Kappa Delta is moving into House 104, where the Live Lehigh: Fit Living community currently resides. House 104 was previously Phi Gamma Delta’s house before the fraternity was dissolved in 2013. (Jane Henderson/B&W Staff)

Greek life undergoes social, policy changes this semester


Lehigh’s Greek community has seen many changes this semester.

In addition to changes to Panhellenic Council policies, two fraternities lost university recognition and a sorority is relocating to a new house on the Hill.

According to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs’ website, a total of 21 fraternities and three sororities have lost university recognition throughout Lehigh’s history. Twelve fraternities and one sorority lost their recognition within the last 10 years.

Kappa Sigma fraternity lost university recognition in July and, most recently, Sigma Chi fraternity lost university recognition in November.

“I’m somewhat concerned for Lehigh Greek life,” Nikki Chellaswami, ’19 said. “I thought it was really surprising that they kicked off two houses within a semester, but this is obviously a trend that has been going on for quite some time.”

Some students feel Greek life will always be a part of the Lehigh experience.

Grace Eckstein, ’19, said despite recent conduct violations, Greek life will remain an integral aspect of the university. However, she thinks it might become less of a selling point for potential students.

In light of a changing campus culture, the Panhellenic Council is creating new policies to promote inclusion.

“Strict rules don’t work for our community,” said Molly Bankuti, the president of the council. “People can find ways to get around the rules. At Panhel, we want to change that and deal with situations from an ethical versus unethical standpoint.”

New policies and initiatives will change the recruitment process for a wider audience of women.

Up until this year, first-year students and upperclassmen were placed in the same recruitment pools. Now, a secondary quota has been put in place, meaning that sophomores and juniors who want to rush will be placed in an entirely different selection pool, so they are not competing with first-years.

Panhel is also making efforts to speak with chapters about becoming more LGBTQ friendly.

“We want everyone to feel included and encourage them to rush,” Bankuti said.

In addition to the chapters vacating houses as a result of lost recognition, Kappa Delta sorority will move into House 104 in fall 2018.

Lehigh plans to knock down the current Kappa Delta house along with Trembley Park to build the Bridge West residence hall, which will house up to 750 students.

Nicole Malofsky, ’19, the president of Kappa Delta, said Lehigh gave the chapter the option to move into either the previous Kappa Sigma house or House 104, which is the current home of the Fit Living community.

“We, as a sorority, voted to move to House 104,” Malofsky said. “The location is great, it’s pretty and has a lot of history.”

Kappa Delta has prepared for the move by creating a decorating committee that current and past members can join.

Malofsky said most members feel positive about the move. Though some seniors are sentimental about leaving the previous Kappa Delta house behind, most members are looking forward to the change.

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  1. Robert Davenport on

    It seems to be a shame that some alumni fraternity brothers, such as my freshman roommate, can’t visit their onetime home at Lehigh because of the irresponsibility of supposedly intelligent college students. Worse yet are those directly impacted by that irresponsibility. Does Lehigh need the course Common Sense 101?

  2. Gerald Frick '69 on

    It is a disgrace that Lehigh is killing the fraternity life so many of us enjoyed. In my case many of my lifelong friends are my brothers at Phi Gamma Delta. By giving our house to another living group effectively means that FIJI can never return. That is very harsh punishment to so many alumni who cherished out time living together in the Hut. It also means my connection to Lehigh is finished.

    • Amy Charles '89 on

      Eh…maybe it’s the bros’ behavior that’s the disgrace, Jerry. I’m sorry your younger brothers didn’t hold up their end of the deal, but maybe as alumni you bear some responsibility for that, too. Why do you let guys who behave like that into your club in the first place?

      Maybe also consider how times and standards change: what was kosher back in ’68 definitely would not fly today, what with women and minorities turning into people, and various destructive behaviors no longer regarded as being all that funny. Often because other people had to pay for them even back in the day.

      A mirror, is what I’m saying.

      • Fraternity Advisor on

        I agree Amy. Alumni play an integral part in sustaining their organizations through effective advising and oversight. Often times, the outrage from alumni comes little too late. FIJI lost University recognition in 2013 after two consecutive years of being rated a poor chapter in the annual accreditation process. In fact, FIJI had never received higher than a bronze rating since at least 2007-2008. Accreditation is an annual assessment every fraternity and sorority goes through at Lehigh. Metrics and expectations are made known to chapter leadership and alumni advisors in advance, and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs works with low performing chapter to help the students and organizations improve. So, Gerald, where were you in 2007 or 2008 or 2009 or 2010 or 2011 or 2012 or 2013? You and your alumni had an obligation as lifelong brothers of Phi Gamma Delta to ensure that the Beta Chi chapter would be successful. Lehigh owed you nothing. You owed FIJI everything.

  3. Amy Charles '89 on

    Well, this is interesting. Apparently when the chips are down, the bros will throw their own fraternities under the bus, saying that that’s where they learned to objectify women and treat them rotten. Difficult to say it’s a surprise, but it does give the panhel types promulgating the “gentlemen of [three Greek letters]” line kind of a hard time, if you ask me.


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