Sun sets on Pi Kappa Alpha’s Trinity chapter

As of Thursday, March 19, the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity has been permanently removed from the university, with its charter being revoked following a two-year suspension beginning in October of 2014, following an unregistered party. The suspension forbade the fraternity from taking a pledge class, rushing or hosting parties, among other sanctions. In February of this year, Greek Council made an appeal to revoke the organization’s charter based on claims that the fraternity did not comply with the suspension. The appeal was upheld and the fraternity’s charter permanently revoked.

“A review of [an appeal to the director of student involvement] and Greek Council’s recommendation established that the organization did not comply with a previous two-year suspension sanction. As a result, the organization’s charter has been permanently revoked,” said Jeremy Boyce, the national alumni board’s chair of fraternities and sororities, in a statement regarding the decision.

The university issued a statement following the decision, stating, on three points, their compliance with the decision reached by Greek Council, and as outlined by Boyce.

“One: There are no grounds on which to overturn the decision of Greek Council as the organization has not complied with the two -year suspension. Additionally, the national organization supported the local chapter in violating the sanction. Two: It was in the campus community’s best interest to permanently revoke the charter of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. Three: The decision is in support of Greek Council’s self governance structure and its mission to promote a healthy fraternity and sorority community.”

According to Sharon Jones Schweitzer, assistant vice president for external relations, without the charter, the organization is permanently removed from Trinity.

“Now they are de-chartered. Their name is no longer on the website. They are not counted in the numbers of fraternities and sororities that we have at Trinity,” Schweitzer said. “This action eliminates the organization.”

Schweitzer also addressed the issue of associating with the disbanded organization, stating that if the fraternity continues to operate as an organization at Trinity, they are subject to punishment.

“They cannot continue to exist as a Trinity organization and students who continue to or are determined to be participating in an organization’s activity will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion,” Schweitzer said. “It puts these young men in a very precarious situation.”

Regarding their national status, Pi Kappa Alpha is still recognized by the national fraternity, with Brad Tenorio, the Pi Kappa Alpha chapter advisor to Trinity and San Antonio, stating, in previous coverage of the fraternity, the decision to continue the chapter.

“The national organization took a vote and decided that they would not stop this chapter from existing even if Trinity does not recognize us,” Tenorio said.

Tenorio also explained the current state of the situation, noting that they are still recognized nationally, with the organization behind [Pike], against what he feels was unjust action.

“Our organization stands behind us. They don’t feel that the university, and particularly the Greek Council and CCI action that their decisions against Pi Kappa Alpha were made not in accordance to their rules and how they’ve treated other organizations,” Tenorio said.

Current Pi Kappa Alpha leadership declined to comment at the current time over the decision from the university.

Schweitzer noted that the decision by Greek Council and the university was not against any individuals, although reinforcing that involvement with the fraternity, as a Trinity organization, would lead to punishment.

“Some of these men have served as excellent campus ambassadors, on athletic teams, as representatives of the university, in student government and in a lot of organizations. This time there are no official actions against any individuals through the organization,” Schweitzer said. “This decision to revoke their charter is also not a reflection on the many alumni who helped to bring it to Trinity and get it started, but they should be aware that if a student  continues to be involved in an organization on campus that is related to Trinity that this action will have consequences.”

Even though the fraternity is recognized by their national organization, the distinction between activity as a university organization or independently is blurred. Issues of what constitutes a party or get-together of members is still unclear, although without university approval the organization lacks the protection provided to other groups on campus.

“There are certain things that go along with associating with an organization that is sanctioned and supported by the university including insurance and certain trainings to minimize risk and liability,” Schweitzer said. “The university does everything it can to provide the best possible safety net and that safety net is no longer there for this organization not associated with the university.”

In response to prior criticism about the situation’s handling from various individuals, Schweitzer spoke about these claims, and said the university stands with the decision from Greek Council.

“I really can’t make any kind of judgement or say anything whether or not their punishment was fair compared to them against group “˜A’ or group “˜B,'” Schweitzer said. “The university felt that this was an appropriate judgement and decision based on the evidence it had and based on careful review of the submitted appeal.”

In regards to the fraternities charity event, Cycle for Life, Saturday, March 28, the university has allowed an exemption due to the prior commitment to the community and families involved.

“The university has given them a one-time exemption to be involved in this event Saturday,” Schweitzer said.