The University of La Verne’s Greek Week may look a bit sparser this year with Sigma Alpha Epsilon missing from the festivities due to an academic probation.
Like every semester, Chip West, director of student life, has worked with the campus Greek organizations by looking at grades for their members, leadership, pledges and executive board.
“I was concerned when I saw Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s grades; they were a half a point lower than the rest of the Greek organizations on campus,” West said.
Taking the appropriate action, West called together a Greek Review Board consisting of non-Greek students, faculty, Associate Dean of Student Affairs Ruby Montano-Cordova and West.
The Board held a meeting on March 24 with SAE’s leaders to help the Board understand what was going on with their grades.
“The Greek Review Board is a positive system for when they have concerns,” said Loretta Rahmani, dean of student affairs. “It is a fair, judicious process.”
Probation means the group cannot participate in Greek Week, which will start next week; members with a GPA lower than 2.2 cannot hold a leadership position; removal from Greek events; and the group holds no internal governing vote. Also, West has become their new faculty adviser, with whom they will meet with each week.
Probation or being reviewed in connection with poor grades is not uncommon for many Greeks on campus.
Though West said this was the first such event since he started here 18 months ago.
Although there is no minimum GPA for Greek students, the organization’s president must maintain a 2.5.
West said the decline in this fraternity’s average GPA occurred, not because of fraternity activities, but from members’ competing priorities such as full-time jobs and personal problems.
The group had already begun to correct the problem before their meeting with the Board, he said.
“That’s what leadership is all about…to look at your organization and identify the problem,” West said.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon will meet again with the Greek Review Board in early September. The group will give a presentation on its progress and improvement since its initial meeting with the Board last month.
The action from the September meeting will result in either re-instatement, another semester of probation, or if the situation has gotten worse the group could be suspended.
The group is working on six areas to be successfully re-instated this fall including leadership, academics, risk management, membership development, brotherhood, and service and philanthropy, West said.
West plans to continue working closely with the group until the situation is corrected.
Although the Greek Review Board held a private meeting with the fraternity, other Greek organizations on campus heard the news by word of mouth.
As a result of Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s probation and being one of two fraternities on campus, Phi Delta Theta, which maintains a 3.1 average GPA, will be the only male Greek organization to participate in Greek Week.
“Them not being there and around hurts Greek life in La Verne,” said Ken Colby, a senior communications major and president of Phi Delta Theta. “Anything negative…falls into an ‘Animal House’ stereotype, which can be very hard to overcome.”
Colby and Iota Delta Vice President Jerrica Perez agreed the absence of Sigma Alpha Epsilon will not affect the women’s fraternities as much as the men’s.
Since Perez has participated in ULV Greek life, she has not seen a large involvement from the fraternity, saying her sorority and the other womens’ Greek organization would not see a big difference in Greek Week without them. Last year, Perez said, Sigma Alpha Epsilon did not participate due to an adviser conflict.
“In my opinion, Greeks already have a negative stereotype on campus,” said Perez, a senior criminology and speech communication major. “We don’t receive enough support…and we’re always proving to them were not just about partying.”
Iota Delta keeps heavy focus on academics including mandating study hours, keeping grade charts, turning in tests and charging for missed classes.
Phi Delta Theta has a similar scholarship program where if a member falls below a 2.5 GPA, he is required to have mandated study hours in the Learning Enhancement Center.
Colby said he’s seen the group’s active members supporting their fraternity brothers and working on improving their situation.
Perez, who was not familiar with the details of the probation, wished strength for the campus’ fraternities.
“The other Greek organizations will be upset only because they are all friends and they support each other; and it makes Greek Week more fun if everyone is there,” West said.
Montano-Cordova and Ray Kodadek, president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, declined to comment for this story.
Nicole Knight can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.