Recent controversy over the presence of the Alpha Eta colony of the national fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) on campus has caused the Inter-Greek Council (IGC) to hold a meeting prohibiting other Greek organizations from being involved with AEPi.
According to Daniel Gaughan, president of IGC, the presidents of Greek organizations were told they should not have social events, co-sponsor philanthropies or allow AEPi to participate in program held by their chapters.
“Basically, we do not acknowledge their existence as a group on this campus, and as such, the IGC, as well as all member chapters, will have no dealings with them,” Gaughan said.
Max Marshall, president of AEPi, said IGC’s threat to penalize Greek organizations that associate with AEPi hurts other Greek organizations. He said because IGC does not recognize AEPi, the sanction does not affect its ability to hold events or carry out chapter functions.
According to Marshall, “(Pam Mirabelli, fraternity and sorority programs coordinator) informed all the other Greek organizations that they were not allowed to participate in our (canned food drive on March 28) or even accept our invitation to it.”
Mirabelli said she made “no specific mention of the food drive” and did “not know what (Marshall was) talking about.”
Marshall said AEPi received a warm reception and encouragement from other Greek organizations on campus so far, but that IGC’s warning will cause a rift.
“Greek organizations are not cold, faceless bureaucracies; they are groups of active students who strive to make the best of their college experience through involvement and interaction with their peers and community,” he said. “To threaten our friends and peers for interacting with us just because they happen to identify with different letters of the Greek alphabet is a serious and unacceptable insult.”
Gaughan said AEPi must go through the proper expansion procedures to be treated as a fraternity, “but until they do, we will continue to advise the chapters to not treat AEPi as a fraternity on this campus,” he said.
AEPi first experienced the consequences of the sanction when it signed up to play in Phi Sigma Sigma’s philanthropic volleyball game. Although the event was not exclusively for members of Greek organizations, six individuals from AEPi were not allowed to play because they signed up as AEPi.
Meghan Bermudez, a member of Phi Sigma Sigma who was in charge of the event, said Phi Sigma Sigma is not allowed to associate with organizations not recognized by the College, like AEPi.
“As an organization we were unaware that allowing these individuals to participate in our tournament would be breaking the rules,” she said. “When informed by (Mirabelli) that we would not be allowed to have these students participate we immediately called to let them know.”
“We were more than happy to donate to their cause and participate in their tournament,” Marshall said.
Marshall said they tried to reregister as a group of individuals not affiliated with AEPi, but were told that they were not allowed to play under any circumstances.
Bermudez said the students were cooperative. “(They) insisted that we keep their registration fee as a donation to our philanthropy, the National Kidney Foundation,” she said. “We greatly appreciated this and invited them to stay and watch the games.”
“Despite the circumstances, we still had a great time watching our friends on other teams play,” Marshall said.
Steve Morris, a brother in AEPi, was angry at being denied admission to the tournament. “It is crucial to note that this tournament was not specially reserved for members of Greek organizations; it was open to all students who wanted to participate,” he said. “If the tournament had been solely a Greek-oriented event, then (Mirabelli) would have been justified in denying access to a group of students who had not yet been approved by (IGC).”
“She refused to allow six students to participate in a tournament open to all students on the grounds that these students were attempting to establish a fraternity against her will,” Morris said. “(Mirabelli) singled out a specific group for scrutiny, and decided to ensure that that specific group would not be provided with the rights possessed by all other groups.”
Mirabelli said the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) started the policy in 2004. “NPC adopted a resolution stating that their member groups would agree to advise their collegiate chapters to plan events only with men’s fraternities recognized by their national organization and the College,” she said.
“The precedent created by (Mirabelli) is that she has the power to exclude any group of students as she wishes from events open to all students if she happens to personally dislike some of them,” Morris said. “I find it egregious that this extraordinary amount of unchecked power has been placed in the hands of one partial individual.”
However, Marshall said AEPi refused to be discouraged. “These are minor hurdles to jump,” he said, “and we are determined to continue as a strong and involved organization on this campus.”