January 21, 2013

Pike Returns To Cornell After Expulsion

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Nearly three years after it was kicked off campus following a recruitment event that sent three students to the hospital, the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity will return to Cornell to recruit new members this spring.

Pi Kappa Alpha, also known as “Pike,” will receive provisional recognition from Cornell, which will grant it the privileges of recognition for a probationary period, according to Travis Apgar, associate dean of students for fraternity and sorority affairs. Barring any violations during this time, Pike will receive full recognition from Cornell in 2015.

Its reestablishment will make it the first fraternity to return to campus with provisional recognition since President David Skorton said that “pledging as we know it has to stop” in Aug. 2011.

Starting Monday, about 50 fraternity alumni and staff from Pike’s international fraternity headquarters will spend six weeks at Cornell, enlisting the help of administrators, faculty and student leaders to suggest and recruit new students to join the fraternity, according to a University press release.

“They will go about asking people on campus with high levels of credibility … to actually recommend people who they think would make good members of this organization,” Apgar said in an interview with The Sun. “It’s a much more personal recruitment process.”

The Pike chapter house at 17 South Ave is currently occupied by graduate students, who will continue to live there through the spring of 2014, according to Bob Forness ’87, vice president of the fraternity’s alumni. The fraternity’s new members will not move into the house until the fall of 2014, according to Forness.

Pike’s alumni and national organization hope to encourage the new members to “establish a strong colony before they also have to manage the demands of operating a house,” according to Forness.

“The national organization wants the fraternity to demonstrate [that] they will live up to Pike’s values,” Apgar said.

During the summer of 2011, Pike submitted a plan to return to campus and recruit new members starting in January 2012, according to Apgar. Because it felt that not “enough time had lapsed” since Pike lost its recognition in 2010, the University denied the fraternity’s request.

“There had continued to be students who were formerly members of the fraternity who were still [on campus],” Apgar said. “It could have derailed the progress that the alumni and national organization hoped to make.”

A year later, in the summer of 2012, Pike submitted a second –– and ultimately successful –– proposal to return to campus this spring.

“We’ve been in regular contact with alumni and the national organization for several years,” Apgar said. “We are confident they have a sustainable plan to recruit new young men to recolonize the chapter with values and principles that are in alignment with the University’s.”

As it returns to Cornell, Pike will be supported by an alumni board, which will offer coaching and mentoring to the undergraduate chapter leaders as they work to regain full recognition at the University, according to Forness.

“I’d like to see Pike return as one of the leading houses on campus,” Forness said. “We want to partner with our undergraduate leaders to ensure a successful recolonization.”Apgar said he hopes that Pike’s return will serve as an example to other Greek organizations on campus.

“It demonstrates that there are very different ways to go about recruiting and what you say your organization stands for,” he said. “Other organizations can see it’s not required to take risks that some of these groups take, and you can actually recruit excellent members who are committed to what the fraternity is about, and not just the social aspects.”

Original Author: Kerry Close