Sunday, March 29, 2009

Above: A member of IFC reads the new proposal to amend the current scholarship section of the IFC constitution.

IFC Member and Scholars Update

At the IFC Congress meeting this past week a new amendment to the the IFC constitution was presented by IFC executive council on behalf of the Vice President of Member Education. This amendment would place greater emphasis on fraternities to focus on grades and scholastic pursuits.

More specifically this new proposition states that any member fraternity that does not maintain at least a chapter semester GPA of 2.5 shall be placed under scholastic probation. This probation would include a revocation of voting rights for the semester following the grade violation and any other stipulations or sanctions as determined by the Interfraternal Judicial Board.

Additionally, this amendment would require chapters would failed to meet a chapter semester GPA of 2.75 to have its scholarship chairman meet with the IFC Vice President of Member Education to discuss reformation of the chapter's scholarship program.

"Statistically guys in fraternities do better in their GPAs than guys who aren't in a house. So we're trying to maintain that," said Yuwei Le, Vice President of Member Education.

The IFC constitution may be amended at the next IFC Congress meeting by a two-thirds majority vote of all member fraternities in good standing.

Friday, March 27, 2009

ATΩ to lease out Kappa Sigma house

This past Wednesday it was announced at the IFC president’s meeting that the Kappa Sigma fraternity would be leasing out its currently vacant house. 

Since then the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity has announced that it will be taking over that lease, and thus taking a spot among the rest of South Greek.

Even with the news of the house being leased released to the public, the current Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) president, James Benson has kept fairly quiet on the matter. 

"Obviously, the chapter's very excited about it and they are happy to be back with a physical presence on campus," said Michael Carter, Alpha Tau Omega Housing Corporation President.

While the contracts have yet to be signed and made official, the ATO's Housing Corporation is confident in the transaction.

In past years the ATOs have held their rush out of sorority houses, such as the Delta Gamma house as recently as this last spring rush.

With the addition of living in a substantial building, (even if it only for a limited time) ATO could see a big jump in the number men they sign this coming fall. Overall, this could potentially fortify ATO as a chapter among the rest of the Greek community, and as an organization at the University of Oklahoma.

“I’m excited for them. I’m friends with one in my Spanish class, and they seem like a bunch of really nice guys,” said Courtney Marino, university college freshman.

The fortune that the ATOs are finding however has been at the expense of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. Although, Kappa Sigma’s departure from the OU campus was a decision made by Kappa Sigma’s national headquarters, and neither the university nor IFC had any influence in the matter.

"I've been house mother for the Kappa Sigs for five years now, and I've really enjoyed it. It was really a surprise, and it was really hard on a lot of the guys," said Brenda Garde, Kappa Sigma house mother.

NewsOK reports that reason from the pulled charter was because “a computer used to make fake Texas driver’s licenses was seized in October 2005 from a member’s room at the Kappa Sigma house, 1100 College Ave. Thirty-six people turned over their fake IDs during an amnesty period.”

By whatever means it happened, this negative event has become a very positive event for the ATOs. Even the Garde thinks that though this is a sad time for the Kappa Sigma house, she knows that there are many positive aspects of this transaction.

"I met about 20 of [the ATOs] when they came and had a tour of the place. They reminded me a lot of the Kappa Sigs, but then fraternity guys are a lot alike I think. But they seem like really great guys," said Garde.

Once the ATOs already called South Greek home, in what is now the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority house, at 1411 Elm Avenue. For whatever reason that Kappa Sigma is now off campus, ATO is certainly benefiting. However, it is a wonder why ATO has not gone on ahead and built their own house.

“Some time last semester I read a story in the Daily that said that Norman passed a law that prevented any more Greek houses from being built,” said Nikkole Zwolenik, public relations sophomore.

According to the city of Norman zoning ordinance, there is some legitimacy to this claim of housing regulation. There is a restriction that has been part of the zoning ordinance since 1954 that was issued to deal with complaints generally revolving around traffic, noise, and parking.

Under the “three unrelated person ordinance,” no more than three people of varying last names can reside in a single-family dwelling. This includes three unrelated persons living together in a quasi-unit quarter.

“I asked my friend who’s a FIJI if that would effect anything with them because they’re rebuilding their house, but apparently it doesn’t. I thought that was why ATO hadn’t built their own house yet,” said Zwolenik.

