IFC reinstates fraternities years later

The Phi Kappa Theta house.

JESSICA ZHOU, Evergreen assistant news editor

The Interfraternity Council (IFC) Senate unanimously voted to reinstate the WSU chapters of Phi Kappa Tau, after three years of unrecognition by the university, and Pi Kappa Alpha, after five years.

The council voted to reinstate Pi Kappa Alpha on Monday evening and Phi Kappa Tau two weeks ago during a biweekly IFC Senate meeting, IFC Public Relations Officer Mitchell Weholt said.

Pi Kappa Alpha has an additional four hours of community service to complete by at least 90 percent of its members within the first eight weeks of the semester, with supervised social probation if they do not meet that amount, according to a news release. Phi Kappa Tau will be on supervised social probation for the remainder of the semester.

“It was based on their presentation on how they were going to integrate back into our community,” Weholt said. “We trust the university when they say these guys are ready to come back. We take that with a grain of salt.”

Pi Kappa Alpha’s community service sanction is related to the emphasis on community service in the chapter’s presentation to the Senate.

As associate members, neither chapter is allowed in-house social events. This restriction, Weholt explained, is to maintain the chapter facilities as spaces to work toward getting back on track until they are reinstated to regular standing.

However, Phi Kappa Tau’s sanction means the chapter is not allowed to hold social events altogether. Pi Kappa Alpha was gone for a much longer time, Weholt said, and had more time to redevelop.

Phi Kappa Tau lost university recognition for abuse of the student conduct system, failure to comply with university officials or law enforcement officers, alcohol hazing and violation of university policy, rules and regulations in November of 2014, according to a Daily Evergreen article.

Pi Kappa Alpha lost recognition for acts of dishonesty, infringement of a disciplinary sanction and reckless endangerment in October of 2012, according to a Daily Evergreen article.

The chapters will be recognized as associate members if WSU agrees with the decision to reinstate them. Following that, both chapters will approach the IFC Senate to request full membership.

Phi Kappa Tau President Chris Sterling joined the chapter three years ago and was a member when it lost recognition. Sterling said the chapter has evolved for the better.

Fraternities and sororities unaffiliated with WSU are not allowed to participate in formal recruitment, which presidents of both houses said was a difficulty during their periods of unrecognition. There are other benefits as well, such as programming events and support from the IFC executive board. Additionally, both houses faced negative perceptions from the rest of the Greek community.

“We could have given up after we got unrecognized, or we could have tried to improve ourselves for the better and show that we aren’t a bunch of degenerates,” Sterling said. “We are good, young men that deserve to be on campus.”

It was hard for Phi Kappa Tau to find a homecoming partner for next fall, Sterling said, because not everyone believed they could get recognized in time.

“I’d like to give a special shout out to the ladies of Pi Beta Phi for believing that we would get recognized before homecoming and choosing us as partners,” he said.

In the three years Phi Kappa Tau was unrecognized, Sterling said the chapter completed all community service hours and raised over $10,000 in philanthropic funds.

Pi Kappa Alpha President Nick Viola said the house’s status “wasn’t a good look to parents,” although he said pledge classes have remained consistent throughout the years.

When the fraternity lost recognition, the freshman members of Pi Kappa Alpha saved the house, Viola said, taking on executive positions as underclassmen. Five years later, the chapter consists of all new members.

“We had to recreate ourselves to make sure we can handle the bylaws,” Viola said. “I expect us to exceed those expectations.”