June 9, 2010

Greek Life Comes Under Scrutiny After High-Profile Incidents

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This spring, two fraternities lost their University charters while another chapter remains on social probation.Pi Kappa Alpha (Pike) fraternity had its University recognition suspended temporarily in January after a rush week event that sent three students to the hospital. Following a nearly three-month review, the chapter was officially shut down.Associate Dean of Students Travis Apgar declined to disclose the length of time Pike would be shut down. Apgar also said that Pike will face additional sanctions, but would not confirm what those would entail. He indicated that the fraternity will have an opportunity to return to campus if it complies with certain University stipulations.Kappa Sigma was also shut down after violating sanctions that were imposed on them by their national organization.Approximately a year and a half ago, Kappa Sigma was found in violation of their national organization’s “risk management policy” and were told that they could no longer host events with alcohol, among other sanctions. When they violated this order sometime afterward, their national organization placed them under a “trusteeship,” which required them to have any events approved by a regional manager from the national organization, according to Apgar.The fraternity violated this sanction, Apgar said, when they hosted a party with alcohol without alerting their regional manager or registering it with the Interfraternity Council — in violation of both their national’s sanctions and IFC regulations. When the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs found out, they alerted the chapter’s national, who decided to shut them down.Allegations of hazing at Alpha Delta Phi fraternity were disclosed publicly by the Ivygate blog and were also communicated to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs through the website hazing.cornell.edu. The Greek Judicial Board subsequently launched an investigation at the end of the spring semester.Allegations of hazing at Cornell have garnered widespread media attention this year. Particularly, Ivygate has prominently featured reports of the allegations, with stories being picked up by popular blogs such as Gawker and The Huffington Post. “This hasn’t been good press, and it puts everyone on edge,” said Inter-Fraternity Council President Allen Miller ’11. “We need to be safe and careful while having fun, and increased transparency in investigations reinforces this.”Apgar stressed the incidents were isolated and not reflective of the strides the Greek community has made in transparency and accountability.

“The Greek community is the easiest target to have these types of attitudes toward,” he said. “Statistics show hazing is just as common in some other types of student organizations, such as athletic teams.”

Original Author: Sun Staff