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D.U., Fly Clubs Agree to Merge

By Matthew W. Granade

And then there were eight.

The D.U., an all-male final club that has been closed since last spring, has agreed to merge with the Fly Club, according to graduate members of both organizations.

Alumni members of the D.U. are being advised to send $100 in dues if they wish to join the Fly's graduate membership, according to a letter written by the D.U. Club Board of Trustees dated Feb. 5.

But current undergraduate members of the D.U.--which has been plagued over the past year with financial ills, a brawl and feuds with its graduate board--will not automatically be accepted into the Fly.

The Fly Club will retain its current name and location at 2 Holyoke Place, while the D.U. Club at 45 Dunster St. will either be sold or leased to retailers.

Any income from the rental or sale of the property "will be assigned to the Fly endowment," according to the D.U. Club letter.

Eric E. Vogt '70, chair of the Fly Club's graduate board, confirmed the merger during an interview with The Crimson yesterday.

"The concept of the merger has been approved in principle by both graduate boards," Vogt said. "It is currently under consideration by the Fly Club membership as a whole."

But, Vogt said, present undergraduate members of the D.U. Club will have to punch the Fly and be accepted under the normal punch process.

"The punch will have to occur again," Vogt said.

Members of the D.U., whose club has been closed since an altercation between a club member an a high school football recruit last spring, expressed excitement at the prospect of once again being members of an active Final Club.

"I am in agreement with the merger," said D.U. member Thomas Mike '97. "If the choice is between having no club or a new club, I am for a new one."

D.U. President Matthew B. Hillis '96 said he regrets the closing of the D.U., which was founded in 1880.

"But on the other hand, changes needed to be made," Hillis said.

Current D.U. undergraduates who desire to punch the Fly "will be introduced to Fly members and graduates at social events prior to the punching season," according to the D.U. letter.

"After [the punch,] such undergraduates may be elected to the Fly through normal Fly punch and election process," the letter read.

Vogt said Fly Club members were informed of the possible merger last December and called their reaction "positive."

On the other hand, D.U. Vice President David M. Sprinkle '96 said he is angered by the actions of the D.U.'s graduate board over the past year, although he called the merger "the best of a bad situation."

"We pretty much got screwed this year, but this is better then nothing," Sprinkle said.

Most club members agree that a February 1995 brawl at the D.U. between D.U. club member Sean M. Hansen '95 and John Burnham, a star high school quarterback from Washington D.C., marked the beginning of the end for the club.

Burnham needed surgery to mend the blow-out fracture in his left eye that resulted from the fight.

The D.U.'s problems were compounded by financial woes which had burdened the club since it restored its Dunster St. house in 1994.

Members were also upset by graduate board attempts to impose new rules and increase dues on its undergraduate membership early this school year. Members balked at the proposal, and the graduate board refused to re-open the house.

Sprinkle said the graduate board "didn't want to stand behind [its membership]."

"They are typical alumni, just worried about the bottom-line either for their pocketbook or what the public has to say," he said.

Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 said in an e-mail message yesterday that despite the club's problems over the past year Harvard officials have not placed any pressure on D.U. graduates to close the house.

The D.U. alumni letter said the clubs merged mainly to help create a financially sound club.

Similarly, the Fly "has been crafting a design for the next century of the club...for its long-term economic success," Vogt said.

The Fly Club will house memorabilia that had been previously stored at the D.U. and is "interested in providing a vibrant club environment for a distinguished graduate community," Vogt said.

Louis I. Kane '53, the chair of the D.U.'s graduate board, was unavailable for comment

D.U. President Matthew B. Hillis '96 said he regrets the closing of the D.U., which was founded in 1880.

"But on the other hand, changes needed to be made," Hillis said.

Current D.U. undergraduates who desire to punch the Fly "will be introduced to Fly members and graduates at social events prior to the punching season," according to the D.U. letter.

"After [the punch,] such undergraduates may be elected to the Fly through normal Fly punch and election process," the letter read.

Vogt said Fly Club members were informed of the possible merger last December and called their reaction "positive."

On the other hand, D.U. Vice President David M. Sprinkle '96 said he is angered by the actions of the D.U.'s graduate board over the past year, although he called the merger "the best of a bad situation."

"We pretty much got screwed this year, but this is better then nothing," Sprinkle said.

Most club members agree that a February 1995 brawl at the D.U. between D.U. club member Sean M. Hansen '95 and John Burnham, a star high school quarterback from Washington D.C., marked the beginning of the end for the club.

Burnham needed surgery to mend the blow-out fracture in his left eye that resulted from the fight.

The D.U.'s problems were compounded by financial woes which had burdened the club since it restored its Dunster St. house in 1994.

Members were also upset by graduate board attempts to impose new rules and increase dues on its undergraduate membership early this school year. Members balked at the proposal, and the graduate board refused to re-open the house.

Sprinkle said the graduate board "didn't want to stand behind [its membership]."

"They are typical alumni, just worried about the bottom-line either for their pocketbook or what the public has to say," he said.

Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 said in an e-mail message yesterday that despite the club's problems over the past year Harvard officials have not placed any pressure on D.U. graduates to close the house.

The D.U. alumni letter said the clubs merged mainly to help create a financially sound club.

Similarly, the Fly "has been crafting a design for the next century of the club...for its long-term economic success," Vogt said.

The Fly Club will house memorabilia that had been previously stored at the D.U. and is "interested in providing a vibrant club environment for a distinguished graduate community," Vogt said.

Louis I. Kane '53, the chair of the D.U.'s graduate board, was unavailable for comment

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