TORCH GRAPHIC/AMANDA NEGRETTI, ANGELICA ACEVEDO, ISABELLA BRUNI
Five St. John’s fraternities are no longer recognized on campus as of the start of the fall semester after they failed to meet the university’s accreditation requirements.
Jodi Cox, executive director of Student Development and Engagement, confirmed to the Torch that the following fraternities are no longer within the school’s Fraternity and Sorority system:
Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity Inc.,
Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity Inc.,
Kappa Sigma Fraternity Inc.,
Sigma Chi Beta Fraternity Inc. and
Alpha Phi Delta Fraternity
It is not clear the specific reasons why each fraternity lost its accreditation for this school year.
Cox, in written responses to questions submitted by the Torch, said the university’s program for fraternities and sororities to renew their accreditation began in 2016. Greek Life organizations are scored annually on five areas: scholarship, service and philanthropy, organizational development, member development and SJU community engagement.
Any fraternity that receives below 69 percent in the scoring system is considered to be in “poor standing.” A second consecutive poor standing score results in “non-accredited chapter” status, which means automatic loss of their on-campus standing.
Members of Pi Kappa Phi were “shocked” when they heard the news of their non-accreditation over the summer, according to senior Christian Medley.
Medley, elected president of Pi Kappa Phi last spring semester, said he was under the impression that his fraternity would be recognized on campus this 2018-19 academic year.
“I was told in January when I became president that unless we showed improvement there could be problems,” Medley said. “Our nationals wasn’t notified.”
Medley said that since the January warning the fraternity hosted more events to better their status.
“I never really got an indication we would be kicked off, just put on a plan of action or something,” he said.
Simeon Ronaldo, a senior who would have been entering his second year as a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon, said that he and his “brothers” also believed they met their accreditation requirements before the spring semester ended.
Ronaldo said the news was even more of a shock because Tau Kappa Epsilon was one of the oldest fraternities on campus.
“We do a lot for the school, we have all these fundraisers, charity events on campus [and] kind of shine a light on the school,” Ronaldo said.
Tau Kappa Epsilon members have had “several meetings” with Cox and other university officials in recent months, Ronaldo said, but, “it hasn’t really gone anywhere.”
When asked whether there was a possibility for the fraternities to return to campus this year, Cox said, “The organizations who failed accreditation for two consecutive years will not be able to be recognized this academic year.”
Several fraternity members told the Torch they believe the accreditation process changed in recent months. Cox said that is not true.
According to Cox, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life completed scoring of the packets from May into June of 2018. She said the accreditation requirements did not change over the summer.
“The requirements have not changed from the debut of accreditation in 2016,” Cox added.
“Considering the program started in 2016, this was the first cycle of identifying organizations that either had two years of consecutive poor standing or non-accredited designations,” she said.
Sigma Chi Beta declined to comment.
Representatives for The Interfraternity Council (IFC), The MultiCultural Greek Alliance (MGA) and Kappa Sigma did not respond to requests for comment for this story.
The Torch was not able to find contact information for Alpha Phi Delta representatives.
Ronaldo believes that by removing these fraternities, the University will be missing out on an attraction for prospective students.
“A lot of kids I came here with that didn’t join Greek Life transferred or I just don’t see anymore,” Ronaldo said. “They don’t really get to enjoy St. John’s as a school they just come and go to classes but like for us, because of all the events we do we’re always on campus trying to make people aware that there’s other things to do … and that promotes people being [here].”
There are 11 fraternities that remain on campus.
“The majority of organizations were accredited,” Cox said, “and more than half earned designations of Distinguished Chapter or Notable Chapter.”