the fraternity’s official website, Beta Upsilon Chi “exists for the purpose of establishing brotherhood and unity among college men based on the common bond of Jesus Christ.” The founding verse of BYX is, "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity." - Psalm 133:1.[3] BYX seeks to set itself apart from other fraternities in its incorporation of cell groups where, separate from weekly fraternity meetings, small groups of men gather weekly to edify college men through Bible study, worship, accountability, prayer, and fellowship to promote brotherhood among its members.[4]

History[edit]

Founding fathers[edit]

ΒΥΧ was founded at the University of Texas at Austin in 1985 by the national founding fathers, and began with the vision of Craig Albert, the first president. This group of men saw the lasting bonds of deep friendship that Greek life fostered and felt that such an order, dedicated to Christ and the edification of one another, could lead to a powerful social witness on their campus.

Thus, as an alternative to what was seen as the "normal" fraternity scene, the founding fathers of Beta Upsilon Chi established their fraternity as Brothers Under Christ, and took the Greek letters Beta, Upsilon, and Chi to identify themselves. They chose to make public their true name, Brothers Under Christ, so that they might always wear the name of Christ and demonstrate that one could remain true to one's faith and yet enjoy life in fellowship with others.[3] To announce the founding of their Fraternity, the founding fathers organized the first Island Party on the campus of the University of Texas. Chapters around the country now hold their own Island Party annually as an evangelical outreach to the chapters' respective campuses and communities.[2]

Going national[edit]

The process of growing from one chapter in Austin, Texas to a national organization across the country was slow at first. Initially, the alpha chapter rejected requests from Christian men at other schools to be initiated into the fraternity or to start new chapters. Eventually, the leadership in Austin decided that Beta Upsilon Chi's success should be shared with other campuses, and the founding fathers of Beta Chapter were initiated at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. The fraternity then quickly expanded its presence across Texas starting the Gamma and Delta chapters at Texas A&M University and Stephen F. Austin State University.[2]

Today, the national fraternity is headquartered in Fort Worth, and an expansion program oversees the establishment of new chapters.[5]

Inspiration for new fraternities[edit]

The influence of Beta Upsilon Chi, Brothers Under Christ, on the Christian fraternity movement has been significant. What has been characterized as the Texas movement was associated with the rise of the Evangelical Christian movement and the founding of Beta Upsilon Chi in 1985.

In 1988, only three years after BYX's founding, women from Texas established Sigma Phi Lambda, or Sisters for the Lord.[6] Sigma Phi Lambda was influenced by BYX in their development, with Phi Lamb's establishment designed to be a "female version of BYX."[7] Their official name, Sisters for the Lord, and their system of "cable groups" closely mirrors BYX.[6]

Continuing growth[edit]

BYX brothers are active in the life of the universities they call home. Here, Vanderbilt Nu alum Todd Dahmann is crowned Homecoming King in 2003.

With thirty-six chapters across the country, BYX is the largest Christian social fraternity in the United States.[2] BYX chapters continue to do well despite declines in other areas of Greek life.

Controversies[edit]

University of Georgia[edit]

In late 2006, the Pi Chapter of Beta Upsilon Chi at the University of Georgia was prevented from registering as a student organization by university officials "because the group requires its members and officers to share the group's Christian beliefs".[8]

After months of negotiation between university officials, student officers of the local chapter, and officials at the fraternity's national headquarters in Texas, attorneys with the Christian Legal Society and Alliance Defense Fund filed a civil rights suit on December 5, 2006 in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia against the University on behalf of the fraternity.[9]

Five days later, on December 10, published reports by the Associated Press indicated that the university (would) "remove the religion clause from the (university's anti-discrimination) policy for the Christian fraternity to settle this particular situation and is discussing an exception to religious discrimination (that) could be put into place much like an exception to gender discrimination is in place for same-sex social fraternities and sororities."[10]

University of Missouri[edit]

Ten students formed a chapter at the University of Missouri, Columbia, in April 2006. In December of that year a university administrator notified them that the chapter would have to abide by campus prohibitions on discrimination based on "race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability" or status as a Vietnam War veteran. The students objected, with assistance from the Christian Legal Society, which sent university officials a letter listing several legal precedents protecting religious student groups' First Amendment rights of free association. In response, the university quickly reversed the directive.[11]

University of Florida[edit]

