WKU, Greeks disagree on listing new members’ names

Mike Stunson

WKU administrators are working to place stricter rules on the publication of the names of new members of fraternities and sororities on the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

The NPHC, which consists of nine historically black fraternities and sororities, is unhappy with the actions taken by the administration.

Their president, Vashae Swope, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, said the NPHC does not want names of new members to be announced until they are unveiled as a newly-initiated member of their respective fraternity or sorority.

“The students they are wanting to publish the names of are not yet fully-initiated members,” Swope said. “For various reasons, those students might not become members.”

The NPHC now has a petition out, hoping to gain enough signatures from the student body to show the administration the student support for the cause.

Austin Wingate, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha and Speaker of the Student Senate for the Student Government Association, brought up the petition at last Tuesday’s SGA meeting.

“The petition started up to bring about awareness to the students about what is going on and how we need support,” Wingate said.

New members of organizations in the NPHC go through intake, which is a three-to-four week, nationally-mandated process where they learn about the history of their fraternity or sorority and get a better grasp of what they are about to be initiated into. NPHC’s pledging process is different than the organizations in the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Association.

When new members are unveiled as initiates, it’s supposed to be a surprise to the rest of the student body, Wingate said.

Charley Pride, director of Student Activities, said the administration feels it has the right to know who is going through intake as a safety precaution.

“We don’t know who is going through intake, so if they are doing some stuff in that three-week period that may not be approvable, then we can’t do anything about it,” Pride said. “They were only doing it that way for 12 or 13 years. Before that you used to know all of the new members.”

Swope insisted that there is no hazing going on during the intake period. She said it is a safety precaution even for themselves to not reveal the names of new members.

“They want to keep an eye on hazing and keep the students safe, but we feel it will have a reverse effect of keeping students safe,” Swope said. “Because of the culture of the NPHC on campus, we feel it will be more of a hindrance, and we feel people might be picked on if other people know they are going through intake. In the past, people just guess about who the initiates are and even those people were subject to being picked on, for whatever reason.”

Like Wingate, Pride also voiced his opinion at last week’s SGA meeting.

“I didn’t tell people not to sign the petition. I was just giving my side of the story,” Pride said. “They have been doing it this way for a long time, and it means a lot for them. But we feel it is time for change.”

Swope said she hopes to soon have a meeting with Howard Bailey, vice president for Student Affairs, as well as other administrators, including Pride, to present the petition.

“We want to show them it is not just people in these organizations who want this to change, but it is also people throughout the student body who recognize the issue,” Swope said.