High Street, Frat Row

Frat row on North High Street on Sept. 12, 2020.

 

In the coming weeks, Pi Kappa Alpha and Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternities will be reinstated at West Virginia University and will participate in spring recruitment.

Tau Kappa Epsilon’s Rho chapter was no longer recognized at WVU as of 2017 after an investigation involving the TKE International Headquarters outlined several bylaw infractions.

According to a letter from TKE’s National office, the Rho chapter was not following the fraternity’s constitution, failed to pay mandatory fees and was not compliant with WVU’s policies.

The Alpha Theta chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha was last recognized in 2018 following a resolution between the national organization and WVU where they found violations of the University’s risk management policy.

Pike (a nickname for Pi Kappa Alpha) had 14 violations from 2015-2018, according to records obtained by the Daily Athenaeum in 2018. One violation included a hazing incident in November of 2017.

Following the Office of Student Conduct’s decision, both fraternities are now eligible to go through the reinstatement process.

“We wait for members to graduate. It's usually about a four year period,” said Matthew Richardson, director of the Center for Fraternal Values and Leadership. “And then they're invited back to campus to re-establish an organization of new members into the organization.”

He added that WVU does not allow previous members of a disbanded organization to be in any currently active chapters within Greek Life unless they have transferred into WVU after the organization's dismissal.

“If there's anybody who's claiming to be a member of Pi Kappa Alpha from this chapter, or from an underground group or whatever, they would not be eligible to join. However, if a member was initiated at another school and transferred in. They certainly could be members,” Richardson said.

A fraternity or sorority is able to petition for reinstatement following the terms of Disciplinary Suspension, outlined in the WVU Center for Fraternal Values and Leadership policies and procedures manual.

The fraternity or sorority seeking reinstatement must maintain a working relationship with the Center for Fraternal Values and Leadership, as well as adhere to and satisfy all requirements outlined by the disciplinary sanctions.

Primarily, the organization will need to detail the purpose and activities associated with the group on campus, and those activities must be compatible with the Center for Fraternal Values and Leadership’s mission statement.

Organizations will also need a faculty sponsor for academic/scholarship planning, as well as proof of liability insurance.

Both Pi Kappa Alpha and Tau Kappa Epsilon, Richardson said, will receive full status as fraternities once they charter.

“Chartering is whenever they receive full status of a chapter of the organization from the national organization. That usually takes about one to two years. So they’ll be considered a provisional chapter [up until that point],” Richardson said.

At WVU, provisional chapters have very similar rules with the exception of not being able to have representation as the Interfraternity Council President.

Richardson also shared that representatives from the national organization will be running recruitment at both Pi Kappa Alpha and Tau Kappa Epsilon this spring. They will continue to be on campus throughout the semester to help educate the refounding classes.

Unlike Tau Kappa Epsilon, Pi Kappa Alpha has a house on campus owned by the national organization; however, it is currently being rented out to another fraternity that is active on campus.

“According to the national organization, they have no interest in going back into the house for a few years. So I don't know exactly what year that is, but they want to get here, build their organization, get the members acclimated to what it means to be Pike — what it means to be a WVU Greek. And then from there, they could potentially move back into their house,” he said.

Editor's note: This story has been edited after publication. The Alpha Theta chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha was incorrectly referenced as the Alpha Beta chapter, and Tau Kappa Epsilon was incorrectly referenced as Tau Sigma Epsilon.