On March 16, 2007, the Upsilon Chapter at the University of Florida was officially recognized by the BYX national board.[12] The University of Florida however, refused to recognize BYX.[13] The university had refused to recognize the chapter as a "Registered Student Organization" because the fraternity did not accept homosexuals, and would not recognize the chapter as a "Social Fraternity" because the fraternity wouldn't accept gay Christians.[14] On July 10, 2007, the Alliance Defense Fund Center for Academic Freedom and the Christian Legal Society filed suit on behalf of BYX against various officials from the University of Florida for various constitutional violations.[15] During the course of the legal proceedings, the 11th Circuit Court ruled that the university must recognize the chapter pending appeal. Ultimately, the case was dismissed as moot when the university amended its policies to accommodate the chapter.[16][17]

Vanderbilt University[edit]

On February 10, 2010 Vanderbilt school officials began an investigation into the pledgeship activities of the Nu chapter of BYX after allegations of hazing surfaced.[18] The investigation concluded 18 days later with the chapter being allowed to resume all activities as usual. No repercussions or disciplinary actions were announced.[19]

On November 4, 2010, two anonymous former members of the Vanderbilt chapter, an alumnus and a senior student, alleged they were evicted from the fraternity for being gay.[20][21][22][23] If the allegations that individuals were expelled from BYX because of their homosexual orientation were true, then it would be possible that BYX could be found to have violated Vanderbilt policies against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.[24] According to the initial report in Vanderbilt's student newspaper, the Hustler (which first published the anonymous allegations), the BYX code of conduct prohibits homosexual activity by its members (along with fornication by heterosexual members).[20]

Despite the numerous reports in the student newspaper, the University's Dean of Students was unwilling to take action against the fraternity based upon unsubstantiated media accounts.[24] According to published reports, the Dean of Students initiated a review of BYX's policies after an anonymous complaint was lodged against the fraternity in late November 2010.[24][25] It was unclear what the goal of the policy review would be, since BYX's code of conduct is based upon the fraternity's bona fide religious beliefs regarding sexual chastity by all members, regardless of orientation (an issue which was already decided in the case of BYX by the Eleventh Circuit Court after the fraternity's litigation against the University of Florida).[20] As of March 14, 2011, BYX remains an active, registered student organization at Vanderbilt and numerous other Universities.[26]

Organization[edit]

Board of Directors[edit]

At the national level, ΒΥΧ is headed by a Board of Directors. This board is the ultimate authority in the Fraternity and is responsible for the guidance of the fraternity.

The Board also comprises the governing body of the Beta Upsilon Chi corporation, a 501(c)(3) organization, which controls the assets of the fraternity. They appoint the National Executive Director to run the fraternity's daily business. In conjunction with this Executive Director, they approve any charter changes.

All board of directors members must be alumni of the fraternity, and new board members are appointed from the Board of Advisors. The current members [3] of the National Board of Directors are:

Board of Advisors[edit]

The Board of Directors is assisted in its governance of the Fraternity by a Board of Advisors. This board serves as a consultative partner of the Board of Directors, with voice but not vote in the Directors' decisions.

Board of advisors members are appointed by the Board of Directors, in consultation with the national executive director. All board of advisors members must be alumni of the fraternity, and only alumni of chartered chapters may be appointed to the board. The current members[27] of the National Board of Advisors are:

Executive Director[edit]

The BYX Executive Director is the fraternity's national administrator. Through his staff, he coordinates the activities of the fraternity from its headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. The Executive Director's staff is equally responsible for the day-to-day operation of the national fraternity, and staff from National Headquarters frequently visit the chapters. The National Executive Director is an ex officio member of the Board of Directors; he has a voice in decisions, but no vote.

The following men have served as Executive Director of Beta Upsilon Chi:[28]

  • Kyle Hoover, 1999–2001
  • Kevin Peck, 2001–2004
  • Jason "Butt Cheeks" Hoyt, 2004–Present[29]

Chapter governance[edit]

Chapters are authorized by a charter from the National Board of Directors and denominated by a letter of the Greek alphabet that corresponds with their order of admission into the fraternity (for example, the University of Texas is Alpha Chapter).[2]

The charter authorizes each chapter to work under a chapter constitution that provides for the election of chapter officers: typically a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, chaplain, and a pledge trainer, sometimes called a New Member Captain.[30][31][32] These officers are responsible for the administration of the chapter for a calendar year, conducting ritual, overseeing meetings, organizing trips, implementing the pledging program, organizing parties, etc. The officers serve one year terms, and may be re-elected only once to a different office.