The city of Norman defines a quasi-unit quarter as a unit of dwelling space that shares common living and kitchen facilities (similar to a fraternity house). However, this specifically excludes sorority or fraternity houses. Fraternity and sorority houses are classified as R-3 residential units, which are exempt from this ordinance.

Whether or not the ATOs build their own house or not, for the next two to five years they will have a secure spot amid the rest of the quickly growing Greek community. 

The ATOs will take over the full lease June 1 and will move in at the beginning of the next fall semester.

Above: Alpha Tau Omega's Housing Corporation President, Michael Carter comments on ATOs current leasing status. Featured is the Kappa Sigma house in which the ATOs will be leasing out for the next couple of years.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

IFC Scholarship Program Revised

During fraternity rush it is promoted that men in fraternities statistically fare better overall GPAs than those who choose not to rush. To ensure that houses are maintaing this status quo, IFC's Vice President of Membership Education, Yuwei Le, is revamping the current scholars program.

Currently there are two fraternity houses (Phi Kappa Psi and Phi Kappa Sigma) who are below a 2.5 house-average GPA. This facelift is to ensure that all 17 of OU's fraternity houses meet this 2.5 expectation.

"Guys who are active in their fraternities have a lot to do, but we do better because we are in a house. Most houses have study hours, and require minimum GPAs to stay members," Le said.

With more attention focused on student's grades this year, come fall rush IFC may truly be able to say that everyone of the fraternity houses on campus actively excel in the one area every student at OU is here for: school.

Above: IFC Vice President of Membership Education, Yuwei Le, describes a little of what his position will entail for the coming year.

Suspensions Made Legal by Judicial Board

This week it was announced that IFC's Judicial Board has added a suspension clause to the IFC by-laws. This clause will give more power to IFC's Judicial Board as a general body, over the University's fraternity system as a whole.

The clause will specifically restrict offending houses from participating in rush, intramurals and hosting or participating in social events including, but not limited to: date parties, social mixers, Homecoming, U-Sing, and Scandals.

"I don't like how much control this gives IFC. The way I see it, this could be a door for IFC to become very political," Joe Gerba, electrical engineering junior, said.

Currently, the Judicial Board is still considering adding expulsion proceedings to further establish IFC regulation over individual houses. These measures are being enacted as a means of unifying the fraternal system as a body with IFC at the head, rather than just a random collection of parts.

Above: Owen Hartley, economics and supply chain management junior, explains his concern for the new changes in IFC's judicial control.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Changes to Summer Rush Worries Some

This past Wednesday a meeting was held in the Henderson-Tolson Building to determine the future of fraternity rush. This results of this meeting had the potential to change the way fraternity summer rush is done as a whole, and could greatly affect the numbers of guys that sign to each house.

At the top of the agenda for this meeting was to decide whether or not rushees should be allowed to sign bid cards with houses during the summer if they signed up on the IFC rosters prior to June 1.

"Many of the larger and smaller houses were for this decision. However some houses were afraid that early signing could hurt fall rush numbers," IFC Advisor, Kevin Estep said.

To put this change into effect IFC would require 12 out of the 17 fraternity house's rush chairmen to vote in favor of the decision, but in the end this proposition failed.

Additionally, in a meeting held the week prior, a proposition to move fraternity rush up to the first week of school in the fall, and another proposition to begin looking into rushee/house preferences passed, and was confirmed by IFC Congress.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Guests sit, chat and enjoy chile cheese fries at the Alpha Phi sorority house. Thursday, February 26, during their second annual philanthropy, Fries with Phi.

Helping Hearts with Chile Fries

The Alpha Phi sorority celebrated their second annual philanthropy, Fries with Phi Thursday, February 26. The proceeds generated from this event benefitted the Alpha Phi Foundation in partnership with Cardiac Care.

What might seem like a counterintuitive idea - serving greasy french fries in support of cardiac care - has actually proved profitable for the Alpha Phi sorority.

"We were expecting a really big turn out, and we hired a DJ. We haven't totaled up our final profits yet, but I think we had somewhere around 500 people come out," Alpha Phi philanthropy Chair, Amy Keathley said.

Keathley chose not to be recorded, however here is one Fries with Phi guest's opinion: