The Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity announced last month that it has abolished its pledging program nationwide, and will instead require that rushes become full brothers five days after receiving a bid. To replace pledging, Phi Sig has instituted a new "Brotherhood Program" which mandates chapter-conducted seminars for all brothers on topics including substance abuse, financial planning and values and ethics. The seminars, which will be conducted during most other fraternities' pledge periods, begin just after new members are initiated in mid-November and continue through mid-March. The seminar topics were chosen by the national committee this summer during weekly chapter meetings. In some instances, the chapter may decide to extend rush for individuals if brothers are not certain that a person is suitable for the fraternity. Chad Markle, president of the University's chapter of Phi Sig, said he was surprised by the national organization's decision to implement the Brotherhood Program. Two other University-affiliated fraternities Zeta Beta Tau and Kappa Alpha Psi have abolished pledging, as has the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, which does not have a University chapter. "Looking at ZBT and TKE, we had a feeling that it might be the wave of the future," said Markle, a Wharton senior. "[Members of the national committee] were very impressed with the results of ZBT and TKE. I wouldn't be surprised if some other fraternities would have a brotherhood program." Markle also said that the goals of the Brotherhood Program will not differ markedly from those of the pledging process. "We will use [the Brotherhood Program] to communicate our goals and moral objectives instead of using pledging." Membership without pledging will make the rush process more important, Markle said. Tom Recker, executive vice-president of Phi Sigma Kappa national headquarters, said last Friday that the halt of the pledge program was not a response to any specific pledging incident in a Phi Sig chapter. "I think all national fraternities are tired of the problems caused by hazings," Recker said. "We're at a point that we feel we've tried everything else." Phi Sig has been looking into alternatives to the pledge process and developing the Brotherhood Program for the past three years, Recker said.Comments powered by Disqus
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