Fraternity upset by treatment

By Sabryna Cornish

A fraternity is losing its Homecoming dance privileges as a result of an alleged fight, and the fraternity says it has not been treated fairly by the university.

A member of Kappa Alpha Psi allegedly was involved in a fight with a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity Oct. 1 at the Holmes Student Center.

Kappa Alpha Psi President David Mitchell says the fraternity is not receiving fair treatment or “due process” from the university regarding the incident.

“We were hanged first and then tried,” Mitchell said.

The fraternity is most upset with the way it was treated by university officials and the fact that it was not judged by its peers.

“White greeks are judged by their peers and the Black Greek Council is judged by Rick Clark (associate director of University Programming and Activities) and what he says goes,” Mitchell said.

According to sources, the incident began when a member of Kappa Alpha Psi and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha exchanged punches. The fraternities then separated the men and told them to leave the student center. The incident also was reported to DeKalb Police who were on duty at the student center that night.

The fraternity feels it has been punished unjustly because of the actions of one member of the fraternity. Director of University Programming and Activities Michelle Emmett said, “There is a special relationship with the university,” she said. “Greeks are held to a higher standard.”

The Kappa Alpha Psi member who was involved in the scuffle was the president of the fraternity at the time of the alleged fight. The fraternity members then agreed to pull the office from the man and give a different member the position.

“It was a one-on-one thing,” Mitchell said. “If one person goes outside and causes problems by himself, why should the fraternity suffer?”

About 200 alumni have been invited to the dance that was supposed to be tonight in the student center, Mitchell said. The dance is the only event that African-Amercians who are under 21 could attend, Mitchell said.

The Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity did not receive any sanctions because “there was no evidence presented,” Emmett said.

Emmett said because of previous problems at dances held in the student center, the university must think of students’ safety before anything else.

“We have dances as a social outlet, but groups want it for fundraising,” she said. “We’re not concerned about fundraising, and fighting is not acceptable.

“Organizations that have dances at the center have been told repeatedly each group and each individual member will be held responsible (for its actions),” she said.

Mitchell said the fraternity is “very, very concerned and upset” because it feels it could not tell its side of the story. Emmett, however, said, “I think an effort was made to get all the information (about the incident).”

Emmett said the policy regarding an organization in a fight is to take away its next dance date.

The fraternity appealed Emmett’s decision to Don Buckner, associate vice president of Student Affairs, who upheld the original decision. During the investigation, members of the fraternity requested to see their judicial files, but were denied. According to the Judicial Code, Chapter 2, section 2-2, however, “a student may obtain a copy of his/her disciplinary file from the Judicial Office.”

Buckner is allowing the fraternity to reschedule the dance because of its actions to stop the fight, but still maintained that it cannot have its dance tonight.

Mitchell said, however, that the Homecoming dance was its biggest revenue fundraiser.

The fraternity also was told it could have the dance on Homecoming if it gave up its two major weekend events next semester.

The fraternity then sent a letter to NIU President John La Tourette stating its case and asking for the system with which it was reviewed to be changed. La Tourette received the letter Tuesday morning and has not replied yet.

To add to the confusion, the fraternity was told by Emmett that it could not hold a dance at its house, located at 835 Greenbrier Rd., or anywhere in DeKalb.

Mitchell said the university has never closed a party off of Greek Row. “They want something (negative) to happen this weekend,” Mitchell said.

The fraternity maintains it will hold a party at its house at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and is inviting everyone and will deal with the sanctions that might be imposed by the university after Homecoming weekend.

Mitchell also hinted the fraternity will be taking further action if it is sanctioned for having a party at its house, but would not elaborate.

In the spring of 1992, a student was stabbed in the residence halls after attending a dance that was held at the student center. Dances were not cancelled after the incident.

Emmett said there is a dance scheduled Saturday at the Chick Evans Field House and “if something goes wrong at Saturday’s dance, that will probably be it for the semester.”

La Tourette’s office referred all inquiries about the incident to Vice President for Student Affairs Barbara Henley.

Henley’s office referred inquiries to Buckner, but Kappa Alpha Psi member Robert Taylor said, “Barbara Henley said she had nothing to do with the appeal, talk to Mr. Buckner.” Buckner was out of town Thursday and unavailable for comment.