Friday, March 20, 2015

Party’s Over for Local Fraternity Chapter At Trinity University

Posted By on Fri, Mar 20, 2015 at 4:37 PM

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Less than two weeks after a viral video of a University of Oklahoma fraternity inspired outrage across the country, a local incident centered on a national fraternity sparked controversy right here in San Antonio.

On Thursday, March 19, Trinity University conclusively announced its decision to permanently revoke a local San Antonio chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha — an organization popularly recognized as Pike — which formerly was the private liberal arts college’s only national fraternity.

Recently mired with controversy, Trinity University’s Lambda Sigma chapter failed to comply with a two-year suspension that was issued in October last year as a result of three previous sanctions; an unregistered party, an alcohol violation and a rush violation.

While Trinity University’s Greek Council refrained from making a media statement, evidence supporting the alleged charges was not difficult to locate independent of the council’s investigation. In late January, a freshman student publicly posted photographs onto Facebook depicting Pike members cheerfully smiling against a backdrop of a Playboy-themed gathering. Additionally, word of the Pikes’ purported underground rush process was widely broadcasted across anonymous social media application, Yik Yak.

“A review of [an appeal to the Director of Student Involvement] and Greek Council’s recommendation established that the organization did not comply with a previous two-year suspension sanction. As a result, the organization’s charter has been permanently revoked,“ wrote Jeremy Boyce, the National Alumni Board’s Chair of Fraternities and Sororities, in an update. “The decision is in support of Greek Council’s self-governance structure and its mission to promote a healthy fraternity and sorority community.”

This view is consistent with the university’s stance on the topic of Pike’s permanent charter revocation, according to Assistant Vice President for External Relations Sharon Jones Schweitzer. In a phone conversation with the San Antonio Current, she conveyed there were no grounds on which to overturn Greek Council’s decision, as Pike had not observed the terms of their suspension period. Schweitzer also expressed that the national organization of Pi Kappa Alpha continued to support its Trinity chapter despite the sanction violations, which ultimately encouraged the final decision to disband the fraternity.

Over twenty years ago, Trinity University made headlines by barring the pledging activities of its 12 sororities and fraternities and revoking the charter of local fraternity, the Triniteers, after the death of a pledge member on February 16th, 1991. The club was reinstated, but the administration once more revoked the social club’s charter in 2006 for policy violations. However, the Triniteers were rechartered again in 2013 after expressing “a commitment to change the culture of the ‘Teers.’”

In addition, two sororities and two fraternities — Bengal Lancers, Chi Delta Tau, Gamma Chi Delta and Spurs —temporarily had their charters withdrawn in 2012 after proof of hazing surfaced. Although no criminal charges were pursued, the school reported incidents of sexually exploitive behavior, intimidation and alcohol abuse. All four organizations, which later demonstrated a willingness to abide by the school’s policies, have since returned to Trinity University’s campus.

When asked about the possibility of Pike’s return to the university in the distant future, Schweitzer suspended judgment, explaining that she only possessed knowledge of the present situation. And, for now it seems that the party is over for Pike. 

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