After facing social probation last fall, Trinity’s chapter of the national fraternity Phi Kappa Alpha (Pike) was not allowed to take a pledge class in 2014. The Greek Council Judicial Board found the organization responsible for three policy violations that occurred at their Jan. 15 Neon event. The board also decided this decision did not warrant an appeal, and prohibited the organization from filing one. Pike remained absent from the Jan. 31 Bid Day celebrations but is no longer on social probation.
According to Travis Batts, senior Pike and member of Greek Council, the hearing found the organization responsible for recruitment, guest list and alcohol use policy violations. A hearing last spring resulted in the organization’s placement on social probation for the fall of 2013, removing the opportunity for a second round rush party and replacing it with a service event.
“That event didn’t end up happening, so the Pikes came to Brianna [McGlamory] and asked if they could partner up with the SPURS at the Rock “˜n’ Roll Marathon. Brianna said, “˜no,'” said junior Vivian Ha, secretary for Zeta Xi and Greek Council Judicial Chair. “Then they came to Graham Bates, the outgoing Greek Council Judicial Chair, told him that Brianna had said “˜yes’ to the Rock “˜n’ Roll Marathon in conjunction with the SPURS, so Graham said “˜okay,’ but that they all have to be there the whole time. On the day of the Rock “˜n’ Roll Marathon, there were like five pikes there.”
While Ha maintained that these past events were not directly influential in finding the organization responsible for the policy violations, according to Brianna McGlamory, coordinator for fraternity and sorority life, it was considered in the decision to suspend the new active class.
“The students [on the Greek Council Judicial Board] looked at previous judicial records and based on previous judicial sanctions ““ and not seeing a change in behavior from those sanctions ““ they decided that a different sanction was needed,” McGlamory said.
According to Ha, Greek Council’s intention in suspending the organization’s new active class was to refocus the organization and its current members before allowing new members to participate.
“We think they have a lot to learn before they take a new pledge class. We don’t want them teaching those habits to a new orientation class. Frankie [Arndt], the new Pike president, expressed to us the desire he had to change his club, that he didn’t like the direction that his club was going. We felt that if the Pikes were to take on the responsibility of a new active class while also trying to make internal changes with the old actives that it would be extra stress,” Ha said. “If Frankie was going to be very committed to what he said, it would be better for him and better for the organization if they didn’t take a pledge class. We also wanted to do something that they’d take seriously.”
According to Batts, the organization pleads not responsible to the alcohol violation and maintains that suspending the new active class could harm the organization.
“Suspension is considered a harsh punishment. The life force of a Greek organization is its members,” Batts said. “If you take that away, you take away the force of numbers and ability to rebuild with new people.”
According to the Greek Council constitution, an appeal is automatically made through the Center for Community Involvement (CCI) if a charter revocation is in place. However, appeals outside of this parameter are rare and lack strict guidelines but can be considered by the judicial board on a case-by-case basis.
Ha explained that the board considered allowing the organization to appeal but due to its proximity to bid day and lack of documentation within the Greek Council constitution an appeal was not possible. She also discussed the possibility of implementing guidelines for appeals outside of instances of charter revocation.
“If people are allowed to appeal because they don’t like the severity of the sanctions, this means that anytime they don’t like a decision they can go over Greek Council’s head. We think that’s bad for a couple of reasons: It completely nullifies Greek Council. It eliminates the randomness. The Greek Council Judicial Boards are randomized for every case, 5 members out of 10, which means that you would always be pitting half of Greek Council against the other half if that process were to stay in Greek Council. When everyone gets to hear the case, now there’s no more randomness,” Ha said.
While according to Ha, an appeal for the Pikes was also denied because it was based on the severity of the sanction, the judicial board does believe that in the future an appeals process should be developed based on cases where new evidence surfaces or old evidence was overlooked.
Batts emphasized the Pike’s strength in community service.
“[The fraternity] has the most community service hours, had a good showing at the service fair and is very involved on campus,” Batts said.
The Pikes are no longer on probation and will presumably be taking a new active class next spring.
“They have a very strong and capable president in Frankie Arndt,” McGlamory said. “He is a sophomore, and he has some great vision and ideas for the fraternity, and so I hope that they will use the time without new members to get things right with their current members and come back and take a strong class next year.”
Other members of the Pike organization declined to comment.