By Jeff Gray
Occasionally friends will ask why I spend so much time fighting for the right of current and future DKEs to live as brothers as I did when I was at college. They think it’s because I am nostalgic for those college days, but the truth is that the most important experience I had with my brothers occurred long after I left Wesleyan.
About 10 years ago, I almost lost my wife JoAnne to a freak fire in our home and what stirs my emotions so mightily is what I experienced after this accident. She was in Mass General for just about a year, a medically induced coma for 3 months of that time, and there was not ONE DAY that I did not receive phone calls or emails from one of my Brothers. And I am not talking about cursory, obligatory calls from people who heard bad news. I am talking about dozens of guys who cared and wanted to help.
That all started at a House on High Street – the care and concern came from a group of friends I had known for 30 years at that time. But yet we have these haters who talk about “bastions of privilege” and the network that allows us to have special affiliations. Well, they got that part right – these are special affiliations, based on character, from a group of guys who supported my sons and me during a pretty tough time. Talk about an endless “network” of DKE brothers who came to see my wife in the hospital and did everything they could to provide my family with emotional support and comfort.
Read the comments on the petition from one young Jeff and Jake Gray. Why do you think a 29-year-old who never even attended Wesleyan says, “DKE was the best thing that happened to my family”? Maybe because he saw how much this same group of guys I am talking about helped his family? And maybe because he has seen how these guys help so many other people as well.
The same bonds are being forged among the current group of undergraduates as they are under siege at Wesleyan. We’ve seen them display the same fortitude as the character that binds the old guys. It starts at 276 High Street, where lessons are learned and young men form the bonds of brotherhood that last a lifetime. We are a group of characters for sure, but what defines us is our character and it is the type of human substance that quite frankly, a guy like Michael Roth cannot even begin to understand. And because he cannot understand it, he fears it.