Robert Chernak, vice president for Student and Academic Support Services, met with the presidents of recognized fraternities and sororities Friday in response to the alcohol-related hospitalization of a Pi Kappa Alpha pledge.
Prior to the Pi Kappa Alpha incident, GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg met with presidents of Greek-letter organizations to address the hazing-related deaths at Louisiana State University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chernak said.
“Less than two weeks after the president spoke, we had a very serious incident in which a student of this University almost died. It could have been LSU, MIT and GW,” Chernak said.
He said fraternities and sororities must prevent situations like the one with Pi Kappa Alpha from reoccurring. A hazing-related death would end the recognition of Greek-letter organizations at the University, Chernak said.
Despite this, these organizations should understand that the University wants to support them, Chernak added.
Representatives of Greek-letter organizations questioned the University’s attitude toward them.
“There has to be this symbiotic relationship where we are doing it together. It’s not as though we are coming together to do these things so we can earn your trust, because we should have it right now,” said Panhellenic Association President Carrie Jablonow.
Chernak said the University is trying to help the Greek-letter organizations become stronger. “You don’t get stronger by being bigger,” Chernak said. “You get stronger by getting better.”
However, members of Greek-letter organizations questioned this University commitment. GW’s Coordinator for Greek Affairs position is unfilled, leaving more responsibility to Panhellenic, Jablonow said.
Chernak said the University is actively seeking a replacement.
Chernak also recommended publishing a list of authorized and acceptable pledge activities and selecting members more carefully to prevent future problems.
“There are many members that you say `I wish they never joined, I wish they never pledged.’ Well, it is your responsibility to weed them out and get rid of them,” he said.
“We are asking people that when they choose to affiliate to have a higher standard,” Chernak said.
This article appeared in the November 17, 1997 issue of the Hatchet.