One new fraternity recently received its charter, and another is in the process of applying for recognition under the Interfraternity Council (IFC) at Binghamton University. Before these changes, there were 15 chartered fraternities, some of whom are unhappy with the addition of new fraternities.
Delta Sigma Phi, a newly chartered fraternity, and Alpha Epsilon Pi, a fraternity that is trying to recreate a chapter at BU, are stirring up controversy among current members of BU’s Greek Life by trying to find their place in the Interfraternity Council (IFC).
The IFC is an executive board that is composed of all the officially recognized social fraternities at BU. Senior member of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity Jonathan La Sala, the former president, recently stepped down and has since been replaced by Reuben Pearlman, a junior in Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.
“I honestly think that it’s a big mistake,” La Sala, a political science major, said, referring to new fraternities joining IFC. “I understand why they’re doing it and I understand where they’re coming from, but I don’t agree with it at all. This can ruin Greek Life.”
According to La Sala, as president of the IFC his main initiative was to create an atmosphere conducive to competitiveness without fighting. With more fraternities coming into being after a previous agreement, La Sala fears that animosity could grow.
“It’s not the fact that it’s another frat, it’s that fact that they call themselves founding fathers, but they’re a bunch of guys who got together for a fraternity and signed a paper — that’s not being a brother and setting an example,” La Sala said. “Where’s the honor and integrity in signing a piece of paper?”
Delta Sigma Phi fraternity currently has 23 active members and is looking to expand.
“The idea came about late fall semester 2008,” T.J. Ciccone, vice president of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, said. “Around the middle of spring 2009, our nationals agreed to come meet us and agreed to recognize and sponsor us. Then in late November, fall 2009, we gave a presentation to the Fraternity/Sorority Leadership Board and we were recognized by the University and put on the IFC.”
According to Ciccone, coming up with the idea and being officially recognized as a fraternity on the IFC took a little under a year.
“The process itself was tedious and very time-consuming,” he said. “Pages of paperwork needed to be filled out, forms from our national organization needed to be completed and copied/faxed and phone call upon phone call had to be made.”
According to Ciccone, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, Delta Sigma Phi plans to start and sponsor many large-scale philanthropy projects on campus.
“We are founded on the idea of brotherhood, diversity and giving back to the community which supports us,” Ciccone said. “All of our brothers, of all races, religions, etc. become better friends and much closer than they otherwise would have through social events and philanthropic events.”
The newly chartered fraternity recently participated in Dance Your Heart Out, an all-Greek dance party on Feb. 5 that raised money for Haiti, Ciccone said. They also raised money at the Relay for Life last April and took part in the Chow Hunger Walk.
“Students who wish to join must have and maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA as required by the University,” Ciccone said. “Students must acknowledge the ideals of brotherhood and diversity we are founded on, participate in various philanthropy events and know how to have a good time. We are about more than solely community service.”
Steven Kaplan, the director of expansion for Alpha Epsilon Pi, a fraternity that existed on BU’s campus from 1983 until they had their charter removed in 2005, did not wish to comment on the up-and-coming group until after it has been officially recognized on campus.
“On the international level, [Alpha Epsilon Pi] is a Jewish frat. I think nationally they are about 98 percent Jewish,” Shana Kantor, the executive director of Hillel at BU, said. “It is part of the national fraternity council … but it was created at a time when Jews weren’t allowed to be in other frats, and it’s kept its Jewish designation. Most frats and sororities have rituals; the kind of secret stuff they do has a Christian basis. The rituals of AEP have a more Judaic basis.”
Kantor did not wish to comment on the process of getting Alpha Epsilon Pi chartered on campus.