National meetings[edit]

Once each year, the chapter officers gather together for a National Leadership Conference, which consists of all the officers of the fraternity and the national staff. This meeting is in the fall, and shortly follows the election of the local chapter leaders.[33]

In the early spring of even-numbered years, the entire fraternity is called together for National Summit, typically held outside of Dallas, Texas. The event is the primary unifying experience of BYX members outside of their common commitment to Christ and their shared experience in ritual and ceremony of the fraternity. Its Bible studies, worship, fellowship, athletic competitions, and seminars on fraternity issues attract the largest gatherings of Brothers Under Christ in any given year. It is also at Summit where the fraternity's annual Delegate Convention takes place.[34]

Affiliating with local universities[edit]

Since its inception in 1985, chapters of Beta Upsilon Chi have chosen not to affiliate with the Interfraternity Council (IFC) at the school where they are established. This has proven controversial on some campuses, because it means that BYX does not pay IFC dues. On the other hand, IFC membership sometimes involves sanctioning rules and regulations which would be contrary to the purpose of BYX. Because of the potential for conflict inherent in such affiliations, the National Board of Directors continues to uphold a policy prohibiting local chapters from affiliating with host university IFCs.[35] As a result, depending on the university, each chapter is either registered as a social fraternity unassociated with the IFC, or as a student organization.

Membership[edit]

Founding fathers from Mississippi State's Omicron Chapter at a BYX tailgate.

There are three kinds of membership in the Fraternity: pledges, active members, and alumni members. Each local chapter is composed of its active members and pledges.

Active members form the backbone of the fraternity, participating in ritual, leading worship, Bible study, and other chapter activities. Active members have voting rights within the chapter and become alumni members upon their graduation. Pledges become members by finishing the pledging process, a process that differs from chapter to chapter, but typically lasts a semester.

Cell groups[edit]

The attribute of BYX chapters that most clearly delineates it from other Christian fraternities—and certainly from non-Christian social fraternities—is that all BYX members are a part of "cell groups."[35] Cell groups were an original innovation of the founding fathers when they established the fraternity at the University of Texas. These weekly meetings bring four to six brothers (and pledges, when there are pledges) together into a group for close fellowship, Christian accountability, and Bible study. Many times, brothers in Beta Upsilon Chi find that those with whom they share their cell group become their closest friends within the chapter and within their college.

The overall strength of the fraternity's national and local unity is firmly rooted in this cell group structure, and their foundational place within Beta Upsilon Chi has led to its continued growth and longevity. Indeed, cell groups are one of the primary means by which the fraternity's Christian character is maintained.[36]

Open Campus Parties[edit]

Most Beta Upsilon Chi chapters host 2-4 parties a semester. Parties are meant to be a way for members to fellowship with other members, as well as witness to those who aren't members of the organization. This is done through a testimony by one of the members of BYX during the event. Official BYX parties are always "all campus, no alcohol."

Formals[edit]

Like other fraternities, BYX usually hosts 1-2 formals a semester for their members. Unlike parties, formals are invitation only, meaning only members and invited dates are open to attend.

Retreats[edit]

BYX chapters hold one weekend retreat a semester. The retreat is held off campus, usually in a rural or remote location, and are meant to be a way for members to fellowship, have quiet time, and pray away from the stresses of college and university life.

Traditions and symbols[edit]

All BYX chapters hold a "Island Party" each spring, celebrating its founding and sharing Christ through entertainment. Here, the Texas State Capitol dome is a backdrop to IP at Texas Alpha.

As with any Greek letter organization, Beta Upsilon Chi is a ritualistic organization whose pledge induction, initiation, and other ceremonies are esoteric and not open to the general public. Instead, these traditions serve to bind the brothers together such that any Brother Under Christ from across the country can feel welcome and among his brothers.

In addition to the usual Greek practices of grips, words, and memory work, Beta Upsilon Chi also utilizes several symbols whose meaning is open to anyone:

  • Purpose. To establish brotherhood and unity among college men based on the common bond of Jesus Christ.
  • Founding Scripture. "Behold how good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity." --Psalm 133:1[3]
  • Signature event. "Island Party" (IP) - a free Christian music concert or event provided to the entire university. The largest of which was held at Baylor University (Iota chapter) on April 20, 2007. The band "Switchfoot" was the headliner and attendance was estimated between 15,000 - 20,000.

