Dancing at Phi Alpha Kappa in 1936

“When a Grand Rapids Press article reported on a fraternity house homecoming dance at the University of Michigan, it named six of the church’s young people as participants. The consistory immediately dispatched two elders to Ann Arbor to investigate this public blot on the congregration’s [Neland Avenue Christian Reformed Church] reputation. Their report the next week at two special consistory meetings, held four days apart, yielded absolutions for four of the young people, confessions of wrong-doing by two others, and a warning against worldliness to the congregation. The episode kindled [Rev. H. J.] Kuiper’s and Neland’s interest in matters at the state’s premier university sufficiently that the consistory submitted an overture to the next classes meeting asking the classes to request the Phi Alpha Kappa fraternity not to schedule dances and to cease the practice of hazing, since so many Christian Reformed young men were members, and since these practices militated against the values of the Ann Arbor Chapel.” – James A. DeJong, Henry J. Kuiper, Shaping the Christian Reformed Church, 1907-1962, p. 73-74.
This is the first time I’ve come across a reference in a book to my college fraternity, Phi Alpha Kappa. In 1936 the fraternity would have been only 7 years into its existence, as I recall it began in 1929, taking its name after the first letters of “Fellowship of Alumni of Calvin [College]” where many of the members had previously studied. By the time I lived in the house [2002-2004] there was no concern at the Christian fraternity about the worldliness of dancing. We managed, to my knowledge, not to have alcohol, but only a keg of root beer. One party brought in about 500 people, if I remember correctly. And while the parties themselves remained well-regulated, in a fit of youthful exuberance I joined (or instigated) a few of my brothers in soaping ourselves up and sliding for distance across the great room floor on our chests during late-night mopping of the dance floor. It is a good thing that didn’t make the Grand Rapids Press.