A Response From The Tartan Ombudsman
Since beginning to work as Ombudsman I have come into contact with various people who feel that The Tartan has not fairly represented their organizations. In these cases, many courses of action can be implemented in order to correct any misinformation that is printed. After the article regarding the current status of Kappa Sigma Fraternity and their Rush policies, the Fraternity was upset with the stance that the editorial took. I decided that the best course of action was to allow them to respond. Joseph Phillips, the current President of the colony, was enthusiastic to respond in the following letter:
?So what?s the deal with Kappa Sig?? is a line I?ve heard more than once in the past few months since becoming President of Kappa Sigma. Sadly though, it seems that few students know what is really going on with Kappa Sigma, an organization which can trace its roots at Carnegie Mellon back over one hundred years.
This lack of understanding was apparent in [Fraternities take steps in right direction for rush, 09/07/04]. The article was off the mark in its claims of rush violations by referring to Kappa Sigma as an ?association,? and by classifying the Brotherhood as ?belligerent and defiant.? I am writing this article in attempt to inform the CMU community of the current state of affairs at Kappa Sigma and provide a clarification of the errors in that article.
After allegations of hazing last academic year, Kappa Sigma received punishments from not only the University, but also Kappa Sigma International, the governing body for all Kappa Sigma Chapters. Included in these punishments were loss of on-campus housing, required community service, and revocation of the Chapter?s 82-year-old Charter. In addition, all officers and all those found responsible were either suspended or expelled from the Fraternity. After losing almost two thirds of our membership, things were not looking up for Kappa Sigma at CMU.
There was one bright spot though; instead of disbanding the Fraternity entirely, Kappa Sigma International has placed the organization under colony status with hopes that the new leadership will turn the Fraternity around. Under the colony development program, the remaining Brothers are working to rebuild the Fraternity from the ground up, with our ultimate goal being to regain our Charter. These efforts include revising the pledge process, rewriting the academic program, and reviving philanthropic efforts.
We are in no way attempting to mislead first-years or trick them into joining our organization as stated in the article. We are seeking only enthusiastic, dedicated, hard-working new members. We have been honest and straightforward about our history and current situation.
What has been misleading are some of the points made in the Tartan. First, our organization is a Fraternity, not an association or anything else. Kappa Sigma is a staple organization in the Greek community on hundreds of college campuses, and our goals are similar to that of any other house: Fellowship, Scholarship, Leadership, and Service. Second, we are allowed and in fact encouraged by CMU and Kappa Sigma International to conduct Rush. Having new, actively participating members is essential to our re-establishment. Third, all members of Kappa Sigma are Brothers of Kappa Sigma. They are therefore afforded every right of a Brother, including wearing letters on campus. Also, accusations of Rush violations are irrelevant and insignificant. Inter-Fraternity Council, which creates and enforces rush rules, is not able to recognize Kappa Sigma for lack of a Charter and despite the fact that we are not under IFC regulation, we have nonetheless followed Rush rules with one exception: we advertised for two events before the official start of Rush. We believe that it is a significant exaggeration to refer to us as ?belligerent and defiant? for this minor incident.
Further claims that Kappa Sigma is trying to distance itself from the Greek community are absolutely unfounded. Since the beginning of the year, we have been reaccepted into Greek Sing, assisted the Greek community with first-year move in, and are entering three teams along with Delta Delta Delta Fraternity in the upcoming Dance Marathon to benefit St. Jude?s Children?s Hospital. In addition to philanthropic efforts on campus, we have recently affiliated with Pittsburgh Cares (www.pittsburghcares.org) to assist with various community service projects in the area. If Kappa Sigma doesn?t sound like an organization that is ?Rising from the Ashes,? I don?t know what does.