Vacant Greek houses get a new chapter
Published: Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Updated: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 21:04
Kappa Alpha Theta and Theta Chi have been awarded permission to move into the last available Greek houses on UCF's campus.
Four organizations were selected by the Greek Park Housing Selection Committee to make presentations, applying for the option to rent one of the two vacant houses.
The committee, made up of faculty, staff, students and alumni was responsible for reviewing the applications and presentations, compiling strengths and concerns for the Student Development and Enrollment Services Leadership Team.
The SDES Leadership Team reviewed the information provided by the committee and made the final decision and offer at the end of March.
Christine Dellert, of UCF News & Information, said the organizations were evaluated on the strength of their application and presentation. The presentations included membership information, supporting information, financial information and formal statements of support.
Factors evaluated included the organizations' chapter membership statistics, academic standing, past student conduct records, chapter growth and development, programs and activities, room rental guarantee, furnishing plan, and statements of support from alumni and the national office.
Theta Chi will move into the former Sigma Alpha Epsilon house and Kappa Alpha Theta received the former Sigma Phi Epsilon house.
The former Sigma Alpha Epsilon house has been empty for about two years. The national office closed the chapter after violation of university policies on hazing, drug and alcohol related misconduct and disorderly conduct.
Dellert said the university decided to purchase the privately-owned property which led to a thorough legal process, delaying the replacement of an organization within the house until now.
President of Theta Chi Ben Wallinger said, "Having a house is good because it gives the fraternity a centralized location, an opportunity for brothers to live together and a meeting area for chapter instead of trying to find a room in the HPA building."
Theta Chi's house will fit 38 beds, and Wallinger was given a move-in date of fall 2009.
"We have always prided ourselves on holding our brotherhood whether we had a house or not," Wallinger said.
Although the university will be covering the remodeling expenses of the houses, Wallinger said that dues are expected to increase but not at an excessive rate.
"We want to be able to accomplish everything as before, but we don't want to lose current or prospective members," Wallinger said. "We wouldn't want to lose our future president because of dues."
Dellert said the houses will be retrofitted with fire sprinkler systems and an updated fire alarm system, plus general maintenance and repair.
"The university now owns the two houses and will operate them like one of the residence halls," Dellert said. The Department of Housing and Residence Life will operate and manage the facilities.
Dellert said the organization will be assessed a parlor or house usage fee, while those students residing in the facilities will have individual student agreements similar to the residence halls.
Existing houses in Greek Park are owned and operated by their alumni house corporations.
Dellert said that Greek organizations' alcohol and drug policies are often stricter than the residence halls. All sororities are substance-free facilities, meaning there can't be alcohol in the house and individual student rooms even if that student is of legal drinking age.
Dellert said the organizations that presented and were not selected would have the first option for future on-campus fraternity/sorority housing options.
UCF has over 40 Greek organizations; 11 have on-campus housing. Dellert said there are plans of constructing a Greek Park II when it becomes financially feasible for the university.