Lehigh's chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha was dissolved on April 17. The fraternity was the fourth Greek organization to be dissolved since July 2017 and will remain dissolved through Aug. 1, 2020. (Natalie Butler/B&W Staff)

Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity loses university recognition


Lehigh’s chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha was dissolved by the University Committee on Discipline, becoming the fourth Greek organization to be kicked off the Hill since July 2017.

According to the Lehigh Greeks blog, the fraternity had been placed on disciplinary deferred dissolution on March 22 after an incident on March 3 in which the chapter violated “multiple policies regarding alcohol.”

Pike accepted responsibility for all five charges of violations of the university code of conduct. Its dissolution is effective through Aug. 1, 2020

Thomas Day, ’20, the president of the fraternity, declined The Brown and White’s request for comment.

In a statement included on the blog, the committee acknowledged its appreciation for the fraternity’s responsibility. However, after going through “every single educational sanction” the university offers in regards to conduct, it was “too late” for the chapter.

“The conduct process is supposed to be educational, however, we have no more methods to educate this chapter,” the statement said. “Even though the chapter was not dry or on deferred dissolution during the Founders Day event, the chapter was in the middle of a hazing investigation. It is so disappointing that even through all of the conduct processes and investigations and hearings, the chapter was still unable to follow University policies during this event.”

Pike will lose all privileges to use university equipment and facilities, including its group housing. However, undergraduates living in Pike’s housing facility will not be immediately relocated.

Ian Davis, ’18, the Interfraterntiy Council president, said the loss of Pike is unfortunate, but it can be used as an opportunity to reflect on Greek life’s role in the community and as a learning experience for all organizations.

“We need to think about what we’re doing to create a better Lehigh experience for not only our own members but for everyone involved in the Lehigh community,” Davis said. “I think that the actions of one organization shouldn’t hinder the progress that we as a community have been making over the course of the past couple semesters. We are taking positive strides.”

IFC’s vice president of programming and campus relations, Brian Venter, ’19, was a member of Pike and therefore will have to vacate his position on the IFC executive board.

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  1. Not a great look for the University at all. If removing greek houses is the only remedy they can put forth in an attempt to create a responsible drinking culture on and off the Hill, then what is the point of having the greek community at all? The school needs to reevaluate the culture it wants to promote here, the Hill should be a place in which responsible and inclusive partying is cultivated, not a place where houses are kicked on and off every other month.

    • Fraternity Advisor on

      It truly amazes me how quickly certain students and alumni cry about a war against Greek life every time a fraternity or sorority loses University recognition or their charter from their national organization. How about the chapter and their members—undergraduate and alumni—take some responsibility for what goes on within the organization that led up to their chapter’s termination? Since this is an article about Pi Kappa Alpha, let’s take them as an example:

      Following two incidents involving alcohol within eight days of each other in September where Pike failed to call for medical assistance for someone in need, Pike was placed on disciplinary probation from October 9, 2017 through December 20, 2017, met with student affairs staff to audit their risk management policies and discuss the role of their standards board, and presented to other chapters about the University social policy. In November while still on disciplinary probation, two members of Pike were arrested for a “disorderly house” (I don’t know what exactly that means), though Pike was required to keep the University apprised of their off campus events and ensure proper risk management following that incident. Again in November, a student was hospitalized after drinking at a Pike event and the fraternity failed to call for medical attention as required by the medical amnesty policy. As a result, Pike was again placed on disciplinary probation effective December 15, 2017 through May 31, 2018, the Executive Board was required to present to the chapter on Pike’s risk management policy and Lehigh’s medical amnesty policy, and the chapter was required to present the Intervene program to their entire New Member Class and at least 80% of their junior class during New Member Education. In March, Pike was found responsible for hazing their New Members, intentionally furnishing false information to a university official, hearing panel, or conduct officer, and the unauthorized or illegal consumption, distribution, or possession of alcohol, and subsequently placed on disciplinary deferred dissolution, which they appealed as an unduly harsh sanction, though the appeal was denied and the sanction reaffirmed. Finally, Pike was involved in another incident involving during their hazing investigation which ultimately led to their pleading responsible and being dissolved through 2020.

      Where in that long sequence of events since the beginning of this academic year was the University plotting against Pike, or any other Greek organization? Creating a responsible drinking culture on the Hill isn’t going to change the fact that multiple students went to the hospital for excessive alcohol consumption at a Pike event where Pike failed to intervene and call for medical assistance. Forget about the punitive sanctions, you would think a review of Pike’s risk management policy or a presentation on Lehigh social policy or a presentation on responsible drinking or another presentation on Pike’s risk management policy or the conduct process overall would teach them a thing or two about drinking responsibly. You would think successive disciplinary incidents and the resulting warnings and probationary periods and second and third and fourth chances would jolt the students, or at the very least their alumni and their advisors, to get their house in order. Let’s analogize to these student’s first job out of college: Their bosses won’t expect them to have a full set of skills at first but they’ll help as the new associate hobbles along and learns and grows. The first screw up is overlooked. Even maybe the second, but the boss knows that maybe she can get the new employee on the right track with a little more mentorship. The boss gets frustrated at the third failure, but gives the employee another chance and tells him he needs to buckle down. In one ear and out the other. After the fourth failure, the boss realizes there aren’t any more resources to give and turns around and fires the new employee. Is it the bosses fault that the guy is now unemployed because she and the company did not create a supportive enough work environment (read: responsible drinking culture on the Hill)? C’mon!

      The students and alumni, not just of Pike or of AXO or of Sigma Chi or of Kappa Sig, but of the entire Greek community at Lehigh, past and present, need to stop passing the blame onto the University. The rules of the road are clear. Chapters get multiple chances to learn from their mistakes through educational sanctions and help from student affairs staff to turn things around. Alumni have a responsibility to step up and get involved as soon as their get a whiff of trouble. Take ownership over the direction and destiny of your Greek organizations, or else there is absolutely no hope for a successful future at Lehigh.

  2. Pingback: A History of Greek Life at Lehigh University | Tim O'Hearn

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