Unrecognized Greek groups protest exclusion

Two unrecognized Greek-letter groups are protesting their expulsion from a sorority-sponsored kickball tournament.

Sigma Alpha Mu and Sigma Alpha Epsilon, fraternities both unrecognized by the University, said they should have been able to participate in Sunday’s Kappa Kappa Gamma charity kickball event because they are students who are friendly with the sorority.

Sigma Alpha Mu attempted to form a registered fraternity three years ago, but did not gain recognition. Sigma Alpha Epsilon lost recognition in 1993. Unrecognized groups are not subject to University regulations and do not receive funding or campus housing.

Student Activities Center Director Tim Miller traveled to campus Sunday to halt the groups’ participation in the kickball game after receiving a phone call from Interfraternity Council President Ben Block. Kappa Kappa Gamma violated a Panhellenic Association statement prohibiting formal relationships with unrecognized Greek-letter groups by allowing the two fraternities to participate in the event, Miller said. The Pahellenic Association is the governing body for GW’s eight sororities. “I wanted to come and see what the situation was and felt it was important to enforce the Panhellenic statement,” Miller said.

Kappa Kappa Gamma leaders did not respond to requests for comment for this article.

Miller said Monday that he met with leaders from Kappa Kappa Gamma and Sigma Alpha Mu and planned to meet with the sorority again this week to discuss the situation.

SAC officials have not decided what actions, if any, will be taken against the groups. Miller said he would like to meet with all sororities to emphasize the importance of the relationship statement. The statement, which all eight chapter presidents signed last April, calls for sorority members to “discontinue formally associating with unrecognized Greek organizations.”

Sigma Alpha Mu and Sigma Alpha Epsilon leaders said they disagree that their participation violated the statement.

“There is much disagreement between me and (Miller). Our meeting did not solve anything, and we both knew that going in,” Sigma Alpha Mu President James Daley said. “We have meetings scheduled throughout the week and we plan to fight.”

“We didn’t go as Sammy, we went as individual guys,” Daley added. “The fraternity did not partake in the event.” Brett Bold, social chair of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, said his group has not met with SAC, but that its national organization is in contact with the University.

“We were playing for a good cause and to have fun,” Bold said. “What happened to us on Sunday violated our rights and violated the rules of the kickball tournament.”

He added that members of his group also participated in Kappa Kickball last year as “a team not involved with GW.” Panhellenic Association President Courtney Tallman said past instances of Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s participation in Greek-letter events “is not the issue.”

“The Panhellenic community feels very strongly that unrecognized groups must not be allowed to function and misleadingly distinguish themselves as fraternities,” she wrote in an e-mail.

Under the relationship statement, events such as mixers, date parties, philanthropy events and community service activities are off-limits to unrecognized groups. According to the SAC Web site, there are four unrecognized groups, all fraternities: “APES,” Sigma Alpha Mu, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Zeta Beta Tau.

“Unrecognized groups are detrimental to the Greek community at large and not only give Greeks a bad image, but often overshadow the positive actions of the Greek community,” Tallman said.

-Caitlin Carroll contributed to this report.

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