CSU Greek Life on the rocks

Sep 082005
Authors: JP Eichmiller

Almost a year to the date after the tragic alcohol-related death of Samantha Spady, the CSU Greek community took another major hit.

Eight separate sororities and fraternities were disciplined Thursday for a series of infractions involving alcohol which occurred during parties held on Sept. 1.

The parties, informally known as "rise and ralphs," entail consumption of alcohol until participants vomit. The gatherings were held within three fraternity chapter houses, as well as separate "annex houses." An annex house is defined by CSU as a dwelling where three or more Greek members are living together and faces the same rules as the chapter house.

"I am saddened that a small group of people are bringing such negative attention to the Greek community," said Mark Koepsell, director of Greek Life. "It is easy to lump people together, but I don't feel these students represent the Greeks as a whole."

The most severe punishment was handed out to the Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) fraternity, which had its recognition as a student organization completely withdrawn and will lose all privileges.

"We feel that the decision was made rather rapidly and without following proper procedures. This hasty decision has left us 'guilty' with no chance to prove innocence," said a statement released by Pi Kappa Alpha president Jason Schneider. "We are left wondering where the appeals process is, and why there was no due process allotted."

The losses facing the Pikes include: use of campus facilities, equipment or resources; participation in intramurals or in the Greek league; participation in sponsored recruitment publications, training and events; participation in the Interfraternity/Panhellenic Councils; sponsorship of any social or other events with any other university organization; ability to participate in the University Seal of Approval endorsement at Preview, on the Greek Life and Parents and Families Web sites and for recruitment periods; registration of football tailgating events; and use of Colorado State University's name, logo or symbols, according to a press release by CSU.

"Overall, we are very proud of the positive choices our students, including our Greek community, have made and the way they have conducted themselves during the first weeks of this semester," said Linda Kuk, vice president for student affairs, in the CSU press release. "Unfortunately, we saw an exception to this late last week… As in the past, the university is taking strong and decisive action and making clear that this type of irresponsible behavior is unacceptable at Colorado State."

According to the Greek Community Risk Management Policy, which has been adopted by the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council at CSU: "Events that are held at a chapter house or annex house must be alcohol-free. Members will not be permitted to drink from, or share their alcohol, during any event."

Other Greek organizations facing one-year suspensions include the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, Chi Omega sorority and Tri Delta sorority. The Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, Pi Beta Phi sorority and Gamma Phi Beta sorority are being put under social probation for one academic year. All the organizations facing suspension and probation will be able to reapply for full status at the end of the year.

Kuk stated three main criteria that were used in deciding upon the disciplinary actions. "First, we looked at the extent to which the participating organizations were involved, including the leadership and executive members; second, to what extent did the organization cooperate with our investigation; and third, what was the organization's past record of incidents involving negative behavior."

Samantha Spady's mother, Patty Spady, was dismayed to hear of the ongoing alcohol issues facing the CSU community.

"This is the exact attitude of alcohol on campuses that needs to be changed," Spady wrote in an e-mail to the Rocky Mountain Collegian. "It's unfortunate to hear that some of the fraternities and sororities on CSU's campus participated in a ritual that included drinking alcohol in excessive amounts."

The president of the Interfraternity Council, Kevin Selvy, insisted the organization is saddened by the occurrences, but believes they will lead to more positive changes.

"We need to put more effort into training our chapter leadership," Selvey said. "We've taken all of the (disciplinary) actions that we are going to, we totally support what the university decided. I think they've acted in a proactive way."

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