PIKE officially disassociated from national chapter
Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 17:09
Though Pi Kappa Alpha, otherwise known as PIKE, was unrecognized by the university in 2005, it was officially suspended by the national organization this past summer, according to the national chapter.
Justin Buck, executive vice president and CEO of the Pi Kappa Alpha International Organization, stated in an email message he was unable to conduct an interview on the topic, but could provide some clarity to the situation.
“The charter of the Delta Eta Chapter was suspended June 5, 2013 for violations of fraternity standards including failure to meet financial obligations and low membership,” Buck said. “The chapter appealed that decision and that appeal will be considered by delegates from the other chapters in August 2014, per policy, at the international convention.”
Buck said these were the only comments he or any member of the International Organization would be able to provide regarding the situation. Former members of Pi Kappa Alpha were able to speak more freely on the topic, including Chris Mitchell, a Pi Kappa Alpha member of the 2013 graduating class.
Mitchell, who rushed Pike in the fall semester of 2011, said he thought the history between PIKE and the university began years ago.
He said there was a party for members of PIKE years before he became a member, which was Honolulu luau-themed. The party was not validated by university staffers, but members went ahead with the party, Mitchell said. The event got out of hand and he said police were forced to break it up.
Michael said the university took the Pi Kappa Alpha letters down from the house. However, he said the house was not university property, and it did not have the right to take down the letters or kick the members of the house out.
Mitchell said after the lawsuit, fraternity members felt the university was biased against them. He said he thought the lawsuit had a long-lasting effect on the relationship between Pi Kappa Alpha and the university.
“[The lawsuit] played a big role in why the university still does not like PIKE,” Mitchell said. “They were really not happy with how we pursued things even though we were off campus.”
Mitchell said the suspension from the university meant PIKE was unable to participate in Greek week, air-band or register parties with the university. Mitchell said while he was there, PIKE continued to have rush events, but membership numbers declined steeply. He said not being an official part of the Greek organizations on campus hurt the fraternity.
“We didn’t infringe upon university rules during the suspension,” Mitchell said. “We got to the point where membership was so bad, because of what other fraternities would say, because we couldn’t use the university’s campus to recruit.”
Senior Brian Liachowitz, another Pi Kappa Alpha member, said he rushed PIKE as a freshman and would not change his mind if he had the choice over again. He said he thought the brotherhood of the fraternity was still strong, despite the barriers PIKE was forced to overcome. In September of 2012, Liachowiz asked to meet with Adam Cantley, the assistant director of Fraternity and Sorority Life at the university, in order to discuss reinstatement for the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity on campus. Cantley denied the request, and wrote in an email that the university has a strict policy of not meeting with local organizations, without first speaking with the the organization’s national office.
“Since we do not allow local organizations of any type at the University, we have to make sure we work through a national entity,” Cantley wrote. “I can not locate any other emails or communication from the national office until this past summer. . . This is when they informed me they were rescinding the charter of the chapter here in Newark.”
Liachowitz said he felt several entities on campus were biased against Pi Kappa Alpha, including other Greek organizations, as well as the university itself. He said at one point, despite the fraternity’s off-campus status, the university sent letters to parents of students, discouraging them from allowing their children to join Pi Kappa Alpha or any other off-campus Greek organization.
“It’s a dog-eat-dog world when it comes to fraternities,” Liachowitz said. “Everybody wants to be the best. So when one fraternity gets knocked off campus, the other fraternities don’t really feel like standing up for them.”
Junior Rob Harris, who was the acting president of the Delta Eta chapter when their charter was revoked, said he agreed with Liachowitz in that he felt the university and other Greek organizations had turned their backs on PIKE by the time he had come to the university and rushed.
Harris said he felt PIKE got a bad reputation due to the suspension, and other Greek organizations viewed them as “rebellious.” He said current members of PIKE did not feel as if they were rebels, but more as if they were excluded from Greek life simply due to something that happened several years ago entirely out of current members’ control.
“Other Greek organizations looked down on us, but I never let it bother me in the first place,” Harris said. “I mean, if [somebody] already makes judgments about someone else based on an association that they have, that’s not someone I would want to be friends with.”
Harris said he hopes to continue with the brothers that still go to the university, and he wants to keep them together. Harris said the brotherhood goes beyond any roadblock they may encounter.
“Right now, we’re still a brotherhood,” Harris said. “We’re sticking together, and we’re operating as we always have. We still have meetings, we still have goals and objectives, and we’re just seeing where it takes us. We are confident in where we are right now.”