Membership and Pledge Qualifications
A conscious effort is made to find the kind of man who will uphold and continue the ideas and ideals of Nabor House as originally prescribed by the founders. The founders aimed for Nabor House to be different from other social fraternal groups. Thus, the constitution serves as a basis for continuing those differences and upholding the original ideas and ideals. Qualifications for pledging and membership were of paramount importance from the beginning. Burdette Lutz demonstrated that in his long, cautious search for the first members. The qualifications for both pledging and membership evolved and developed somewhat informally at first, but early in the Fraternity's existence, the qualifications became formalized and were spelled out in the constitution.
The first time that membership qualifications were put into print was in the original constitution adopted Dec. 19, 1938. They stated: "Any male student in the College of Agriculture, or in related branches, who is a member of some church, is eligible for membership in this organization, providing he has resided in the house for one semester, and has proved himself of good character and a loyal supporter of the object of the organization; and further providing he receives the unanimous vote of the active members."
A minimum grade requirement for membership, under consideration for some time, was finalized May 29, 1939, when a motion was passed in the house meeting specifying the grade requirement for incoming members. The requirement was to be a 3.5 GPA (on a 5.0 scale) for the first semester of pledging. However, if an individual failed to achieve that grade level, yet had the approval of the actives, he would be given one more semester to meet grade requirements. (UPDATE: Pledges who do not meet a 2.5 GPA (now on a 4.0 scale) in the first semester are required to add an additional 16 hours of study hours per week in addition to normal first-semester study hours.)
Some other refinements were made over the years as experiences indicated changes were needed. The membership requirements now in use are stated in the constitution as follows: "Active membership shall consist of full-time undergraduate students enrolled in a College of Agriculture or in a related curriculum, who are active members of some church (or who are active participants if church membership is being delayed only by a minimum age requirement), have proved themselves of good character, are loyal supporters of the object of the organization, have shown willingness to cooperate and work in all matters concerning the Fraternity, and have gone through a pledge period with at least a 2.5 semester average (based on A equals 4 and as computed officially by the respective college); and further provided they receive the unanimous vote of all members of the respective chapter."
Reasons for Pledge/Membership Qualifications
In forming the pledge and membership qualifications, an overriding concern of the founders was to find compatible men who needed the organization. In addition, the preceding qualifications were established to help facilitate the identification of men who met the desired qualities.
"Must be a full-time male student enrolled in the College of Agriculture or in a related curriculum..." was the first requirement for pledgeship and membership. The house members then would share common interests, actions, and goals and could help each other in their scholastic and career endeavors.
"Must manifest a need for economical living..." was the very reason for the Fraternity's origin and existence. There were and would continue to be capable students with economical needs. And, there were other places for the affluent ones to live.
"Must be an active member of some church..." Trust in each person -- honesty, dependability, truthfulness, sincerity, caring, sharing, high morals -- were imperative for the level of successful living sought by the founders. They wanted the house to start and remain on a strong Christian base. Although not a guarantee of such qualities, active participation in a church was viewed as a strong indication of them. This qualification has created some intense debates, but a good Christian atmosphere in the organization was one of the top priorities set by the founders.
"Must be in the upper one-third of his high school class..." and its companion requirement for membership, "must have a 3.5 semester average (on a 5.0 scale)" were not to discriminate against the less scholastically gifted students, for there are those gifted in other ways. Physical space, however, was limited. So, it was deemed appropriate to give priority to those who seemed more able to serve agriculture. High grades were desired, but not an only, goal. Under the prevailing conditions of those times, it was recognized that students working their way through college might not be able to maintain high grades. The Fraternity's policy promoting the highest possible grade average in individual cases has often contributed to trying to get only people who can still make high grades.
"Should preferably have a rural background and a liking for farm life..." was generally agreed upon as proper for an agricultural house. But it was not meant to exclude suitable non-farm students. Similarly, "have an interest in or sympathy for rural, social, and economic problems..." was considered desirable for a student in agriculture.
Lastly, "must have participated in extracurricular activities in high school..." was considered evidence of whether a student was well-rounded, possessed leadership qualities, would cooperate fully, and would likely benefit from college activities outside the classroom.
