Greek week: TKE makes a ‘comeback’

Sigma Phi Epsilon, greek week, price is right theme, greek week winners, friday, stage near union. -Photograph by Derek Adelman:

Sigma Phi Epsilon, greek week, price is right theme, greek week winners, friday, stage near union. -Photograph by Derek Adelman:

Amanda Pollard

Members of fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon were excited to participate in this year’s Greek Week after being suspended from campus for the 2006-07 school year, celebrating their return with a second place win.

Vice President of TKE Austin Preston said that with TKE’s return to campus, the fraternity is a tighter, more loyal group of students.

“Our brotherhood is a lot stronger than it was before. When you have a group of 75 to 80 guys, you have a lot of clicks,” Preston said. “I believe since we now have a strong core of people, we can slowly increase our numbers while still maintaining unity.”

TKE was suspended from campus last year when it rushed two students who, at the time, did not attend Sacramento State, which officials said was in violation of the university’s policy.

Since its return to campus, TKE has had no conflicts with its board or the school. TKE President Austin Hicks said TKE members are once again on the right path to portraying themselves in a positive light.

Along with its return to campus, TKE is allowed to participate in the Interfraternity Council’s Greek Week. During this week, TKE competed in several sports, winning first place in football, second in softball and third in soccer.

Greek Week included sporting events, parlor games, chariot races and concluded with Greek Sing, a show in which each participating fraternity and sorority performs a dance, no longer than 12 minutes, that shows its spirit for its organization. Each of the 13 fraternities and sororities that participated in the events won points for participating in and winning these events. The points are then added up at the end of the week and a winner is announced.

The Greek community finds that the events are not just about competition, said Karlos Santos-Coy, former member of Pi Kappa Alpha and program adviser for Student Activities.

“For one week out of the year, nearly 600 to 700 members come out together to add to campus life. For them, it goes beyond competition,” Santos-Coy said. “It’s a chance to bond with your organization and create a level of bonding between the different organizations. They become better members of our campus community.”

When the community holds an event on campus, it is an opportunity for the campus community to come together and when a student chooses to engage him or herself in any way with the community, he or she adds to the image of Sac State, Santos-Coy said.

Freshman nursing major Garrett Welsh said the campus community can benefit from events like Greek Week.

“The Greeks are doing a good job of showing people who may not want to be involved otherwise that they can have fun and include everyone,” Welsh said.

Hicks said TKE is excited for the opportunity to once again showcase its athletic abilities and create a bond with other fraternities.

“This is a time when the Greek community can come together and put aside differences. We can work toward a common goal, and that’s enhancing the way our campus and its Greeks are viewed,” Hicks said.

Preston said that the bond between fraternities is stronger than it would be if they were not engaging in competition.

“When we go to events together, it shows we are strong. The relationships are something you never stop working on,” Preston said. “Over time, those bonds can dissolve, but you have to work hard and make sure it’s not deteriorating.”

Sigma Phi Epsilon won the 2008 Greek Week title and its members were excited with the outcome.

“Our entire fraternity is really happy with how well we did. We had some great competition,” said Michael Helmick, member of Sigma Phi Epsilon.

Helmick said the Greek community was glad to have TKE back on campus because it helps to bring positive Greek exposure all around.

“They’re a great group of guys and having them back helps to expand the Greek community,” Helmick said.

The sorority Greek Week winners were Sigma Kappa and with Phi Sigma Sigma, which came in second place. In addition to Sigma Phi Epsilon winning first place and TKE winning second, Sigma Chi took home third place.

Suspicions generated from advisers of Student Activities that TKE allowed students from American River College to rush and become members of the fraternity. The advisers brought the accusations to TKE’s Board of Advisers.

Hicks said the accusations brought against the fraternity were true at the time they were made. He said two students who previously attended Sac State participated in the rush and initiation process. They were going to be allowed inactive status until they returned to Sac State.

Rush is a process in which a fraternity or sorority holds events for potential members to get to know more about the organization. After rush week is complete, fraternities and sororities accept bids from pledges and begin the initiation process. Active members invite pledges to be initiated.

The current rules set by the fraternity’s national organization state that TKE is allowed to rush new members who do not attend the college at which their chapter is established as long as these members have an inactive status. To attain an active status, the prospective member needs to be “in good standing at the institution that he is attending.” To be in good standing, a member must retain a 2.0 GPA and carry at least 12 units.

After it was brought to his attention that the students were in fact being rushed, Program Adviser for Student Activities Tom Carroll informed the board that this was in violation of the university’s policy.

Hicks said the board asked TKE to remove its pledges immediately.

“Basically, at this point, the board found out we were doing things they didn’t know about and that didn’t make them happy,” Hicks said.

Student Activities and the board requested that TKE no longer allow the pledges in question to participate in activities or become members. However, TKE allowed the two men to complete the initiation process.

“Some people felt that they had come too far. The process is really rigorous and we didn’t want to put them through it again,” Hicks said. “We were just going to wait until they returned to Sac State to make them active.”

The board met and decided that, for an undecided amount of time, TKE would remove the Theta-Upsilon chapter from Sac State until the board felt it was back on the right track.

Santos-Coy said it is important for a fraternity’s alumni to be involved with the organization. Santos-Coy said that because the board stepped in, TKE was able to avert further action from the university.

“It’s important to note that our Greek organizations take their responsibilities very seriously. Once (TKE members) realized there was a problem, they addressed it themselves before we had to,” Santos-Coy said.

The Greek organizations on campus each have their own sets of values and standards. As long as the chapters strive to meet high standards, they will succeed and be reflective of the kind of community Sac State wants to have, Santos-Coy said.

During the time TKE was suspended from campus, monthly meetings were held by the board in an effort to redefine what the chapter wanted to portray and accomplish.

Hicks said the board worked with members to redefine the positions held by officers and develop ways in which current officers could pass their information on to their successors. Hicks agreed with Santos-Coy in that a strong relationship with the board is what strengthens the fraternity.

“What led us in trouble before was that they were left in the dark a lot. I decided to give them weekly updates on what is happening, so they will be able to step in if we ever go down the wrong path again,” Hicks said.

In addition, Hicks said a good relationship with the school helps TKE to better focus on its community service and efforts to bring a positive image to the Greek community.

Amanda Pollard can be reached at [email protected].