Fredericton Greek Council: Looking for Recognition

With all that has happened within the last week, the sororities and the newly founded fraternity at STU and UNB have taken over the media with the news that they are not allowed to hold Greek Letter Organization (GLO) events on UNB campus.

“UNB is denying [GLOs] the right to UNB resources,” said Jeremy Keats, STU student and secretary of Psi Lambda Phi. Resources down at UNB include but are not limited to space to hold event as well as the permission to partake in events such as clubs and societies fairs.

“Even though we’ve been recognized by the [UNB Students' Union], UNB themselves has gone over the UNBSU’s head and has denied us the right to hold events on campus.”

It is to the understanding of the sororities as well as the fraternity that UNB is doing this because they have a policy that apparently bans GLOs from operating on campus. This being said, the enactment of this policy has not been enforced for a number of years, which makes the enforcement of this policy arbitrary.

When presented with Psi Lambda Phi’s lengthy constitution outlining their fraternity, the UNBSU ended up approving it. Within this constitution were detailed policies regarding discrimination, hazing, as well as information regarding the operational procedures for events.

“We are a professional organization,” said Keats. “We have tried to contact UNB in order to find our more information of this policy as well as trying to find out some sort of middle ground with the university so we can coexist peacefully, but they do not seem willing to talk.”

Matt Marr, a STU student and one of the 12 founders of Psi Lambda Phi, has definitely found something good within his short time being a member in the fraternity.

“I’ve connected more with the community and it has given me confidence,” said Marr. He says it has also made him feel better connected and closer to each member within the fraternity.

“Although we come from different backgrounds, it doesn’t affect how we exist as people and as a collective organization. It’s a lifelong bond between people – between brothers.”

Kaley Etheridge, STU student and vice president of Psi Lambda Phi, sees this as more than just an issue for the fraternity and the sororities themselves.

“This issue is definitely an issue to UNB students as well as STU students. The first thing we’re trying to deal with is the fact that the policy has yet to be enforced until this year,” said Etheridge.

There was a fraternity on UNB campus from 2000 until 2004, and the UNB sorority, Iota Beta Chi – Beta Chapter (IBX), has been a part of the campus since 2001.

“Fourteen years, and there hasn’t been an issue up until this year,” said Leigh-Anne Bleakney-Long, a STU student and vice president of Pi Alpha Gamma sorority.

Bleakney-Long and president of Pi Alpha Gamma, STU student Chenise Norrad, have been a part of their sorority since it was founded in 2011 and like IBX, did not have an issue holding events on campus until this year.

“I feel we cannot be accepted down at UNB because we don’t have enough UNB students, but since we cannot hold events on UNB campus, we cannot get more UNB students, which has started a vicious cycle,” said Bleakney-Long. “We can’t even promote our sorority down at UNB campus.”

“[The sororities as well as the fraternities] want to know where this policy came from and why it works the way it does. UNB has told us that the policy is based off of a substantive body of research,” said Etheridge.

The GLOs have done some research of their own from the last couple of years that Greek Life is actually beneficial to campuses. They’d like to know if the policy has been long standing, and if so, why hasn’t there been enforcement up until this year? They also want to know if the research has been updated.

“UNB is looking at these GLOs based on the research they have found rather than them as their own organizations and as individuals,” said Norrad. Between the three GLOs, they have raised thousands of dollars, not including what they raised during Trick or Eat this past Halloween.

Unlike UNB, the STUSU as well as the administrative staff at St. Thomas are working together in an attempt to ratify Psi Lambda Phi. Above all, though the fraternity has yet to be ratified, they are allowed to operate on campus and to use campus resources.

The sororities are ratified on STU campus and have no issues hosting events or using STU resources.

“The STUSU has made it clear they are interested in seeing our constitution as well as discussion the ratification of Greek Council,” said Etheridge.

Greek Council consists of the three GLOs on UNB and STU campuses. Each GLO sends two representatives from each organization to meet, collaborate, and work together.

Etheridge has a definite goal he would like to see the GLOs eventually reaching.

“From what we know at this point in time, there is a procedure that we could go through, [which is make a formal proposal].” said Etheridge. “The proposal would be brought to those who have arbitrarily begun to enforce the no GLO policy. While we have [the] opportunity to submit this formal complaint, the final decision on whether or not this policy would be lifted would be make behind closed doors and without the fraternity present.”

“We’re not asking for ratification from UNB,” said Etheridge. “The recognition from the UNBSU is enough for us. The ratification of the fraternity is not our primary goal; rather, we would simply like the right to hold events on UNB campus.”