West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee sent a letter to parents Sunday regarding Greek Life activities on campus.
The letter comes after "several" fraternities disassociated with WVU. The letter said the move was an attempt to form an independent Interfraternity Council in response to the steps WVU took in the spring to change Greek life.
In it, Gee encouraged parents to speak to their students and discourage them from participating in Kappa Alpha. He said the organization disassociated with the university and has not cooperated with WVU officials or university protocols.
"Originally, Kappa Alpha disassociated with the support of its national headquarters," Gee said in the letter. "The executive director of the national headquarters has since rescinded its support. However, the local Kappa Alpha chapter continues to promote on social media that it is hosting rush activities today and throughout next week. In fact, they hosted an event this afternoon.
After several attempts with Kappa Alpha local and national leaders to have such promotion removed from social media, the posts remain in place, and indeed, escalated this afternoon to specifically invite freshmen. It is imperative that you know our campus has deferred rush, which means freshmen are not allowed to join until the spring semester. We do this to give our freshmen time to acclimate to college life.
Kappa Alpha’s actions are in direct defiance to University regulations and protocols. Therefore, I must strongly encourage you to speak with your students and discourage them from participating in any Kappa Alpha event should they be considering this option."
Gee also said two other fraternities (Alpha Sigma Phi and Phi Sigma Kappa) agreed to rescind their letters of disassociation on Friday. That followed the decision to schedule a meeting between officials, fraternity alumni and national leaders to discuss their differences. That meeting is scheduled for Tuesday.
"When a fraternity loses recognition from the University it means the fraternity can no longer participate in the WVU recognized Interfraternity Council or any of its sponsored programs," Gee said. "Chapters also are not allowed to participate in programs sponsored by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, such as Homecoming or Greek Week. Chapters may not participate in any University-sponsored activity such as intramurals, nor any activity sponsored by a recognized student organization.
The chapters will not be able to reference “West Virginia University” or use any of the institution’s marks or brands in any capacity. They are not allowed to reserve any space on campus for programming or business purposes."
Gee went on to say in the over 850-word letter that he supports Fraternity and Sorority Life at WVU.
"It is unfortunate that the actions of a few prompt me to write this letter when so many of our students are making good choices and advocating for the changes needed," Gee said. "However, the safety of our students is my first and foremost priority."
Gee told 5 News earlier this week that he was in a fraternity himself and sees the value the Greek community brings toa campus. But he knows the issues had to be addressed.
"Are we going to have problems, yes," Gee told 5 News. "Are we going to have some issues that we have to deal with, yes. But we have a process now and we have a structure."
You can read Gee's full letter and watch his interview with 5 News in Related Links (to the right on desktop, below on mobile).