The Phi Kappa Literary Society is a debate society at the University of Georgia. We meet every academic Thursday at Phi Kappa Hall on North Campus at 7 p.m.

All with an insatiable appetite for knowledge and oratory are welcome.



Alumni Spotlight: Br. Dean William Tate

Born on September 21, 1903, Brother Dean William Tate would become an essential part of campus life at the University of Georgia for more than forty years after his days spent Phi Kappa Hall. Raised in Calhoun, Georgia, a seventeen year-old Brother Tate enrolled at the University of Georgia in the fall of 1920. During his time as a student, he studied English and History and became involved in several student activities including serving as the president of both Phi Kappa and student council. 

During his tenure at UGA, Brother Tate served as Dean of Students before being named Dean of Men, a position he would hold from 1946 until 1971. He garnered a reputation as compassionate, devoting most of his time to personally helping students with financial and academic struggles. But he could also inspire fear. 

Once speaking on Brother Tate, Honorable Sister McPhee said, “He had a way with students even though they were scared to death of him. They respected him. He knew their daddies and their grand-daddies and if a student was about to get in trouble, he would ask them their name, and it would scare them to death and when they told him, he would say, “Oh yeah!”, and tell them their daddy’s name.”

Following the integration of campus in 1961, his compassion extended to Charlayne Hunter, the first black female student, who faced the threat of injury or death after a mob formed outside of Myers Hall. While being pelted with rocks, he managed to assist a cop who had been knocked down before seizing student ID cards. 

After his retirement he remained active in campus life up until his death in 1980. In the last thirty five years, traces of his legacy are still present on campus and not only in the name of the Tate Student Center. It lives on in two of our own, Brother Hunter Smith and Brother Clark Veazey, who were selected as a 2015 inductee into the exclusive Dean William Tate Society. Moreover, it lives on in the displays of fearlessness and compassion each week in Phi Kappa Hall. 


It's Fallacy Friday: Ecological Fallacy.

Ecological Fallacy 

The ecological fallacy is a logical error of interpretation that involves deriving conclusions about the nature of individuals solely on an analysis of group data. Often this slip in logic comes from a clear misunderstanding of distribution which specifically assumes it is equal across individuals in a group. For example, a study of the last US election will find that states with higher median household incomes voted less often for Republican candidate Mitt Romney, but an assumption that individuals with higher incomes vote Democratic would be false. Higher income on the individual level is actually associated with voting Republican. During debates in Phi Kappa Hall, presenting empirical evidence such as statistics is vital, but speakers first need to understand what a particular statistic means. Reading an author’s explanation of his or her data method and familiarizing yourself with basic concepts in statistics will help eliminate making  false assumptions on the floor and give your argument te logic fitting of a Phi Kappan. 



Should US Schools discontinue educational vocational programs?

Please join the Phi Kappa Literary Society this Thursday at 7 p.m. in Phi Kappa Hall on North Campus, as we debate educational vocational programs in United States schools. First Affirm will be Brother Phil Grant and First Negate will be Sister Halle Hammond.


Alumni Spotlight: Br. Carl Sanders

Alumni spotlight is a monthly series ackowledging the accomplishments of Phi Kappans whose devotion to excellence extended far beyond the walls of Phi Kappa Hall.

 Born on May 25, 1925, Brother Carl Sanders of Augusta, Georgia was not only an exceptional Phi Kappan, but led a life of public service that greatly benefitted the state of Georgia. 


Brother Sanders attended the University of Georgia on a football scholarship and was involved in several prestigious student organizations, including our own Phi Kappa Literary Society. In 1943, Brother Sanders enlisted in the US Army Air Corps during World War II. Afterward, he returned to UGA to complete his Bachelor’s degree and attend law school. During this time, he met his wife Betty Bird from Statesboro, Georgia and they married in 1947.


In the 1950s, He served in both Georgia House and Senate before he became the Governor of Georgia in 1963 – the youngest in the nation. In his vision of the New South, Brother Sanders fundamentally improved the state of education, reorganizing the department of education aand establishing minimum standards for schools. He expanded college access significantly through the addition of new junior colleges and vocational schools while still creating teaching jobs at new public schools across the state.


But it is his break with the segregationist policies and race rhetoric of other Southern governors that made Brother Sanders exceptional. As Governor, he openly discouraged racial violence and reapportioned district lines that increased the political power of Africa- American voters. His cooperation with both the Kennedy and Johnson’s Administrations to follow civil rights laws and his willingness to appoint African-Americans to state offices slowly changed the nasty image Georgia had maintained for over a century. In the years since, the Phi Kappa Literary Society like Georgia has grown to embrace the diversity with members hailing from many different walks of life – race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. 

Last November, Brother Sanders passed away but his legacy as a remarkable alumnus remains  as an inspiration to Phi Kappans to move toward progress and enlightenment. 



Fallacy Friday: Appeal to Authority

Appeal to Authority 

An appeal to authority is perhaps one of the more insidious fallacies around since it is not illogical to listen to authorities at all. The fallacy in the appeal is dependent on argument construction. Citing an expert’s stance and saying it must be true is an invalid claim and is equally invalid when using it to dismiss an opponent’s argument. The empirical reasons for the expert’s stance is what is important. For example, John cites an expert in psychology who says that homosexuality is a mental disorder. If the expert cited is actually an expert, the claim is still false based on a body of psychological research that includes replicated experiments. To determine if your appeal is not fallacious, it needs to pass several tests. You need to ask if the expert is qualified to speak on the subject at hand, if there is expert consensus on the subject in question, and if the expert does not have a personal bias/interest. If the answer is no to any of these, the use is fallacious. If the expert is not identified, the use can also be said to be fallacious based on omission. As part of our curiosity, Phi Kappans debate on many issues of importance that fall outside of our own personal expertise so using authorities is necessary, but there is a proper way to avoid a illogical argument. The key is good judgment. The next time you use an expert’s opinion ask yourself a few questions first. 

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