IFC gets shot at autonomy

Rani Gupta

In a move toward self-governance in the Greek system, Northwestern’s Kappa Sigma chapter will propose its own punishment next week for a February incident that left an intoxicated freshman pledge in the hospital.

Kappa Sig national representatives, NU administrators and students met March 13 to discuss the disciplinary measures. William Banis, NU’s vice president for student affairs, gave the fraternity until Tuesday to decide its own disciplinary measures.

Kappa Sig President Dave Privitera said the fraternity is taking its punishment “very seriously.”

“We have the possibility of being kicked off campus,” said Privitera, a Weinberg junior. “That’s always a possibility.”

Banis has to approve the punishment for it to take effect.

Interfraternity Council President James Troupis said the measure is a “step in the right direction” toward the goal of making IFC more autonomous.

“It’s very important that we put forth a penalty that is appropriate,” said Troupis, a Speech junior. “If we really believe in wanting to be self-governing, we need to put down a punishment that’s not just a slap on the wrist.”

Sean Thomas, assistant director for Greek Affairs, said making fraternities independent benefits students in the Greek system.

“I am definitely a proponent for self-governance,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of learning that can take place when you empower students to hold their own community accountable.”

Thomas said he would be available if the fraternity wants to consult with him before submitting its proposal to Banis. IFC and Kappa Sig members will meet later this week to discuss possible punishments.

“IFC is going to serve as the mediator,” Troupis said. “I think we all know the direction it needs to go. I think they know what they need to do, we just want to make sure it’s an appropriate punishment.”

IFC members will seek independence by increasing the scope of penalties under IFC jurisdiction and by making the judicial board more efficient, Troupis said.

Troupis said Banis’ offer was unsolicited by IFC, and probably reflects controversy over recent university events.

“With the Lakefill and other things occurring, everyone’s understanding the importance of student input,” he said.

Banis declined all comment on Kappa Sig’s situation.

This year’s change follows complaints about the disciplinary process that came last year when the university kicked Delta Kappa Epsilon off campus.

Several DKE members said the university failed to seek adequate student input during its investigation of an incident in which two freshmen pledges were hospitalized with alcohol poisoning following an off-campus DKE party.

DKE President Chris Gorbos said the university’s flexibility toward Kappa Sig came too late for his chapter.

“It’s slightly hypocritical considering what happened to us,” said Gorbos, a Speech junior. “I’m happy Kappa Sig (may not be) getting kicked off because it’s one more fraternity, but I think it’s unfair.”