Reinstated fraternities recruit pledges

Two fraternities built reputations back up after violating university rules


EZEKIEL NELSON | The Daily Evergreen

Pi Kappa Alpha chapter President Nick Viola discusses chapter’s reinstatement and its new rules and regulations Monday evening at the chapter house.


After respective three- and five-year probations, Phi Kappa Tau (PKT) and Pi Kappa Alpha (PKA) signed their first pledge classes since reinstatements in April.

PKA chapter President Nick Viola said the fraternity has worked to improve health and conduct policies since the chapter’s probation in October of 2012.
Viola also said the fraternity is choosing to recruit about 25 pledges, less than most houses, in keeping with commitments the fraternity made to the university and IFC.

“We didn’t want to just be all talk,” he said. “We wanted to build the house slowly and surely so we are not spiraling out of control again.”
Viola said PKA has mostly relied on the fraternity’s legacy to recruit new members up until the chapter’s recent re-recognition.

“Usually it was word-of-mouth,” he said. “We had guys from the west side, but not really wide around the state because we couldn’t do full recruitment. It was kind of just guys that knew each other.”

RACHEL SUN | The Daily Evergreen
Phi Kappa Tau chapter President Chris Sterling discusses his chapter’s reinstatement.

PKT chapter president Chris Sterling also said recruitment during probation was difficult.

“I used to be recruitment chair before I was president, and it was challenging, it was really a struggle,” Sterling said. “There was a lot of calling parents, because parents were terrified when kids first joined this house.”

The fraternities have worked to improve their reputations since probation. PKA and PKT have both spent time participating in community service, and Sterling said PKT members have done swabbing to test for bone marrow matches as part of the fraternity’s philanthropic efforts.

Sterling said he decided to get involved with swabbing for matches after hearing a story from a donor at the Be The Match foundation, whose marrow helped save a young boy’s life.

“It really had an effect on me,” Sterling said. “I could be the person that saves someone else, you know? After I told the story, a lot of the guys in our house were interested in doing it.”

Viola also commented on the importance of the community service his fraternity is doing, and said PKA has been working with the College Hill Association.
Sterling said being upfront with his fraternity’s new members about the WSU probation paid off for PKT.

“One thing that really shocked us is we got the biggest pledge class in our history,” he said. “What we did was, we told these kids the truth. When we told [them] ‘look we got in trouble for hazing, this is what happened, there was hazing and we were drinking on bid day,’ they decided to stick with it. That was huge for me.”

New PKT member Bolton Dauenhauer signed this past summer, and said he knew about the probation, but didn’t have the impression that it was a significant issue.

“I didn’t know too much about it coming in,” Dauenhauer said. “That wasn’t very big to me. From what I could tell, it wasn’t big like they screwed up everything. It was just mostly little things that they got caught with, and it was kind of unfortunate. But they definitely bounced back.”