Music frat reclaims exclusive housing

Jasett Chatham

Northwestern’s chapter of Phi Mu Alpha will regain its right to pick who lives at 626 Emerson St. next school year.

In a statement e-mailed to The Daily on Thursday night, members of the chapter’s executive committee said the music fraternity had been informed of the decision by Residential Life earlier that day.

William Banis, vice president for student affairs, confirmed the decision.

“We wish them well,” Banis said. “I think it will be closer collaboration with their advisers and the Residential Life staff. I think it will be stronger and better than before.”

The music fraternity lost housing exclusivity last spring when it offered open rooms to six non-members, violating university rules. The fraternity received a letter April 5 from the co-chairmen of the advisory committee on housing and food services. The letter was sent on Banis’ behalf.

The fraternity’s executive committee and faculty advisers petitioned Jan. 27 to regain exclusive use of the building, according to the chapter’s statement.

“The entire chapter’s worked very hard to put ourselves back in position for this application and the entire chapter is very excited that we have been given this opportunity,” said McCormick senior David Storch, Phi Mu Alpha’s president.

This school year, the house serves as a dorm with a mix of Phi Mu Alpha members and non-members.

“Iota has suffered without the house,” the fraternity’s statement reads. Iota is the chapter’s designation in the national organization.

Without the house, events such as meetings, rehearsals and performances were held in other university buildings. The chapter loaned its grand piano to the School of Education and Social Policy for safekeeping.

“Most importantly, the sense of community shared by all the brothers has been severely damaged,” the statement reads.

Kyle Eck, the incoming Phi Mu Alpha philanthropy chairman, said it took more work to plan activities this year without the house, but he said he does not think it changed the number of pledges or the closeness of the members.

“Not having the house didn’t affect us,” the Communication sophomore said. “Not everyone lives in the house anyway.”

But Steve Hall, a member of Phi Mu Alpha who lives in 626 Emerson this year, said the dorm’s mixed environment made events complicated.

“It does affect it,” Hall said. “We have to think about the other people around and we have to include them in our activities as a dorm.”

The house is more than just a meeting place, the McCormick sophomore said.

“I think the main part of having exclusive housing privileges is we get a lot more brothers into one building and one place,” Hall said. “It gives us the opportunity to build a brotherhood and build a close relationship.”

Reach Jasett Chatham at [email protected]