Article Image
File Photo

Members of Greek organizations said they don't mind complying with a new set of standards that went into effect in the wake of drug-related arrests that led to the suspension of three fraternities last semester. The 5-Star Alpha Standards of Excellence Program requires increased documentation of fraternities' and sororities' activities, from academic performance to philanthropy, and mandate that chapters that fall below three stars will no longer receive full University recognition. Chapters that fall below two stars may lose University recognition. InterFraternity Council president Anthony Testa, CC '12, said he believes the increased focus on documentation makes the standards useful. "It's just good to know what all of our chapters are doing and to keep track over the years, and to track how many philanthropy dollars have been raised, how many hours have been contributed to the community," Testa said. "As the Greek community has grown, it was a necessary step forward in our documentation system." The standards were developed by the InterGreek Council, the Office of Residential Programs, and Fraternity and Sorority Life at the beginning of the last academic year and were implemented shortly after the December drug arrests of four Columbia fraternity members. Testa said there was no specific impetus for the new standards, which mandate that chapters be reevaluated every year. Dean of Community Development and Multicultural Affairs Terry Martinez said the standards were not a response to the arrests. "The different governing boards for fraternity and sorority life have been working on this document for some time, and they were actually going to launch this prior to the drug arrests," Martinez said. "The timing of this made it look like we did this because of the drug arrest, but it was an opportunity that presented itself for us to really stand behind and launch this." Testa said he has received no negative feedback so far. "Everybody seems to be adjusting well," Testa said. "Lots of chapters have been doing great work over the past several years, and it's just a good way of tracking what they've been doing now for our office." Details of what the new standards measure and the rankings Greek organizations receive are not publicly available. Psi Upsilon president Noah Pryor, CC '12, said the standards were necessary but still "very much a work in progress." He said he was unsure if chapters could get partial credit in certain areas and had been unable to clarify that point with the Office of Residential Programs. "I think it's a great thing to lay out expectations, but the way the current system is laid out is unclear at times," said Pryor, whose chapter is still on probation after two of its members were arrested in December. Testa said chapters would be allowed partial credit in individual areas. Sigma Nu president Patrick Dougherty, SEAS '13, said he thinks the standards are not meant "be a hindrance" to fraternities. "I think there's some intentional vagueness, just so that they're not so stringent," Dougherty said. Dougherty said the new paperwork can be a "pain" at the last minute but said it's "not that big of a deal" to ensure that his chapter is in line with Columbia's and the national chapter's standards. Overall, Pryor said he believes the new focus on documentation will have a positive impact on Greek life. "The Greek organizations do a lot of good work and philanthropic things, but it's not very well publicized," Pryor said. "If you can't measure it, then there's no way to publicize what you've done." Brandon Cristophe, CC '12 and a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, said he agreed that the Greek community already demanded high standards of its members and organizations. "For the outside community I think it [the new standards] may have been easier to notice, but they've been there all the time," Christophe said. Alpha Epsilon Pi president Matthew Renick, GS/JTS '13, said he thinks the standards ares a step in the right direction. "The Alpha standards will help Greek life achieve everything we set out to do," said Renick, whose former fraternity brother Harrison David is currently serving six months after pleading guilty to selling cocaine. "It's going to improve our image on campus, by seeing our community service hours, the money that we've raised—the Alpha standards will enable the community to better appreciate what we do." An earlier version of this article inaccurately identified Renick as CC '12. He is GS/JTS '13. Spectator regrets this error. Karla Jimenez contributed reporting. news@columbiaspectator.com

Interfraternity Council Greek Life drug bust
ADVERTISEMENT
Newsletter