The university’s Beta Theta chapter of Phi Kappa Sigma has not only regained its house and its charter after being suspended during the 2008-2009 academic year, but also won significant awards, the fraternity’s president said.
Senior history major and Phi Kappa Sigma president Austin Alexander said the misconduct that caused the fraternity to lose its house included multiple alcohol violations and breaking university policies as well as its own fraternal policies, including alcohol consumption in the fraternity’s chapter room.
“It was a series of things over four or five years, a culmination of things that tipped the iceberg,” Alexander said. “(The university) got to the point where they had to stop anything else from happening.”
William Brewer, chapter adviser, said for its efforts to meet the requirements set forth to get back its house and charter, the fraternity was awarded the title of “Most Improved” chapter and given the award for “Chapter Excellence.”
Brewer said the fraternity had to meet strict requirements and benchmarks in order to gain re-entry to its house and to regain its charter. Requirements included compliance with all university and International Fraternity policies regarding recruitment, hazing, alcohol, drugs and risk management, according to the Phi Kappa Sigma Mitchell Standards score sheet. The fraternity also had to meet GPA requirements and sponsor at least two philanthropic events and raise a minimum of five hundred dollars.
Brewer said on behalf of the alumni that they were proud and excited about the accolades the Beta Theta chapter had received.
“Their misconduct is old news,” Brewer said. “The news is the success they’ve achieved and their improving leadership.”
Phi Kappa Sigma International Fraternity Executive Director Toby Smith said the Beta Theta chapter had done an excellent job reorganizing internally. He declined to comment on the issues leading to Phi Kappa Sigma’s loss of their house and charter.
“We could focus on the past, but we prefer to focus on the future,” he said.
Smith also said a necessary culture change had taken place in the fraternity and the men are now better able to focus on the true Phi Kappa Sigma “men of honor” experience.
Alexander said Phi Kappa Sigma had members from the national organization come and assist them with different workshops involving risk management and alcohol awareness.
Alexander said he felt the awards were a testament to all of the hard work Phi Kappa Sigma had done.
Brewer said he doesn’t think there will be a stigma attached to the Phi Kappa Sigma name, and the fraternity was only going to get better.
Though the fraternity was booted from its house last year, Phi Kappa Sigma was still involved on campus. Alexander said the fraternity still continued to compete in intramural sports and participate in philanthropies.
Evan Berlin, president of the Interfraternity Council, said he was continuously impressed by the entire chapter in its successful philanthropy efforts despite its lack of a house or charter last year.
“They also had an extremely successful rush this year,” Berlin said, referring to Phi Kappa Sigma’s 29 new pledge class members.
As to the future, Alexander said the men of Phi Kappa Sigma are looking forward to progressing from being perceived as at the bottom, to being seen as at the top.
Katherine Reed, Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, and Vice Chancellor for student affairs Don Mills could not be reached for comment.