EDITORIAL: Unaffiliated fraternities diminish standards set by Greeks, university
For fraternities and sororities at Central Michigan University, the beginning of spring marks a special time of the year: Greek Week. The annual week-long fundraiser, April 2-7, will bring social Greek organizations together as they compete to raise money and awareness for a charitable cause.
We think Greek Week epitomizes what it means to be a member of a Greek organization — unity and philanthropy.
In that spirit of unity, we also think Greek Week is a good time to discuss an important issue that affects the image of the university and Greek community.
The attorney for a former Central Michigan University student filed a complaint with the Mount Pleasant Police Department alleging he was hazed by an unaffiliated fraternity in October 2016.
CMU has revoked its recognition of five fraternities – Alpha Chi Rho, Theta Chi, Lambda Chi Alpha, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Delta Chi. According to the university website, these five fraternities are no longer recognized by due to actions by members that violated established policies. This could include hazing, alcohol and drug abuse, sexual misconduct and more.
Some of these defunct fraternities continue to operate "underground."
Last month's reports of an alleged hazing incident at Alpha Chi Rho gave the community a glimpse of what sometimes goes on inside these organizations. It brought negative national attention to the university and its Greek community.
Because CMU does not recognize these five fraternities, the school isn't able to monitor them. But the university can, and should, clearly identify which fraternities are affiliated and which ones are not. An explanation of why a fraternity was removed from campus and for how long should also be provided on the website.
Rushing Greek life is a lifelong commitment. Potential recruits of these fraternities should know exactly what kind of organization they are aligning themselves with. We encourage students who are interested in joining fraternities to carefully research these organizations.
We think it is up to the affiliated Greek organizations to disassociate themselves from any organization operating underground. They must discourage members of defunct organizations from continuing to operate. The presence of these "unofficial" groups only hurts the reputation of the entire Greek community.
Sororities have a national guideline prohibiting them from having organized events with unaffiliated fraternities. But fraternities have an "unwritten" rule, according to Damon Brown, director of student activities and involvement. No one from the university monitors if unaffiliated fraternity members are present at the events of affiliated organizations. Brown said word of these incidents does get back to his office, however, and it is recorded.
The Interfraternity Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council and National Panhellenic Conference, the Greek community's three governing bodies, must monitor for the presence of unaffiliated fraternities and report that behavior immediately to the Office of Student Activities and Involvement.
The national chapters of these fraternities must also support the university's decision and revoke recognition of those local chapters who have been suspended. By not doing so, these fraternities continue to operate alongside the fraternities that do follow the rules and represent Greek life properly. For example, Delta Chi's national office has not withdrawn their recognition of the CMU chapter. They continue to have recruitment events and operate underground.
We encourage all students not to attend parties or other gatherings at these unrecognized fraternities. Do not join these organizations until they do what is necessary to again be recognized by CMU. That would include quietly leaving campus during the time of their suspension and not letting their letters be seen on campus.
When groups refuse to follow the process set in place to regain recognition and instead choose to operate underground, it's a sign of disrespect to every legitimate fraternity brother, the entire Greek community and the university.
As Greeks celebrate Greek Week, let's celebrate the thriving organizations who come together to raise money for charity every year. Let's celebrate the fraternities and sororities that take great pride in abiding by the rules that keep our fellow students safe.