Letter to the Editor: Holding IFC members to a higher standard

I write to you to share some thoughts on Sunday’s story regarding the upcoming vote in IFC on the member status of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. During the vote, members of the Interfraternity Council will decide whether or not SAE should have its status changed from Associate member to Full-Member of the Council.
Speaking on behalf of my fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, I would like to share that we will be casting a “No” vote on Monday, as well as the rationale behind our decision.
The vote has been brought to the table by IFC because SAE has indeed managed to satisfy the technical requirements that could grant it Full-Member status. To us, however, this vote is more significant.
As members of IFC, we serve two functions. As a fraternity, we need to ensure that similar standards are upheld for all IFC members. As an organization that is part of the wider Northwestern community, we need to make sure that we listen, acknowledge and work on feedback we get from our peers.
We will be voting “No” on Monday on the basis of these two functions. It is our opinion that SAE has not managed to sufficiently engage with the wider Northwestern community to listen to its thoughts, acknowledge areas that need improvement and constructively work on making amends. This is problematic in our view, since — first and foremost — organizations should strive to minimize friction and ensure cohesion on campus. We feel that IFC’s requirements are lacking in this sense, and we will be working in the future towards improving them. We currently see campus engagement as a critical area which is missing from SAE’s application.
At the same time, we believe that SAE is currently not fulfilling the requirements to which all full members are subject. As full members of IFC, all fraternities are subject to rules and obligations ranging from attending Presidential Forum to more important ones, such as participating and constructively engaging in trainings facilitated by our peers. It is our opinion that candidates should fulfill similar requirements as part of their application.
In conclusion, it is important for me and all members of Sigma Phi Epsilon that we, and all organizations, always keep in mind that we remain members of the wider campus community. We should do right by our community by listening to and working on their feedback while also ensuring compliance with its requirements.
We look forward to sharing these concerns with other chapters and constructively engaging on this basis during the vote Monday night.
— Nick Papandreou, Weinberg sophomore