The attorney father of two members of ousted Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity lashed out at CSU and the Collegian in a letter written Aug. 30 for allegedly practicing what he termed “yellow journalism.” The letter threatened possible legal action if the university failed to meet his demands to suspend printing of the Collegian and other criteria.
Lawyer John R. Linton of Highlands Ranch wrote the seven-page letter on “Attorney at Law” letterhead.
He took issue with an article published in the Collegian the same day that reported four members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, also known as PIKE, being caught recruiting in the residence halls during an Interfraternity Council-sponsored event.
Linton said the Collegian article falsely disparaged PIKE members and that CSU has trampled their First Amendment rights.
“I suspect the Pikes involved believed the recently revised and published University policy on freedom of speech applied to all students, not just those who belong to University recognized organizations,” Linton’s letter stated.
The school expressed disgust with the fraternity in a letter to the campus community for allegedly wearing Greek Life T-shirts given only to chartered fraternities and sororities by CSU’s Interfraternity Council and distributing “PIKE Rush Dream Girls” calendar – which depicts girls in scant clothing – during campus move-in.
Fraternities without university recognition are not allowed to recruit at Greek Life-sponsored events, said Jarred Quintana, president of the Interfraternity Council.
Linton also claimed that, “members of Pi Kappa Alpha have been instructed to wear their shirts and other garments that bear their . fraternity’s name inside out.”
Quintana said he has never heard anything like that.
CSU officials said they’re taking the letter seriously.
“The university’s legal council is drafting a response and plans to send it soon,” said Dell Rae Moellenburg, a spokeswoman for the university.
The article said that PIKE lost its charter with the school in 2005 after allegedly participating in what students refer to as “Rise and Ralph” parties.
During the parties, sorority members were released from lockdown early in the morning and went out to eat and party, sources said.
But Linton said that the fraternity had nothing to do with those parties.
“The (party) that made the news happened to have been hosted at a private, off-campus apartment rented personally by members of . Pi Kappa Alpha .” he wrote in the letter, “(In) other words, it was a private party, not a function that was approved, planned or funded by the Pike chapter at CSU.”
But the university’s Greek Community Risk Management Policy says that “If a significant number of (fraternity) members are present” at an event, it could be considered a chapter function.
“If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, then it’s a duck,” Quintana said. “If it looks like a chapter function, then it basically is.”
Linton said he has no specific plan for legal action and that he has not yet received a response from the university.
“I’ve made no decision on whether legal action is mandatory or appropriate and I’ve made no timeline for it,” Linton said in a phone interview Wednesday. “I believe the university will have due concern and act in the best interests of the students,” he added.
Staff writer Aaron Hedge can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.