The international Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) is trying to start a chapter at the College. However, the fraternity has thus far violated the expansion procedures of the Inter-Greek Council (IGC), according to Pamela Mirabelli, Fraternity and Sorority Programs coordinator.
Members of AEPi at the College have been working through their international organization to colonize the College.
However, IGC sent a letter to AEPi last week asking its members to stop meeting, and informing them they had violated the IGC constitution.
According to Mirabelli, the four rules AEPi has broken are not submitting a formal letter to IGC indicating interest in forming a chapter of AEPi at the College, not getting permission to publicize informational events, not submitting any of the required paperwork, and conducting organizational business on campus, such as maintaining a Web site, holding meetings and advertising on campus.
Max Marshall, president of the unrecognized colony, denied in an e-mail that AEPi has violated the rules IGC accused it of violating.
“They told us we did not submit a formal letter stating our existence, which we did do,” he said. “They said that we were advertising unauthorized informational meetings, which we did not do. Neither have we held public informational meetings, nor have we advertised future ones. They said we did not submit the appropriate paperwork, which our international organization did do.”
Marshall said the letter from IGC included specific requests for disbanding the colony.
“They asked us to stop all activity on campus, to stop associating ourselves with (the College), to take down our Web site, to stop having executive board meetings, to stop calling ourselves a fraternity colony and for our international organization to stop recognizing us,” Marshall said.
The formal letter is dated March 1, 2007, and is addressed to Mirabelli. It says, “At this time, Alpha Epsilon Pi wishes to begin the process to be recognized as a fraternity at The College of New Jersey.”
Marshall said IGC responded to the letter.
“Right now the IGC told us they’re not looking for new frats,” he said.
According to Mirabelli, IGC is closed for expansion from July 2006 to July 2007.
“IGC is accepting no applications to be considered for expansion at this time,” she said.
However, Mirabelli said if the group had followed the correct IGC procedure it would have been granted pre-active status, allowing the international organization of AEPi to work with the new colony at the College for a maximum of two years. After this time, the group would have been recognized by the national office as a full chapter and recognized by IGC as a chapter with active status.
Mirabelli said because the group did not follow the correct steps, the Expansion Committee could not meet in order to review its application and make a recommendation to the general body of IGC for a vote.
“The general body of the IGC could not vote for their approval or disapproval of granting the group pre-active status nor could (the Student Government Association) grant the interest group approval to be a recognized organization based upon the IGC’s approval of the group,” she said.
Marshall said getting IGC-recognized is not the colony’s number one priority now.
“The truth is, whether or not (IGC) recognizes us, we have all been formally inducted into the international fraternity,” he said. “Our recognition status on campus does not change the fact that we belong to this organization and that we have a group of members at the College, which is formally recognized as the Alpha Eta colony by Alpha Epsilon Pi.”
Marshall said other goals include building awareness and writing a constitution.
“We want to get our name out there,” Brian Gross, a member of the group, said.
Members of the AEPi colony said they are not worried about becoming IGC-recognized because AEPi is a member of the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC). When a group belonging to the NIC wants to start a chapter on a campus, it has to be recognized.
“We are not an underground group and do not intend to be,” Marshall said. “We are a group of students in a publicly visible organization who wish to strengthen ourselves, our community and our college. We have the constitutional right to assemble, to speak our minds and to carry out private activities.”
According to the letter sent to Mirabelli, other schools in New Jersey with chapters or colonies of AEPi include Rutgers University, Rider University and Princeton University.
According to Marshall, AEPi’s intention is to “strategically colonize important schools.”
“Logically the next step was (the College),” he said.
If AEPi is successful in being recognized, the College will be the 138th chapter.
The AEPi colony at the College currently consists of 10 students. According to the members, representatives from the international organization started scouting the campus at the beginning of the semester, interviewing about 60 students for membership. The representatives found students who were interested by using an alumni database, as well as advertising on campus.
According to the AEPi Web site, “The Alpha Eta colony of Alpha Epsilon Pi was founded on (Feb. 24) when eight of the ten founding fathers were inducted by the Supreme Master of the International Fraternity in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.”
At their first meeting on Feb. 25, they held elections for executive board positions. At their second meeting, on March 5, they discussed the events they are planning to hold. These events include a philanthropic event, an athletic event, a social event and a road trip to another chapter.
Though they will not be allowed to hold the events using the name AEPi, Marshall said they will hold the events either by going off campus or through another group.
Marshall said he felt IGC’s response was discouraging.
“In conjunction with AEPi International, we have taken great care to follow the College’s and the IGC’s policies of expansion, yet we are being met with an unreceptive cold shoulder,” he said. “At a college which prides itself on the ability of its students to create and freely associate with student organizations and which seeks out applicants who show the potential to contribute to the campus and to be involved, I find this reception very disheartening.”