West Virginia President Faces Off With Fraternities

Zachery Schmidt | Contributor

West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee issued a letter urging parents and students to avoid certain fraternities after they threatened to run independently of the school.

“It is unfortunate that the actions of a few prompt me to write this letter when so many of our students are making good choices and advocating for the changes needed. However, the safety of our students is my first and foremost priority. And I feel it is important that you, our parents and our partners, have the necessary information you need to help your student make the right choices, as well.”

Four fraternities — Alpha Sigma Phi, Phi Sigma Kappa, Kappa Alpha and Sigma Chi — individually threatened to act autonomous of the school in Aug. 10 letters, according to insiderhighered.com.

The school required Alpha Sigma Phi to do hazing educational programs, Phi Sigma Kappa was suspended for three years, and Kappa Alpha and Sigma Chi had its social events limited for this upcoming school year in its new rules. West Virginia also pushed backed the freshman rush process until the spring semester and increased Greek life participant’s GPA has to be a 2.75.

Gee signaled out Kappa Alpha specifically in the letter.

“Kappa Alpha’s actions are in direct defiance to University regulations and protocols. Therefore, I must strongly encourage you to speak with your students and discourage them from participating in any Kappa Alpha event should they be considering this option,” he wrote.

Alpha Sigma Phi and Phi Sigma Kappa retracted their letter a week later after West Virginia scheduled a meeting today between the disgruntled fraternities, according to the letter.

When a fraternity loses recognition, it can’t participate in the school’s Interfraternity Council, reference “West Virginia University” or reserve campus space, according to the letter.

Previously, West Virginia postponed spring semester Greek life activities because of complaints about “drug and alcohol abuse, physical altercations, over occupancy at events, disorderly misconduct, sexual misconduct and hazing.”

The West Virginia President encourages Greek life, according to the letter.

“Let me be clear: I support Fraternity and Sorority Life at West Virginia University. We have many outstanding fraternities and sororities who contribute to our campus community through leadership and service,” Gee wrote. “We have exceptional leaders in our Fraternity and Sorority community, and I applaud them for taking the lead to make our system one that is a safe and meaningful experience for our students.”

Tags : college greek life west virginia university
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