MORGANTOWN — The WVU chapter of the Theta Chi Fraternity became the second frat to join in the formation of an independent Intrafraternity Council (IFC) over the weekend.
Phi Sigma Kappa led the way with its announcement on Saturday. Theta Chi followed on Sunday.
The two groups cited different reasons for their decisions.
Phi Sigma Kappa is suspended through spring 2021 following the Reaching the Summit (RTS) review process. The decision, the fraternity said in its announcement, was “based on alleged incidents, by individual members, that had not yet been adjudicated through the student conduct process.”
Executive Director Nick Zuniga said, “It is clear that the university singled out Phi Sigma Kappa during their RTS process. That’s not what a co-curricular partner does. We remain committed to recognizing our organization and supporting them locally, in partnership with other organizations.”
Phi Sigma Kappa noted, “In recent conversations with the administration, the university has now agreed to no longer use the RTS workgroup to make recognition decisions.”
Theta Chi received a written warning regarding risky social behavior following RTS and was placed on social restrictions until Oct. 1.
That wasn’t the reason for the move, though. It cited the recruiting moratorium placed on all Greek organizations, with Rush Week postponed until spring semester.
“These restrictions single out fraternal organizations and are not being applied to other student organizations or teams,” it said. “There is no research to suggest that delayed recruitment addresses any of the challenges WVU has cited as rationale for such restrictions.”
In August, Phi Sigma Kappa was one of four fraternities that signed off on letters sent to the university announcing their dissociation with the school and their intent to form an independent IFC. The other three were Kappa Alpha Order, Alpha Sigma Phi and Sigma Chi.
Alpha Sigma Phi and Phi Sigma Kappa both rescinded their threat ahead of a meeting with WVU President Gordon Gee and other leaders.
Kappa Alpha, suspended pending completion of an action plan to raise its average GPA, continued to recruit members despite the moratorium and continues activities, according to its Facebook page.
Both fraternities cited their commitments to student health and safety.
Phi Sigma Kappa said each member will sign a brotherhood contract that outlines their individual commitment to the fraternity. It “addresses the responsibility for the social well-being and welfare of the member, prohibits the presence of alcohol products above 15 percent ABV in the facility or at any chapter event (except when served by a licensed third party vendor) and outlines safe programming for all chapter activities. Violation of the contract results in expulsion from the Fraternity.”
Also, the WVU chapter will serve as a pilot group for the new Comprehensive Brotherhood Development Program, which includes a new six-week Associate Member Program.
Theta Chi said it launched a Sacred Purpose initiative in 2013, which addresses such things as prevention so drug and alcohol abuse, hazing and sexual misconduct.
Theta Chi said it “urges WVU administrators to cease verbal attacks and intimidation of students and organizations who have taken a principled stands against restrictions on the timing of fraternity recruitment.”
WVU said through a spokesman that it was not prepared to make a statement on the fraternities’ actions at this time.
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