by Madeleine Thompson
With spring rush in full swing this week, Kenyon’s two newest Greek organizations — the Kappa Sigma Alpha (Kappas) sorority and Sigma Phi Tau (Phi Taus) fraternity — are hoping to build on the progress they’ve made since mobilizing in November 2012. The Delta Phi (D-Phis) fraternity, however, has been banned from rushing this year for “failing to complete sanctions,” according to Christina Haas, director of student activities and Greek life.
“I don’t usually give out specifics … but they had had an incident in the spring and as a result of that had sanctions,” she said. “With it being related particularly to pledging, that is why we’re not having them get new members until they have worked on that process.” According to Haas, there have been no other similar incidents during her tenure, but there may have been prior episodes before her arrival.
The D-Phis are currently going through a hearing process that is customary for any student or student organization charged with a violation of this nature. “They’ve been charged with failure to comply … so they’re going through a conduct hearing right now,” Haas said. “I can’t speak to what the outcome will be. If they’re not found responsible, I don’t see why they won’t be able to recruit people this semester, they just aren’t taking part in the formal rush process that Greek Council coordinates.” Current D-Phi president Henry Heuck ’15 declined to comment.
While the D-Phis will be unable to take on pledges for the
current rush season, Kappas and Phi Taus hope to grow their membership as they participate in rush for their second consecutive year. Both organizations were created a little over a year ago, and have had varying success overcoming the obstacles any new organization faces.
“Basically … they came and presented to Greek Council [and] spoke about what they did over the past year,” Haas said. “The Kappas have really matured over the year and the Phi Taus, on the other hand, they’ve matured in a different sense.”
Alana Lawson ’14, Greek Council vice president for external affairs, added that there would be “no special distinction between [Kappa] and any other sorority” now that the Greek Council has fully integrated them.
The Council made the Kappas official members since they managed to maintain enough interest and members during their year of probation and completed all of the requirements for membership. These include community service hours, a cumulative 3.25 GPA and sponsoring a non-alcoholic event.
“Last semester one of the greatest things was that [the Kappas] focused on the internal infrastructure of the group,” said Kappa president Syeda Showkat ’15, who was abroad in the fall. “This semester we’re focusing on pledging and we’re really excited about rush and … really reaching out to the community. This year we kind of have the hang of it.”
Since their inception, the Kappas have been heavily involved in Relay for Life and the Peer Counselors’ Dessert and Discussion series. “I think they’ve been really active in their first year,” Haas said. “Their numbers were comparable with every other sorority on campus. That says a lot about a group that’s only been here for a year.”
The Phi Taus have had somewhat more difficulty staying afloat. Most of the founding members in 2012 were seniors who, after graduating, left the remaining interested students to pick up where they left off. Phi Taus’ current president is Gibson Oakley ’16, who became involved early in the fall. Oakley hopes to realize the goal of the original group, which was to colonize with the national organization Phi Kappa Tau.
“The national organization came in [last semester] and kind of shut down what was happening before and just started fresh,” Oakley said. “It is a completely new group and we’ve been working with the expansion coordinator for the national organization.”
Since the Phi Taus were essentially starting over, they presented before Greek Council in December to request a prolonged probationary period rather than to formally join the Council. The Council granted their request, and they will have another semester to complete the requirements for inclusion.
“It’s going to be very different for those who choose to join Sigma Phi Tau right now,” Haas said. “It’s a very exciting time because these men are going to be their founding fathers.”
The Kappas share with Phi Tau the goal of becoming national, though they have yet to choose a specific national sorority with which they hope to colonize. “There are a lot of expectations,” Haas said. “I think there are some students, though, that find it really exciting to create something.”
Both groups hope to recruit new members during this week’s rush. Phi Tau especially is looking to acquire six more members in order to meet the national organization’s minimum of 15. As of the informational rush meeting held last Sunday for interested students, 114 men and 112 women were signed up over all organizations.