Knox Faculty passed a motion March 10 that will create a task force to “examine the procedures and institutional structure which govern and support Greek life.” Included in the motion was an amendment that will temporarily put a hold on any proposals for approval of new colonies until Oct. 31. Existing local colonies ATP, Women Of Influence, (WOI) and Gentlemen of Quality, (GQ), will be permitted to remain in existence, but will not be able to apply for national affiliate status until the task force reports back in October.
Opinions were strongly divided during the faculty meeting discussion, with many voices expressing support as well as concern for the potential consequences of the amendment.
“It allows us to proceed in a rational way without making any snap decisions,” said Professor Konrad Hamilton during the meeting. Professor Magali Roy-Fequiere felt the amendment was “a very positive development.”
Reactions among student leadership present at the meeting were mostly negative.
“This was first time in my four years that I’ve been disappointed, embarrassed and even ashamed of the faculty,” said senior Vice President of Student Senate Erica Jaffe.
Junior Chair of the Panhellenic Council Elaine Wilson was “disappointed, but not surprised” by the passing of the motion.
“Historically, Knox students do an excellent job of regulating the changes to campus,” said Wilson. “For the faculty to intervene so directly in student life is indicative of their lack of confidence in our decision-making skills . . . the aims of the task force undermine any genuine input that students have.”
Senior Student Senate President Brad Middleton called the amendment “a thinly-veiled cap on the Greek system” during the faculty meeting, later adding:
“Although it’s temporary, it still will negatively affect a fairly large number of students, and it’s really unfair to those organizations like ATP and WOI who have worked so hard to jump through the hoops.”
Junior Inter Fraternity Council (IFC) President Randy Geary, a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, expressed concerns about the amendment’s impact on female local colonies.
“Nationals basically require 98 to 99 percent of all faculty approval,” said Geary. “They may have created an environment where it will be hard to search for a national.”
Geary said he was glad to see the conversation starting, noting the importance of bringing non-Greek opinions into the discussion. However, Geary felt ultimately the Greek students were brought into the conversation too late.
Local colonies react
Members of the local colony ATP were upset at the news of the amendment. The decision will push back their schedule for national affiliation until at least the winter.
“If this is what’s happening, we’ve just got an extra year attached to our probation period,” said sophomore Membership Chair Perry Shaffer, referring to the period of time a local colony must exist on campus before applying for nationalization — a policy ATP says is unique to Knox.
“It seems like the faculty are not listening to the student body,” said senior ATP President Tali Haberkamp. “The faculty are going to be here [in a few years], but many of the students will be gone.”
Haberkamp said she sees ATP as an opportunity to address concerns of Greek exclusivity on campus.
“Of course it’s going to be exclusive, there aren’t enough options,” she said.
As a colony ATP is not allowed to actively recruit new members, and half its members will be graduating this spring, which may make it difficult for the colony to maintain it’s current size into next year.
“Because of our respect for the system the faculty and Panhel have set up we’re incapable of pushing forward and gaining new members,” said Shaffer.
The local colony was on track for a faculty vote in May before the motion was passed.
ATP cited over 700 hours of service in the last two terms as well as their average GPA of 3.32 as evidence they are a positive force on campus.
“We formed to bridge a gap between Galesburg and the Knox community,” said senior ATP Co-treasurer Anjali Pattanayak.
Looking forward, the colony will continue to work towards nationalization.
“We have to be ready, we can’t let it slack,” said Haberkamp, “We’ll just have to reevaluate time frames.”
Local colony GQ will not be affected by the freeze, as their faculty vote is not until after the task force is set to conclude, but senior President LaVar Merrell still had an opinion on the situation.
“I don’t necessarily agree with it but I guess it’s what they have to do, ” said Merrell, “I’ve seen other colonies work really hard and I’ve heard how much they want this and how much they want to be part of the Greek system. It would be a tragedy if they couldn’t complete this task they started a year ago,” he added. “It’s a hard process, I wish the best for them.”
For WOI Co-philanthropy Chair senior Tiffany Bradley, the initial reaction to the amendment was shock.
“We thought that it was odd that the administration would make the decision without talking to the people that would be affected by that decision,” she said.
Bradley felt WOI has been “working hard to do what they wanted us to do, but that wasn’t enough.
“We don’t want to become antagonistic, but we want to be heard.”
For now Bradley says Women of Influence will be “as active as possible” on campus.
“We’re going to work as hard as we can no matter what.”
This story was updated April 3 to include comments from Tiffany Bradley of Women of Influence, and LaVar Merrell of Gentlemen of Quality.