These qualifications are dealt with further in the Fraternity Morals and Policies article in the constitution. Adherence to and belief in them ebb and flow with the makeup of the men in the house. They have been affected by changes in society and have created considerable controversy. They concern drinking, gambling, swearing, and immoral talk or conduct, smoking, and card playing.
The founders wanted to live in and create for others to come an organization with high morals and standards as well as economical living. They wanted an atmosphere in which the individual could strengthen himself morally, spiritually, and academically. Drinking, gambling, and smoking were wasteful of money. Drinking and smoking posed health hazards to both the users and others. Card playing was discouraged because it could impose on study time. Swearing and immoral talk were thought of as degrading to the individual and debasing to the organization, serving no useful purpose. Immoral acts reflected upon both the individual and Nabor House. These were not then and since been the things for which Nabor House is respected.
Although these ideals were developed over several semesters, it was their early manifestation in the members that cause the University to be lenient with, home community leaders to back, and Ag faculty to be interested in, guide, and invest in Nabor House. Some of these ideals likely originated and certainly were fortified by Ag faculty persons, for several of them came to the house to discuss religion, morals, and living habits. They gave the group much strength and guidance. In time, some of the more influential ones were recognized by designated them Honorary Members of Nabor House.
Pledge qualifications were first included in the April 8, 1940, version of the constitution. They stated: "A pledge must be a male student enrolled in the College of Agriculture or related branches, have an interest in church and church activities, must have been in the upper one-third of his high school class, should preferably have a rural background and a liking for farm life, must have an active interest in or sympathy for farm social and economic problems, and must have participated in extracurricular activities in high school."
Like the membership qualifications, those for pledgeship underwent changes over time. As included in the current constitution, they are: "A pledge must be a full-time male student enrolled in the College of Agriculture or in a related curriculum, must manifest a need for economical living while attending college, must be an active member of some church (or must be an active participant if church membership is being delayed only by a minimum age requirement), must have been in the upper one-third of his high school class, should preferably have a rural background and a liking for farm life, must have an active interest in or sympathy for rural social and economic problems, and must have participated in extracurricular activities in high school."
As the sons of Nabor alumni began to approach college age, the active chapter asked for direction in dealing with applications from any of the sons who might apply to get into Nabor House. On Nov. 19, 1967, the Fraternity Board reiterated the policy already in effect relative to brothers of Nabors, stating that it applied equally to the sons of Nabors as well. The policy is that each applicant must be judged solely on his own merits without special consideration being given to relationships or friendships. And that policy remains in effect today.
With the increase in the number of junior college transfers, the question arose about whether they and other college students who wished to pledge Nabor House were to be evaluated on their high school rank or college record. The Fraternity Board passed a resolution regarding this on Sept. 19, 1971, and directed the active chapter to follow it. The resolution was: "The scholastic requirement for an applicant who has completed one or more semesters of college work is based upon his college work and not upon his high school rank, and this college work must have resulted in a minimum of a 3.5 grade average based upon a 5.0 scale." The resolution is still in force.
Very early in Nabor House's existence, the men wanted to recognize those people, such as faculty members, who gave the organization extraordinary service. Feeling that honorary membership would be an appropriate way to do this, a provision was made for it in the original constitution by stating: "The membership of Nabor House shall consist of ... and honorary membership." The qualifications for this category of membership first appeared in the April 8, 1940, revision of the constitution. That revision stated: "Honorary membership shall be conferred only on those who have rendered extraordinarily valuable service to the organization." It remains essentially the same today.
No formal provision for granting associate membership was made until the constitution was revised April 8, 1940. In that revision, associate member was added indicating, "Associate members shall have the qualifications to serve as advisers and must receive the unanimous vote of the active membership." This action came about as a result of giving honorary membership on Nov. 20, 1939, to E.E. Cockrum, the first person to be resident faculty adviser. In 1948, some details were added to the qualifications. These paralleled some of the requirements for active membership, dealing with such things as church participation and character.
A change in associate membership qualifications occurred in 1967, because resident advisers had note yet been used for several years. The change stipulated that associate membership could be conferred on those giving valuable service to an active chapter. This opened the door to non-faculty as well as faculty.