February 18, 2013

No Pledging for New Members of Pike

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The Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, which was expelled from Cornell’s campus in 2010 after a recruitment event sent three students to the hospital, has recruited more than 60 new members since its return in late January.

In January, the national fraternity sent two consultants to Cornell to help “recolonize” the chapter with new members. These consultants will fully train the members of Pi Kappa Alpha — also known as Pike — to recruit new members and run their fraternity, according to Michael Monnette, one of the consultants. The training should be completed by March 11, when the consultants leave Ithaca, he said.

The fraternity met with more than 200 candidates and has been growing at a rate of about five new brothers each day since returning to campus, according to John Paton ’14, the fraternity’s president.

In order to recruit new members, administrators, faculty and student leaders have been asked to recommend candidates who meet the ideals of the fraternity. There is no pledge class this semester because new members are joining at the same time and will enter the fraternity as brothers, Paton said.

“We are not recruiting a founding pledge class or anything of that nature, but are reestablishing a fully functional fraternity on campus,” Monnette said.

The Beta Theta chapter of Pike has been searching for men who show the qualities of scholarship, leadership and athleticism, as well as the ability to “be a gentleman,” according to Paton.

“As long as they’re scholars, leaders, athletes and gentlemen, we plan to have them in the fraternity,” he said.

According to Paton, Pike is currently focusing on finishing the recruitment process and is still looking for more “top quality guys.”

“We are hoping to return Pike to being one of the best fraternities on campus again,” Paton said.

Pike will receive provisional recognition during a probationary period that will conclude in 2015. Although the fraternity will not be officially recognized until 2015, the provisional recognition will give them the privileges associated with full recognition.

Pike brother Kyle Huffstater ’16 said he chose to join the fraternity because he missed formal fraternity rush.

“I wasn’t able to go to [rush] and kind of regretted it afterward,” Huffstater said.

He said Pike’s lack of a pledging period and its short application process were additional factors that drew him to join the fraternity, as were Pike’s large size and national reputation. According to Pike’s website, the organization has more than 220 chapters across the United States and Canada and 14,000 undergraduate members, in total.

“I do think it’ll provide very good networking [opportunities], but the more important reason I joined was …  I wanted the chance to try it. So far, it’s turned out great, and I’m not regretting it,” Huffstater said.

He said that publicizing the fraternity’s return to campus and what the organization stands for is currently a top priority for members.

Pike brother Eric Lei ’15 said he wanted to rush the fraternity because of the “great opportunity to rebuild an organization.”

“The process takes what the organization is about and the principles of what it was founded upon to allow new members to build on the established foundations,” he said.

Paton also said that the new members of the fraternity will be able to shape the future of Pike at Cornell.

“In the next few weeks, we’re going to be talking with ourselves about what we want to create,” Paton said.

Pike will be the first disbanded fraternity to return to campus since President David Skorton’s declaration in Aug. 2011 that “pledging as we know it has to stop.”

Pike is currently based in Willard Straight Hall, but the fraternity will be allowed to return to its former house at 17 South Ave. in Fall 2014.

Members of the fraternity said they hope they will be welcomed by the Cornell community as they work to reshape their chapter.

“We want to start off by moving away from the past stereotypes and creating new ones by having a presence on campus and by giving back to the community,” Lei said.

The national fraternity expressed enthusiasm about Pike’s return to Cornell, in a press release.

“Cornell has a proud Greek system, and we believe that this is exactly the kind of place where Pike needs to be.”

Original Author: Tyler Alicea