Pi Kapp Forgoes University Recognition
After over a year of uncertainty, fraternity chooses to surrender charter.
by KRISTEN BENDER, SCOTTIE WHITELEY
This article originally appeared in The Tiger on September 16, 2011 | PRINT

Originally founded at Clemson University as Phi Alpha Sigma in 1981, Clemson’s Pi Kappa Phi chapter became national affiliates in 1988.

According to the chapter’s website, the “young, diverse and quickly-growing fraternity” has been consistently active and successful on Clemson’s campus, winning such titles as Best Overall Fraternity, Greek Week Champions and Intramural Champions.

Fast forward to Summer 2010. It was determined that Pi Kapp’s Clemson chapter violated the standards of the student organization alcohol and student organization conduct policy during a party at their off-campus house during the 2010 spring football game. As a result of the violation, the Office of Community and Ethical Standards (OCES) suspended the chapter until May 2011.

As with all student organizations that face suspension, Pi Kapp was expected to apply for re-recognition by the university. The chapter appeared in front of the student organization re-recognition committee, chaired by the dean of students.

Before a decision was released from the board, however, another incident report was filed with OCES on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011, citing a violation of Pi Kapp’s terms of suspension.

The re-recognition process was halted during review of the newest incident report by OCES. It was during this time that, as Eli Ker, Clemson’s associate director of fraternity and sorority life, said, “The undergraduate members of Pi Kappa Phi chose to surrender their charter and forgo recognition with the university.”

Ker affirmed that the former chapter is “not recognized as an undergraduate student organization” and reaffirmed that the removal of the chapter’s charter was not a

university administrative decision but rather one of the student members themselves.

Mark E. Timmes, Pi Kapp’s Chief Executive Officer at National Headquarters, commented on the events as they have unfolded. “From our perspective, we are disappointed that our young men chose to surrender the charter, but we are certainly glad they have made a wise decision to allow future men to reestablish the charter in a few years,” he said.

Ker reiterated that it was not the spring game incident with Pi Kapp in 2010 that facilitated the issues with Greek Life last fall semester.

According to Ker, “This current situation is about one chapter within the fraternity and sorority community, not the entire community. The challenges faced by this chapter, in

this situation, are not representative of the other 39 fraternities and sororities within the community.”

Citing the Pi Kappa Phi circumstances as “unfortunate,” Ker had words brimming with positivity concerning the prospects of Clemson Greek Life this year.

“I am still excited about the great work that is being done by our other organizations within the community. This summer many of our organizations were recognized with awards through their regional or international organizations,” he said.

“The university administration continues to support and commend this community and the 3,400-plus individual members.

Although the community does have some challenges, these challenges are similar

to those faced by our peer institutions. Also, Clemson continues to be a resource

for other fraternity and sorority communities. We are excited about the upcoming work

that is sure to be done this semester to continue to push this community

forward.”

These issues leave many wondering whether there is a future for Pi Kappa Phi at Clemson.

“We have a long history at Clemson University, and we hope to return to Clemson in the future,” Timmes said.

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