The brothers of the Theta chapter of Phi Kappa Sigma (Phi Kap) are still striving toward disaffiliation on their own terms, despite resistance from the College’s administration.
The Phi Kaps recently succeeded in passing an amendment to Greek Council’s constitution that outlined a set of procedures for national organizations seeking to go local and vice versa. However, this will have little influence on certain stages of disaffiliation they hope to achieve, as Greek Council does not control aspects such as division housing.
Prior to the passage of the Greek Council amendment, Laura Kane, director of student activities and Greek life, sent the fraternity an email outlining the implications going forward. Sean Smith ’16, president of the Phi Kaps, said the email emphasized the importance of the fraternity’s national character.
The email “said that the Kenyon administration was committed to honoring the charter of Phi Kappa Sigma, the national fraternity, as opposed to siding with the Theta chapter’s decision to disaffiliate and be a continuous local organization,” Smith said.
Smith said the email signified the Phi Kaps would be considered a new organization by the administration despite the Greek Council amendment, and that “Greek Council does not have the authority to recognize organizations of altered affiliation,” Smith said.
Smith later met with Meredith Bonham ’92, vice president for student affairs, who was involved in the discussion prior to Kane’s email. She told Smith that nothing was definite yet.
“We are continuing to have conversations with the Phi Kap leadership … in an effort to support them as they move forward in their decision-making process,” Bonham said.
Bonham told Smith it was important that the chapter’s initiative have significant support from its alumni, so he has been working on answering questions from alumni over Facebook and is drafting a letter outlining the situation.
“They all have concerns,” Smith said. “I feel if we can jump on the communication game … and really make everyone feel valued and a part of the organization and that we’re not making this jump without listening to everyone first, that’ll really help.”
Ultimately, the Phi Kaps’ decision to disaffiliate or not will be a product of conversations with the administration and the responses of their alumni.
“I think as of right now, it’s safe to say we’re working with the men to take more time to figure out what decision is best for them,” Kane said.