We write in response to the front page story, “Documents Detail Reported Violations by Greeks,” in the November 5 DA. The article, which is punctuated throughout with factual errors and misrepresentations, illustrates all too well why Phi Sigma Kappa and four other fraternities have elected to leave the University’s loving embrace and form an Independent Interfraternity Council (IIFC).  

Regarding errors: The WVU Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life (OFSL) under the management of Matthew Richardson deliberately misled The Reaching the Summit Committee (RTS) and now through the DA, it’s readers, by presenting a laundry list of bullet-style accusations as “Violations” and indicating that they occurred during the 2017-2018 academic year.   

While the report does use a simple key to indicate that many if not most of the incidents were reported to be either the actions of an individual or without any responsible party at all, this report fails to make it clear that most were determined to be false accusations or the action of one sole individual that was not representative of the fraternity (“not responsible”). The report also did the RTS Committee members a disservice by failing to note that many of the charges dated back four years.

Mr. Serre should not feel too bad about his foray into Fake News. The rest of the story is a testimonial as to why the time had come for an Independent IFC.

The accusations, in all their voluminous lack of detail, was created and manipulated by Matthew Richardson and presented to the Reaching The Summit Committee as a Bill of Particulars demanding justice against evil organizations run amuck. The Committee can almost be forgiven for rushing to judgement without anything even remotely resembling due process for these student organizations and their members.

The Committee, egged on by the ironically-named Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, declined to differentiate among legitimate violations, baseless accusations and half-truths; it embraced a theory of presumption of guilt in instances “in which nobody was found responsible”; and it bought into the University’s conjoined theories of guilt by association and the suggestion of some magical power by Greek organizations over the actions of individuals regardless of whether at a fraternity event, downtown or in their dorm rooms.

Phi Sigma Kappa and the other now proudly independent fraternities oppose the University’s efforts to conjure crimes where there are none and to assign blame to the innocent. This should not the be the role of an institution of higher education. The decline of the role of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, from enhancing the experience of WVU students to that of a Keystone Kops-version of the Thought Police, is tragic.

Mr. Serre’s article plays, perhaps, unwittingly into the WVU Administration’s destructive and narrow anti-Greek mindset. There is a more important story to be told, about student rights to freely associate without harassment. We, along with the other fraternities of the Independent IFC, look forward to the Athenaeum’s coverage of that story.

Sincerely,

Josh Rothenberg

President, Delta Chapter of Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity

Nick Zuniga

Executive Director, Phi Sigma Kappa International Fraternity