Sunday, June 15, 2008
The Fist: What Little Is Known
Thanks to the successful Grapski lawsuit against Florida Blue Key, we were able to learn a great deal about what was otherwise a well kept secret at UF. But one club that's been able to really keep a lid on its business has been 'the Fist', a highly secretive group inner circle of National Pan Hellenic Fraternity leaders, one per Greek letter organization.
In 2004 I was given rare permission to speak at NPH chapter meetings, largely because of the support of the then presiding officer, who I believe to have been Andre Samuels. There is no way my fraternity or any other fraternity in any of the three council would have allowed an outsider into chapter, much less to speak to the brothers -- this is not only a serious break with Greek tradition but the sanctity of the Fraternity's Ritual Rite is at great risk. Several of the NPH fraternities kept younger brothers outside the doors (as most met at the Reitz Union), the sororities would go even further in blocking off entire hallways during initiation(s) and our more secretive ritual (the pitfalls of not operating from a house). Our own fraternity conducted chapter in a basement room, reached either by passing two double latched doors or secret entry. In all the times FIJI had been broken into, never did anyone get near our CR.
I know very little about 'the Fist' and have bit my tongue for years, mainly out of respect for Jamal and the great work the African American community allowed for in 2004-2005, but what Paul Drayton is doing, is very much over a lot of people's heads. Five years after Jamal, same position, with largely the same backing, Drayton has trumped the Student Body President, the Student Senate, and gone further, by creating a proxy out of thin air. Whereas Jamal played the game, Drayton seems poised to be assertive and bold and some of my readers believe there was never any doubt in him taking the job.
There's no use commenting to the contrary, I speak with knowledge from one of the highest members of Florida Blue Key confirming that the Sam Green Block was in fact carried out to prevent the African American community from securing the post Drayton currently holds for Green under a Weiss candidacy. Drayton will be the candidate of the Machine for Student Body President, he will not make the mistake Jamal made, in leaving, his rivals will be the ones forced to leave. It will be a very interesting time, with Barack Obama having defeated John McCain and the pale-faced fraternity boys in polo shirts and bubbly blonde sorority girls at their side, wanting to be part of their very own black power ticket and I guarantee you, 'the Fist' will wrestle a mainstream nomination, much like it has finagled System brass to sit idly by as Drayton turns his back on them and does as he pleases, knowing full well that much like Keys wouldn't ever vote with the GDI's, they'd equally never dare cross the you-know-who's.
It's certainly going to be an interesting race come next Spring.
Past leaders of 'the Fist,' I believe, include Andre Samuels (2003-2004, 2005), Will Atkins (2005-2006), Sam Green (2006-2007), and Paul Drayton (2008 - ). Interestingly, I do know that the club bars non-Greeks from membership, but will elect a non-Greek to preside during rare instances. Another piece to the puzzle is that many of the alleged presiding officers have been members of an organization known as Progressive Black Men. I am not sure if Drayton is officially affiliated with them, however.