Pi Kappa Phi stays a fraternity, but with new sanctions

The cease and desist order placed on Tennessee Tech’s Iota Theta chapter of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity Sept.12 of this year has been lifted, allowing the fraternity to resume normal operation under a few sanctions. While under cease and desist, fraternities must stop all operations outside of mandatory hearings and chapter meetings.

Pi Kappa Phi was originally given the cease and desist order by Tech’s Office of Greek Life after allegations that an unregistered social event occurred on chapter property. Greek organizations are required to register all social events with the proper authority. The chapter’s Archon (president), Matthew Perry, claims the whole thing was due to a miscommunication.

Perry said he had previously been told by both the city of Cookeville and the Office of Greek Life that his home was not recognized as a fraternity house. In fact, he was threatened with a fine for displaying letters. However, after having a “small get-together” at the property, allegations of an unregistered event on chapter property were raised.

“At some point they decided ‘We are recognizing it as your fraternity house, and you had an event,’” said Perry. “It’s a lot of red tape. Evidently when the regime changed, the opinion changed. So on one side I can now use it for events, which is nice. On the other hand, it would’ve been nice for that to have been clear.”

Aside from a basic disagreement with the allegations, Perry also expressed frustration with the way the case was handled.

“I told Katie (Katie Williams, Greek Life coordinator) the day after the judicial hearing I didn’t appreciate how the kangaroo court was run,” said Perry. “There is a set standard in our bylaws for judicial proceedings. They didn’t follow it. They never do. Which is common—it’s not court. With court, that is their career; they know how to do it.”

“These men are in a volunteer position just like I’m in a volunteer position. So, yes, they may not do things to the book. But, especially when you’re handling something as serious as having the power of removing someone from campus, it needs to be taken not lightly. I’ve been in several where we weren’t in trouble where I felt things were taken very lightly.”

Now that the cease and desist has ended, Perry and the rest of Pi Kappa Phi are ready to get back to normal operations.

“We’re effectively on probationary standing with Greek Life. We’re completely free to operate the chapter. We have certain sanctions that we have to meet, such as alcohol awareness, which is something our national organization does on a per-semester basis anyhow, so that’s not different from how we would normally operate. The only thing that hit home was that they mandated that our house be dry until 2018,” Perry said. “I’m really proud of my guys that, coming out of effectively a month of suffocation, we hit the ground running.”