Historic Omega tree cut down

The oak tree bearing the shield of the Upsilon Psi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, which grew in the lawn of Jackson Davis Hall was cut down Tuesday morning.

The “Omega tree” along with a number of other trees on campus were deemed as hazardous to the safety of students and faculty after being directly struck by lightning following weeklong thunderstorms said Kendall Jones, director of the Physical Plant.

The tree took more than an hour for campus maintenance workers to take down much to the chagrin of on-looking Omegas.

“The ‘bruhs’ are heart broken,” said 23-year-old Chris Wooten. The fourth year criminal justice student from Cleveland crossed Omega Psi Phi spring 2007.

Jones said there were about six trees on campus struck by lightning during the recent storms. Trees struck by lightning immediately die and will eventually begin to rot said Jones.

He said the university runs a risk as the hurricane season approaches bringing a lot of rain to the area. As the trees absorb the rain they in turn get heavier and will eventually lose limbs.

“I rather take the risk of cutting the (Omega) tree down than it falling and hitting a student or teacher,” Jones said.

Ato Hand, president of the Upsilon Psi Chapter, said he is sad to see the tree cut down.

“It’s a very big blow to us,” said Hand, 32, a senior civil engineering technology student from Tallahassee.

Hand said the tree had been there as long as the chapter, which started May 13, 1932. Hand said numerous Omega meetings were held at the tree, along with just being a place of congregation for the fraternity.

Hand said the chapter will call an emergency meeting to discuss whether they can get a plot in place of the tree or have the permission to plant another tree.

Jones said he has no problem if the fraternity wants to plant another tree. He said his role is to maintain the safety of the campus. Jones said the fraternity has to request to plant a tree through Student Activities.