The National Council of Pi Kappa Phi announced the closing of the Cornell chapter yesterday afternoon. The committee decided to revoke the chapter’s charter on Tuesday due to “repeated violations of the Fraternity’s risk management policies,” according to Mark Timmes, Pi Kappa Phi’s Chief Executive Officer.
“Prior attempts to change the culture of the chapter had been unsuccessful. Simply put, the chapter was not living up to — and refused to live up to — the standards of the fraternity,” Timmes said in an official press release.
When contacted, he would not give further comment.
“[The National Council of Pi Kappa Phi] has very high standards for their fraternities,” said Suzy Nelson, associate dean of students for fraternity and sorority affairs.
Last weekend, the Cornell chapter underwent a national review. Recently, the National Council placed individual members on alumni status until further review.
“I know a lot of the Brothers at Pi Kap, so I was surprised to hear that the Chapter had been closed,” said Jason Conn ’03, President of the Interfraternity Council. “I hate to see any House on campus shut down, because it only serves to weaken the Greek System and our reputation.”
“If a Chapter is operating against the policies of their national fraternity, it runs the risk of being shut down by its national board of directors. That is the reality of Greek life today,” Conn added.
Members of the chapter were startled by the announcement.
“I’m surprised, because I didn’t think they’d go to that extent,” said David Chun, ’04. “I thought we’d be punished, but not that severely.”
“I’m extremely disappointed not only in our National [but in the] lack of respect Cornell seems to have for fraternities these days and I’m disappointed for my brothers and the Cornell community in general that they lost such a strong part of the Greek life at Cornell,” said Matt White, ’04.
Conn discussed Pi Kappa Phi’s role in Greek life at Cornell.
“As one of the largest Houses on campus, Pi Kap was active socially, and was influential in the [Interfraternity Council]. Members have sat on the IFC Executive Board and various committees,” he said.
Both the National Council and the University showed concern over “behavioral” practices.
“If [Suzy Nelson] was to compare us to other fraternities … in comparison we would be below the other fraternities … in that our ‘hazing’ and pledge process is much less harsh. The one event that she particularly mentioned [to us] did not physically abuse us or emotionally hurt us, so it would not go under her guidelines of what hazing is generally called,” Chun said.
White expressed his thoughts on the alleged hazing incident.
“Our National [Council] disrespected us in that they openly admitted that everything that we did they also did when they were in college. But then they sit up there in their tribunal and condemn us for that same action,” White said.
Neither the University, the National Council, or the former Cornell chapter would disclose the details of the alleged event.
The University’s definition of hazing prohibits actions that “produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule.” Examples of these include use of alcohol, paddling, “creation of excessive fatigue,” “physical and psychological shocks,” and “morally degrading or humiliating games or activities.”
When a student becomes a member of a fraternity or sorority, the person must sign a form in which one pledgest