It was the end of the semester and we were all seated for what was always one of the longest and most painful chapter meetings of the year: Exec board elections. Those seeking office would give their speeches, the chapter would debate the pros and cons of each candidate, we would vote, then the winners would be announced. In all, at least on the surface, it was fairly cut and dry.
Nonetheless, shit always had a way of getting out of hand. For one thing, there was always the risk that a particular election would be more of a popularity contest than an election of the most qualified candidate. There were also the races that were legitimately heated between two guys who both had the right stuff for the job and wound up leading to lengthy debates among the house. But then there were always the oddball candidates — those guys who were clearly unqualified, at least in terms of legitimacy, that ended up giving more traditional candidates a run for their money. That’s what Dalton was.
We’d been through the debates and voting for the President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. We only had one exec position left. Risk Manager. There were two candidates seeking the job. The first was Rob. Rob was a clean cut dude who seemed like the obvious choice. He’d been the head of a few different committees, had a decent GPA, was considered an upstanding member of the chapter, and was seen by most as a levelheaded and responsible guy. Dalton, on the other hand, was none of those things.
Although he was a junior, everyone knew Dalton still had a few years of school left ahead of him. The running estimate was three, based on his past academic performance. He was habitually drunk, had a reputation of starting fights, and had been involved in nearly every hazing incident that had put the chapter on nationals’ map. In other words, he was probably the biggest creator of risk in the house. When he announced he was planning on running, everyone thought it was a joke. We soon found out, however, that despite how hilarious it was, it was no joke.
Rob gave his speech first. As one would expect, it was well written, and he presented it well. He talked about his qualifications, his past leadership experiences, what he would bring to the chapter as the Risk Manager, and what he planned to do if elected. He talked about working with the local law enforcement agencies to establish a good relationship, ensuring the house was secure to prevent break-ins, and establishing better practices for running the door at parties. Pretty good stuff, when you think about it. He left the room and Dalton, clearly intoxicated, entered. It was his turn.
Dalton pulled a beer out of his blazer, cracked it, took a sip, and scanned the crowd. “If elected,” he said, “we’re gonna find the motherfuckers who stole that composite from ’84.” Everyone waited for a second to see what else he would say. There was a good ten-second pause before Dalton slurred, “And we’re not gonna let any stuntcock GDIs into our parties.” Again, he paused, waited for the laughter to die down, and then continued.
“I’m gonna make sure every single risk you can think of is managed. We’re not gonna get in trouble for hazing, we’re not gonna get parties shut down at 10:30, we’re not gonna have fucking losers hanging out in front of the house trying to get in to parties. No more of this ‘who do you know here’ bullshit. I don’t give a shit who they know. If I don’t know ’em, they’re not getting in. As for other risks like…fires. I’ll get a bunch of fire extinguishers for the house. That way we’ll have all our bases covered. Now, I don’t know if this is technically one of the Risk Manager’s jobs, but I’ll do it anyway. I’m gonna work with the Pledgemaster to make sure we have more sober drivers every night of the week. That way, we cut the risk of someone having to drive drunk or some shit WAY down. Anyway, that’s what I’m gonna do. Fuck Rob. Vote for me. Thank you.”
Everyone in the room was awestruck. It took them a few seconds to process what had just happened before their eyes. The room broke out into a round of applause and cheers. Dalton exited the room and then the process of discussing pros and cons began.
The current President stood up. “Alright, guys,” he said, “settle down so we can get this shit over with.” The room quieted down a bit, but the laughter and jokes about what happened didn’t fully cease. “Sean,” the President said to our Secretary, “keep track of all the pros and cons for each guy.” He then proceeded to take pros and cons for Rob. The pros were all something to the effect of “he’s got a 3.7 in a tough major” and “he did a great job as a philanthropy chair.” The cons, however, were somewhat less civilized.
“The dude’s a boner!”
“Rob fucking sucks.”
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure Rob skipped out on St. Patrick’s Day to do community service or some shit like that.”
You get the picture. When the discussion of Rob was done, we moved on to Dalton. Here’s where shit got interesting. The chapter was essentially broken into two groups at this point: those who gave a shit about who the Risk Manager was, and those who didn’t. The pros and cons were flying out from almost every member of the chapter.
Pro: “He’s not gonna let any random dudes into parties.”
Con: “There’s security camera footage from that fight with the Nu guys last year of him wielding a baseball bat in one hand and a steak knife in the other.”
Pro: “There’s security camera footage from that fight with the Nu guys last year of him wielding a baseball bat in one hand and a steak knife in the other. He clearly cares about the safety of this house, guys.”
Con: “I think he might’ve tried to scalp a guy during that fight. I’m pretty sure there’s footage of that, too.”
Pro: “Yeah, to reiterate what was just said, he tried to fucking scalp a dude. That’s risk management if I’ve ever seen it.”
Con: “He’s personally responsible for most of the incidents this chapter has had involving the police.”
Pro: “Like what Graham just said, he’s got more experience talking to the cops than anyone else in the chapter.”
Con: “He’s banned from seven different sororities’ social events.”
Objection: “He’s not running for Social Chair, Paul. We’re talking about Risk Manager, dumbass.”
This went on for maybe twenty minutes before the President put a stop to it. “Alright, I think we’ve heard enough. Let’s just fucking vote already and get this over with,” he said with that hint of despair in his voice that all chapter presidents have when they see their house on the verge of crumbling in front of their very eyes. “All in favor of Rob, say ‘aye,’ and raise your hand,” said the secretary. “All in favor of Dalton?”
The votes were counted. All of us seated in the “audience,” so to speak, had our heads down, but we could sense the suspense in the air. The hushed whispers from the exec board members sound worried. We could tell it was close.
“Rob wins by two votes,” the President declared. “Fuck, that was too damn close.” And with that, the exec board elections ended for that year. Dalton was not victorious. I can’t even attempt to tell you what would’ve happened had he won, but I imagine it would’ve involved fire, grain alcohol, strippers, and the prompt removal of our chapter from campus.
Dalton did not hang his head in defeat, though. He held it high, learned from the campaign, and took the lessons he learned and the valuable knowledge he gained and put them to good use. He was just recently elected to a local government position in his hometown, and I’m sure I speak for everyone in our chapter when I say that we all expect nothing but great things from him in his new capacity..