Fraternity house goes dry

GW’s Sigma Nu chapter must raise its cumulative GPA by next semester in order to host alcoholic events in its house under a policy passed by the fraternity’s national organization last month.The fraternity’s 59th Grand Chapter, a governing body that meets every two years, passed a policy mandating all Sigma Nu chapters hold cumulative GPAs above the average GPA of all male students on campus if the chapters want to provide alcohol at functions.Chapters that fall beneath the all-men’s GPA will be limited to one alcohol event on chapter premises each term, according to the policy.Chapters on campuses where the all-fraternity average is higher than the all-men’s average must exceed the higher GPA.Sigma Nu’s 2.65 cumulative GPA last spring was lower than GW’s all-men’s GPA, 3.06. The chapter’s average was also the lowest of all fraternities in GW’s Interfraternity Council, according to the Office of Greek Affairs Web site. The cumulative GPA of all IFC fraternities on campus was 2.96, according to the site. Under the new rules, the chapter must raise its cumulative GPA above the all-fraternity average in order to host events with alcohol.Until Sigma Nu’s GW chapter meets the GPA requirement, it will be the only dry fraternity on campus, said Tracy Anzaldi, coordinator for GW’s Office of Greek Affairs.Sigma Nu President Aram Zamgochian said the chapter will work to improve its cumulative GPA even though he voted against the policy at the national meeting.”Although I personally disagree with this policy, it does present an interesting challenge and we’re up to the challenge,” Zamgochian said. “This policy is not going to destroy our chapter.”Below-average cumulative GPAs are not new to the organization.”Dating back to fall of `97 the fraternity has at no time been at or above the all-men’s GPA,” said Tracy Anzaldi, coordinator for GW’s Office of Greek Affairs. “They’re ranked last out of the 22 Greek organizations on campus.”The new requirements were adopted as an addition to Sigma Nu’s existing alcohol and risk reduction policy, which encourages dry housing but sets no standards for alcohol use.The standard is even higher for chapters on campuses where the average GPA of fraternities is greater than the all-men’s average.Those chapters must match the all-fraternity average of the school to host alcoholic events. GW’s all-men’s average, 3.06, is higher than the all-fraternity average.Although the existing policy sets definite standards for GPAs, Zamgochian said the national organization recognizes that meeting the requirements is more difficult for some chapters than others.”Computer science majors might find it more difficult to make higher grades than, say, an English major,” he said, citing universities like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where chapters might have a harder time maintaining higher GPAs.Sigma Nu’s policies are set by a legislative convention made up of two voting members from each chapter, said David Glassman, Director of Insurance and Risk Reduction, a Sigma Nu organization.According to the new policy, Sigma Nu chapters failing to meet financial obligations will also not be allowed to have alcohol on chapter premises for a period determined by the national executive director of Sigma Nu.Zamgochian said his chapter is up to date on its dues to the national organization.Sigma Nu’s risk-reduction policy has evolved since the late 1980s, but the organization has not implemented a similar policy housing before, Glassman said.”Part of the mission of Sigma Nu is to create ethical leaders of society through the development of the mind,” Glassman said. “We look at alcohol in terms of how it affects grades, how it affects the leadership, and how it affects the well-being of the members.”Chapters have until the end of the semester to meet academic requirements before the policy goes into effect.

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