Monday, August 07, 2006

Fraternities battle 'pinheads' on eBay

The Order of the Golden Heart medal currently on eBay (until Aug. 9 anyway) has generated more stir than any other article in quite a while. There are several comments, and the "back-channel" email has been flying thick and fast. A little research showed that this is an issue for all fraternities and sororities. The responses vary from not much to an all-out canmpaign to keep the symbols out of the hands of collectors.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon has a licensing firm. Kappa Kappa Gamma alumnae organized Keepers of the Key. Delta Psi formed a memorabilia committee. Psi Upsilon members are simply on the lookout--for collectors who are buying and selling their initiation pins on the Internet.

College fraternities and sororities are waging a war against "pin heads"—-collectors who shop for Greek membership badges on eBay.

Fraternity brothers and sisters believe that these pins are their property, and that they have a legal right to them. They are doing everything they can to keep these insignias within the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood and out of the hands of outsiders. While collecting isn’t new, eBay has made it easier to acquire pins and harder for fraternities to control who is buying them.

“I’ve had fellows threaten to come to my house to repossess a badge from a long dead member,” said Randall D. Craig, a fraternity pin collector from Georgetown, Texas. “I guess they think that I might pin one of these on and pose as a fraternity brother on a local campus.”
Fraternities battle 'pinheads' on eBay — JSCMS

Kappa Kappa Gamma has a page on their website about keeping the ΚΚΓ pin safe from those who are not worthy.
Sometimes members or their families do not realize that the key-shaped pin is an emblem of membership and that provisions for a badge should be made so that it does not fall into the possession of a nonmember.

You can download a short form to fill out and place with your badge or other personal papers so that your family is aware of your intentions for the disposal of your badge. To ensure that intentions are enforceable, however, please consult with a lawyer.

KKG | How to Protect Your Kappa Badge

Interesting points of view. There are a number of ways to look at it. Obviously this "tempest in a teakettle" is not like solving world hunger or the mess in the Mid-East, but it does give us a reason to think about what the Fraternity and its symbols mean to us in the context of real life.

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