Moving on up: College begins selection process for new fraternity housing on campus
Fraternities at the College of William and Mary moved one step closer in the process of selecting the new fraternity housing Wednesday.
After presenting before a panel composed of faculty, administrators, housing board members and non-affiliated students, a fraternity was designated as either a top-five chapter or a bottom-four chapter. Within the top five, the fraternities will be randomly selected for the new fraternity housing spots 1-5, while the bottom four will be randomly selected for spots 6-9 at a later date.
The panel chose Alpha Tau Omega, Delta Phi, Kappa Delta Rho, Sigma Chi and Beta Theta Pi as the top five while Delta Chi, Kappa Alpha, Lambda Chi Alpha and Pi Kappa Alpha were in the bottom four.
Selections were based on awards, honors, community involvement, academic integrity, philanthropic and service activities, alumni support and institutional history. Last year’s Inter-Fraternity Council proposed the selection process.
The new fraternity housing complex will be comprised of 11 houses and one community building. Two fraternities, Sigma Pi and Kappa Sigma, are currently not eligible for the housing process. Sigma Pi failed to identify a facility board within their chapter and also failed to produce a letter of recommendation from their national organization, two requirements necessary in order to present to the panel. Kappa Sigma presented before the panel but was not allowed to select housing due to recent disciplinary action at the College.
“That doesn’t mean that they will not get housing, it just means that a decision on how and when they get to move forward will be postponed for a bit,” Assistant Director of Student Activities Jennifer Leung said. “Those are two groups that are having some conduct issues. Both groups have very good intentions on how to move forward in a positive way; they just need to demonstrate that those good intentions are producing results. In the fall, they’ll get to revisit [the issue]. They still have plenty of time — they just won’t participate in the selection that’s occurring this semester.”
In order to become eligible for the new housing, Sigma Pi and Kappa Sigma can emphasize improvement in any of the following areas: scholarship, community engagement, institutional structure and philanthropic and service activities.
“If Kappa Sigma and Sigma Pi do not find themselves eligible for a new facility in the Fall of 2013, the unused buildings will be converted into independent housing, much like many of the units are today,” IFC President Ishan Bardhan ’13 said in an email.
Lambda Alpha Chi was one of the fraternities placed in the bottom four after presenting to the panel.
“In the end it’s not so much the split that’s the biggest thing — we’re all getting a house,” former Lambda Chi Alpha President Adrian Bravo ’12 said. “Yeah, I’m upset, but in the end we’re all going to get great houses. It’s going to change the whole dynamics of Greek life.”
Beta Theta Pi was selected as one of the fraternities in the top five and has occupied Unit M since fall 2006.
“Having this new housing and a much nicer setup will do a lot for the Greek community in creating respect with the administration,” Beta Theta Pi President Nick Hampson ’13 said. “There has been this idea that, if we’re being asked to conform and asked to change our practices, shouldn’t we get something better than the Units? When you have nicer things to respect and you have a gathering place that is a little more presentable, it makes you feel a little more like you have something to look after.”
Delta Phi was also selected as one of the top five fraternities, but it has occupied a house on Armistead Avenue located next to Sorority Court since 1994.
“We decided that, just with respect to the new complex, that’s where the focus of Greek life was more than likely going to be, and I think it’s important — as much as we do love that house — to strengthen those inter-fraternal bonds, and I think that comes with living by the members of the Greek community,” Delta Phi President Jullian Harrison ’13 said. “I think the whole idea, and the reason the school is doing this, is to make it so it’s looked at as a Greek community, not just individual chapters.”
The new complex will also allow the fraternity to house more members. The house on Armistead Avenue currently supports seven residents, and the new fraternity housing will feature 17-bed facilities.
While Delta Phi aims to join the new fraternity housing complex, Alpha Epsilon Pi, which currently occupies a Lodge, will move into the house on Armistead Avenue.
In an effort to consolidate Greek life, Residence Life now requires that all fraternities interested in on-campus housing must live in designated fraternity housing, either in the new fraternity complex or in the Armistead Avenue house. Fraternities will no longer be allowed to officially occupy Ludwell apartments or the Lodges.
Assistant Director for Fraternity and Sorority Housing Shylan Scott currently oversees the Units and Sorority Court, but she has no designated authority over fraternities living in Ludwell or in the Lodges. With the new proposal, Scott would oversee all fraternities and sororities in authorized campus housing.
“We’re hoping to streamline and consolidate while providing the best service possible to our fraternities and sororities,” Leung said. “The best way that we can do it is to make sure that they’re all together.”
Because the new fraternity complex requires only 17 beds be filled, Pi Kappa Alpha will also return to campus, after opting out of the fraternity housing in 2009 due to an inability to fulfill housing requirements. Currently, fraternities are required to fill the 36-bed facility with at least 33 people, with each vacant spot costing the fraternity $2,300 in extra charges. In addition, at least 29 of the 33 people must be fraternity members, while non-members can occupy the remaining spots.
Three fraternities, including Pi Kappa Alpha, were forced off campus in 2009 due to an inability to fulfill those housing requirements. With the new fraternity complex, however, Pi Kappa Alpha hopes to return to the on-campus Greek community.
“We’ve been around since 1871, and we’ve added a lot to the Greek community,” Pi Kappa Alpha President Phil Hart ’13 said. “Being off campus, it’s hard to see the effects of it. We want to carry on the legacy.”
While smaller fraternities will not occupy the new housing due to size requirements, these fraternities will have a designated storage space in the proposed community building. The community building’s features also include a conference room for large events, an apartment for the Area Director and additional features for both fraternities and sororities.
Currently, construction is underway for an additional parking lot next to William and Mary Hall to replace lost parking spots currently located in front of the Units. The Yates Hall parking lot will not be greatly affected by the construction.
The ground-breaking ceremony for the new complex will be held at 11:30 a.m. April 26, but construction will not begin until after spring commencement ceremonies.
“[These new facilities] will allow the fraternities to really strengthen their identity, give them a place to call home,” Leung said. “They try, but they’re really struggling to call the Units home right now. We hope it will instill in them more pride.”