‘Sammys’ fraternity seeks return to good standing

Sigma Alpha Mu’s recognition would follow Phi Kappa Theta’s official return last semester


Nyla Owens

One of two properties that the fraternity Sigma Alpha Mu, or Sammys, operates within on a snowy day on Greenbrier Road in the Greek Row neighborhood. Sammys has been in operation with support from the fraternity’s national chapter for the past five years, despite being unrecognized by NIU in 2018. (Nyla Owens | Northern Star)

By Caleb Johnson, Lifestyle Writer

DeKALB – Spring semester brings new change as the Gamma Lambda chapter of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity, colloquially known as “Sammys,” begins the process of returning to good standing under the leadership of new president Farzeen Ansari.

The organization was unrecognized by NIU for five years following an undisclosed conduct violation, according to NIU. However, the organization was still receiving support from the national chapter of Sigma Alpha Mu and thus were still able to operate, Ansari said.

Ansari is a sophomore majoring in electrical engineering. He joined the organization in fall 2021 and was elected president at the end of the fall 2022.

Acquiring official support from the university is one of Ansari’s main focuses this semester. In addition, to help strengthen Sammys, it has joined the Interfraternity Council (IFC) after gaining approval from its national chapter. By being recognized, the organization would receive more access to resources and more opportunities for recruitment.

“I am really excited of being a part of becoming recognized by NIU and joining the IFC. With everything going on and COVID, it had a really hard impact on Greek life,” Ansari said. “I think my main goal would be to revitalize Greek life, giving back to the community and getting more attention to the problem.”

Ansari said Greek life is more than just hanging with friends for him.

“We still want to help kids out, bring them and show them our brotherhood, our pillars of trust and respect and trying to make more connections,” Ansari said. “College is about making connections and meeting new people and so that (Sammys) really helps out and treats us more like family.”

Ansari said he is excited for the future and is nearly complete with the re-recognition process. Currently, Sammys is awaiting approval from the Student Government Association.

Reinstatement is a lengthy process that requires different levels of approval. Clint-Michael Reneau, vice president of student affairs, said the group must make sure that it is in good standing with their group on a national level before the process can begin.

Requiring good standing means Sammys must make sure that all of its operations and activities are in line with their national chapters and councils approved policies, tenets and procedures.

Kelly Olson, assistant vice president for student development, said a fraternity or sorority can lose recognition for a number of reasons. These include low numbers, inactivity for more than two years or misconduct. In terms of misconduct, an investigation will be made by the university and the appropriate action will be taken, an organization can appeal if they don’t agree with the decision.

Regardless of the reason for loss of recognition, the procedure to get reinstated is the same. The group must make sure that it is up to standard on the national level and be approved by their governing organization.

Once an organization is fully active and ready to meet the set standards, it must be approved by the Student Government Association.

“The student government helps student organizations have the same standards, so the student government will look at their constitution, their bylaws, making sure that they have certain things within those to help make them successful,” Olson said.

Olson also said that reinstatement is a very collaborative process. The student government and the university will work together with the fraternity or sorority. If there’s any information or plan the university has questions about, the organization must agree to work with them.


Another fraternity, Phi Kappa Theta, also returned to active recognition last semester following an issue surrounding alcohol consumption and fraternity practices.

Evan Johnson, then president of Phi Kappa Theta, said he thought the sentence was unfair because it was the fraternity’s first offense, according to his public comments at a 2018 Board of Trustees meeting.