The Issues of Sigma Pi and Panhel

14 12 2008

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So, I really find this issue to be the rough equivalent of a powderkeg in the Greek System at the present time.

I find it odd that the Ivygate blog [3] would attempt to cover it, though. Judging from the number of “insightful” (“inciteful” might be more fitting) comments, it’s just as much of a powder-keg as I expected it to be.

It is well known that they were booted from the IFC last year for an incident stemming from a Thanksgiving Feast gone horribly wrong that resulted in two freshman requiring life-sustaining medical treatment for alcohol poisoning [1]. Dumb, dumb mistake by Sigma Pi. It cost them their pledge class for 2008 and forced them to undergo an evaluation from their national and their own alumni organization. Looking at the OFSA annual reports, Sigma Pi had 87 members in the spring of 2007 and 64 that fall. They were at that point the largest house in the system.

So, being completely nosy, I talked with the only Sigma Pi brother I know about how the reorganization process is going and the mood was one of “don’t ask about it, it’s been bad enough”. Their national did a review of the house, as did their alumni, removing those that they felt didn’t contribute to the betterment of the house.

Let’s do some quick math. There were 64 in the fall. No pledge class. One can say that close or slightly more than one third of the house in the fall were seniors. So, that would be about 21 or 22. We’ll go with 22, since I don’t have any numbers to officially break it down. That leaves 44 who would still be here this fall.

But, they have 29. Seems the reviews conducted by the local and national were worth the effort in that respect.

So, on the 4th, they were up for review, and the IFC voted to make them associate members (not a full member, but they still have voting privileges). However, their rush will have to be dry. I wish them the best of luck with that.

The debate seems to stem from the feeling that they were let back too soon, and they haven’t had enough time to reform. I can definitely see where that comes from, and I do wonder perhaps if the intentions of those who voted for a dry rush for the Sig Pis wasn’t so much out of showing diligence to safety measures as it was those houses were afraid that Sig Pi would rise up and take away potential pledges. However, I had a project meeting that evening, so the substitute rep for my house went in my place. It’s hard to open a meeting I never went to up for discussion.

***

Meanwhile, the Panhellenic Association (the governing council of sororities), which in this blog I have been a critic of, has reported its lowest registration turnout in recent history, sparking a series of pro-sorority articles in the Sun (though, I suppose that wasn’t as interesting as the back-and-forth caused by a former sorority girl who wrote an article intensely critical of the sorority culture).

My reaction: “Oh, really? No sh*t. Can’t say I’m surprised.”

Maybe it’s a cultural thing. Maybe it’s just a simple statistical anomaly. Whatever the case, with AOPi closed, this spells trouble for the other sorority houses, especially the one that will fall into AOPi’s place as the least respected house. Which most of us have a pretty good who that will be, but to spare myself form the resultant bitching from the sisters who might run across this blog, we’ll leave them unmentioned.

But this won’t just affect that house. If numbers are low, fewer girls will be interested in each house in general. And their numbers will suffer as well.

So, lucky for me, I happen to have friends in both of the co-ed fraternities- Sigma Chi Delta and Alpha Zeta. One of them made this joke to me: “We always have trouble getting guys, but there’s always a lot of girls who come to the house. During rush week, we could open the door at any given time, and there’s always a girl there who says she’s interested in our house.” I do believe off-hand that both of these houses have more females than male members.

In another example, consider the co-ops. Most are co-ed (sans Wari—and Wait Ave. just went coed). Glancing through the list of members on their sites, though, most would appear to have more female members than male members.

My thought is that Panhel is just not doing something right somewhere. Maybe it is a cultural thing; sorority girls are stereotyped as being shallow, bubbly/bitchy, and easy; not exactly good for P.R. Perhaps they just simply don’t draw women like they used to. But I guess they’d better step up the effort, or we’ll be seeing more chapters close or shrink in the near future.

[1] http://cornellsun.com/node/26714
[2] http://cornellsun.com/section/news/content/2008/12/04/ifc-votes-re-recognize-sigma-pi-fraternity-house-will-be-required-ha
[3]http://www.ivygateblog.com/2008/12/sigma-pi-bros-promise-fewer-near-deaths-are-allowed-to-officially-return-to-campus/


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