Chapters[edit]

Beta Upsilon Chi changed its policy regarding expansion of chapters in February 2009. The Fraternity's Board of Directors, in consultation with the Board of Advisors, continued the implementation of a three-phased expansion progress for prospective chapters to pursue active chapter status, but the national leadership began actively recruiting individuals to establish BYX chapters on those campuses which do not already have them.[37]

Current chapters[edit]

The Fraternity is currently composed of thirty-six active chapters in 15 states.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "In constitutional clash with university, Christian fraternity wins big." STLToday.com. Retrieved on April 6, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Chapters." Brothers Under Christ (website). Retrieved on July 19, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e "About BYX." Brothers Under Christ (website). Retrieved on July 19, 2010.
  4. ^ "[1]."
  5. ^ "Contact." Brothers Under Christ (website). Retrieved on July 19, 2010.
  6. ^ a b "All About Sigma Phi Lambda." Sigma Phi Lambda. Retrieved on [pril 2, 2007.
  7. ^ Peck, Kevin. History of Beta Upsilon Chi, 1985-2000. Fort Worth, Texas: Beta Upsilon Chi Fraternity, 2000.
  8. ^ Staff Writer. "University of Georgia: No religious fraternities." Alliance Defense Fund. December 5, 2006. Retrieved on April 2, 2007.
  9. ^ "Beta Upsilon Chi v. Michael F. Adams." United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. December 5, 2006.
  10. ^ The Associated Press. "Univ. of Ga. to recognize Christian fraternity." First Amendment Center. December 10, 2006. Retrieved on April 4, 2007.
  11. ^ University Drops Effort to Restrict Christian Fraternity, The Associated Press, December 29, 2006 08
  12. ^ University of Florida Chapter. "Upsilon Chapter" Retrieved on November 4, 2007.
  13. ^ The Alligator. "Christian fraternity suing UF, seeking official recognition." Retrieved on June 24, 2008.
  14. ^ Lexapedia. "Beta Upsilon Chi Upsilon Chapter at the University of Florida v. J. Bernard Machen, in his official capacity as President of the University of Florida." Retrieved on November 19, 2010.
  15. ^ Alliance Defense Fund. "Beta Upsilon Chi, Upsilon Chapter at the University of Florida v. Machen, et al.." Alliance Defense Fund." July 10, 2007. Retrieved on November 4, 2007.
  16. ^ [2]
  17. ^ The Alligator. "UF Regulation Handbook." Retrieved on July 31, 2008.
  18. ^ Laura Dolbow, 'BYX fraternity undergoes hazing investigation', in Vanderbilt Hustler, Feb 10, 2010 [3]
  19. ^ Justin Tardiff, BYX hazing investigation concluded', in Vanderbilt Hustler, Feb 28, 2010 [4]
  20. ^ a b c Liz Furlow, 'Former Beta Upsilon Chi members allege unfair treatment based on sexual orientation', in Vanderbilt Hustler, Nov 4, 2010 [5]
  21. ^ 'Vanderbilt Christian fraternity removes gays', in Out & About Newspaper, Nov 9, 2010 [6]
  22. ^ 'Vanderbilt Christian Frat Ousted Gays', in The Advocate, Nov 9, 2010 [7]
  23. ^ Wright, Melissa (10 November 2010). "US fraternity comes under fire for expelling gay members". Pink Paper. 
  24. ^ a b c Liz Furlow, 'Bandas: formal complaint against BYX needed to take action', in Vanderbilt Hustler, Nov 10, 2010 [8]
  25. ^ Liz Furlow, 'Beta Upsilon Chi under formal investigation', in Vanderbilt Hustler, Nov 30, 2010 [9]
  26. ^ Religious organizations
  27. ^ Board of Advisors, Beta Upsilon Chi Fraternity. Retried 11 March 2009.
  28. ^ Hoyt, Jason. "Executive Director's Report." Beta Upsilon Chi National Newsletter. July 2005.
  29. ^ "Executive Director: Jason "Butt Cheeks" Hoyt." Brothers Under Christ (website). Retrieved on April 2, 2007.
  30. ^ "Contact Us." Baylor Chapter (website). Retrieved on April 6, 2007.
  31. ^ "Officers." Texas Christian Chapter (website). Retrieved on April 6, 2007.
  32. ^ "Officers." Texas Chapter (website). Retrieved on April 6, 2007.
  33. ^ "Next Leaders Conference." Brothers Under Christ (website). Retrieved on April 2, 2007.
  34. ^ "National Summit Conference." Brothers Under Christ. Retrieved on April 2, 2007.
  35. ^ a b "General Information." Beta Upsilon Chi. Retrieved on April 2, 2007.
  36. ^ Hoyt, Jason. "Executive Director's Report." Beta Upsilon Chi National Newsletter. July 2005.
  37. ^ "BYX Boards, Staff Meet." Beta Upsilon Chi National Newsletter. Spring 2009. Fort Worth, Texas: Beta Upsilon Chi Fraternity.

External links[edit]