Tuesday, March 06, 2007

How Long Are You a Pledge?

Daily Pennsylvanian
University of Pennsylvania
Official or not, U. Penn fraternities extend pledge periods
By Lauren Textor

The deadline for initiating new members into University of Pennsylvania fraternities is today, but some fraternities will be running into overtime -- with or without official permission.

Under Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs regulations, pledging for both fraternities and sororities is supposed to last six weeks, after which pledges must be officially initiated. But about six fraternities have received official permission from OFSA to postpone initiation until after spring break.

OFSA director Scott Reikofski said that extensions are usually granted so that speakers who cannot make it to campus by the deadline still have the chance to visit during pledging.

Tau Epsilon Phi, for example, has permission to initiate by March 12."We wanted to invite a representative from our national [organization] to come, and he couldn't make it until then," said junior and TEP president Austin Pena.

However, some current pledges, who would not disclose their identities for fear of repercussion, say their chapter heads are pushing off initiation -- without permission."I know they aren't following the deadline. Sometimes, our pledge process continues even into sophomore year," one freshman, who is pledging a fraternity at Penn, said.

Another freshman, pledging a different Penn frat, said he has a schedule for pledging events that extends after today."I guess we'll be initiated after spring break -- they didn't give an exact date," he said.

Reikofski said there is "absolutely no excuse" for ignoring today's initiation deadline."Any chapter that goes beyond [today's] deadline without express written consent from this office will be fully investigated by the Office of Student Conduct for violation of university directives," Reikofski said, adding that their entire new member education program will also be looked into."If violations are found by either OSC or the National Headquarters, the chapters will very likely be placed on at least one-year probation status with multiple educational and punitive sanctions imposed," according to Reikofsky.

Sigma Nu President and junior Steve Bibu said that, although the nine Sigma Nu pledges are not yet initiated, they will be before the students leave for Spring Break.

Bibu added that, ideally, he would like the deadline for initiation to be later."The longer the process, the better to give the new members more time to adjust," Bibu said.

Pena, who is also the InterFraternity Council president, said the IFC does not monitor each fraternity's initiation process."

Each chapter submits a list of its new members to OFSA," Pena said. "It's not in our jurisdiction" to ensure that each fraternity holds initiation by deadline.

All eight sororities initiated their new members last weekend.