University changes Greek housing policy

Phi Kappa Psi, Phi Sigma Sigma and Sigma Chi will each receive townhouses on Townhouse Row next year, replacing the three Greek-life chapters that pled guilty to hazing and alcohol violations last month.

Student Activities Center Executive Director Tim Miller said the decisions were based on the last housing applications chapters submitted in 2009. Kappa Kappa Gamma, Pi Kappa Alpha and Sigma Phi Epsilon lost their townhouses following a 3 month-long investigation ending in January, leaving the coveted spaces up for grabs for the rest of the Greek-life community.

“As these vacancies occurred during the first year of the 2-year lease terms that were established during the last allocation process, we felt it was fair and appropriate to utilize these rankings,” Miller said.

Miller also announced Thursday changes in the Greek-life housing process.

He said housing leases will now run for 3 years instead of 2, and chapters will be able to continually add time to their leases “barring serious incidents or the chapter choosing to not re-lease the facility.”

Miller said he did not believe any one chapter would dominate a townhouse endlessly because all chapters eventually violate the University’s Student Code of Conduct.

“I think there will be other opportunities for other chapters to move into houses,” Miller said. “If history shows, every 4 years or so everyone has made a mistake and been held accountable.”

Miller said the changes to the system were made in consultation with chapter house managers and chapter advisers and have been in the works since housing allocations were set in December 2009.

“We’ve been thinking [about changing the allocation process] ever since we did the last process,” Miller said. “We got a lot of negative feedback about everybody competing every time and the negative competition among the chapters.”

Miller said chapters enter a housing agreement under a particular status, such as “silver” or “gold,”and will be expected to maintain that status or else risk impacting the length of their next term.

When housing decisions were released last time, Phi Kappa Psi was under investigation for hazing. The chapter still received University-owned housing because its assignment was based on the application submitted prior to the investigation. Because the current decisions were based only on the original applications, Miller said the results of the past investigation were “not relevant.”

Phi Kappa Psi was kicked off Townhouse Row in 2005 stemming from “misuse of the house,” Miller said.

“There are opportunities for chapters to learn from their mistakes and come back to being excellent chapters, and that’s what Phi Psi has done,” Miller said.

Phi Kappa Psi President John McNamara said his chapter and alumni members are all excited to once again be residing in Townhouse G.

“It’s a comeback story our chapter has been waiting for since leaving the Row in ’05,” McNamara said. “It really does speak volumes to how the University feels about us and it is good to be rewarded for the hard work and things the chapter contributes to campus every year.”

Laura Riegler, the president of Phi Sigma Sigma, said her chapter is honored to have the opportunity to move to Townhouse Row. S.J. Tilden, the president of Sigma Chi, did not return a request for comment.

Alpha Epsilon Phi and Sigma Delta Tau will move into the two townhouses vacated by Phi Sigma Sigma. Multicultural Greek Council organizations Sigma Psi Zeta and Kappa Alpha Psi will move into the houses vacated by Phi Kappa Psi and Sigma Chi.

Molly Finer, the president of Alpha Epsilon Phi, said her chapter is excited to be moving into its first townhouse. The chapter currently has two floors in International House.

“I think it will really help with our presence on campus and help unite us with the rest of the community,” Finer said.

Sigma Delta Tau President Lauren Katz echoed Finer’s sentiments, saying the house will help keep her chapter organized by providing space to hold meetings and would be a “great talking point” during recruitment.

Kappa Alpha Psi President Kwasi Agyeman said having a house as a multicultural organization would have a big impact on Greek life at GW. The president of Sigma Psi Zeta did not return request for comment.

The next Greek-life housing allocation process will take place this fall.

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