Monday, August 06, 2007

Fraternity eliminates pledging

Yes, it is SigEp they are referring to. This article could have been written at HQ, it is so positive on the BMP.
COLUMBIA-It has been three years since it was punished for hazing, and MU’s chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon has made a number of changes to become a better fraternity. Now, it has taken the fight one step further by eliminating pledging.

The fraternity commonly known as Sig Ep, which was disciplined by MU’s Greek Judicial Board for hazing in fall 2004, has adopted the national chapter’s Balanced Man program, an initiative that focuses on the growth and development of members from the moment they step into the house through graduation.

The program also throws out pledging, an intense period of initiation ranging from a few months to a full semester when potential members undergo rigorous education about the fraternity. In some cases, the rite includes hazing, verbal abuse and other rituals, such as cleaning older members’ rooms.
Unlike other fraternities, which have new members go through a pledge phase, new Sig Eps are automatically conferred member status, meaning they can vote on chapter issues and run for office. New members are mentored by older members and faculty who help them meet different objectives such as leading service projects and meeting the chapter’s 3.0 grade-point requirement.
To raise the fraternity’s standards, the directors began to recruit and evaluate new members based on ACT scores, grade-point average, campus involvement and overall character. John Hartman, the chapter’s alumni advisor, said Sig Ep is looking at the bigger picture.

“We’re trying to change the image of the fraternity system,” he said. “We don’t want that frat boy, ‘Animal House’ image. We want our fraternity to produce leaders.”
Adam Berkowitz, president of Alpha Kappa Lambda, said he understands the desire to eliminate pledging because the rite does have a bad reputation. But, he said, that reputation is not necessarily deserved.

“We absolutely do not haze our pledges,” Berkowitz said. “For us, it’s a growth stage. We educate about our house. It’s very positive.”

Berkowitz said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Balanced Man program gives Sig Ep a recruiting advantage, but he would advise potential members that other fraternities, such as Alpha Kappa Lambda, also value good grades and mentorship of younger members. Berkowitz agrees with Sig Ep’s mission to change the fraternity stereotype, but he wishes the chapter would share its ideas with other fraternities.

“You can’t change the fraternity stereotype alone,” he said. “We all want to change it. Few people know what we do for the community, the campus, what we stand for.”
Columbia Missourian - Fraternity eliminates pledging
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