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Garrison: #SAEHatesMe

     I have been in a fraternity for the better part of four years. I pledged the first semester of my freshman year and I’ve never been embarrassed to wear my letters.

     In the past, I’d been upset about how fraternities were portrayed by the media.  They never seem to reflect on our philanthropy, our values we were created upon or the bond we share as brothers

But this weekend, I wholeheartedly agreed with how Greeks were portrayed in the media.

Writing about the Greek community in anything close to a negative light is the quickest way to get nasty emails and a plethora of pitchforks waiting for me outside my door, but this is something we all need to hear.    

Monday, a video was released showing the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter at the University of Oklahoma chanting a song that was racist and disgusting. I would transcribe what it said for you, but I don’t think The News’ copy editors would be too happy about printing the horrible things that were said.

The video is terrible, but something that needs to be discussed.

Fraternities have a long list of stereotypes and stigmas that come along with the letters. This situation only makes that worse. If I were a parent sending my child to a university after seeing this video, I would tell my son to stay as far away from the Greek system as possible. I wouldn’t want my son to partake in an organization that accepted such crass and intolerable things. These young men have a lot to learn and they will suffer the consequences.

Don’t think that these young racists are the only ones to be affected – not by a longshot. This is one step back for the Greek system as a whole. We preach the values we were founded on but allow this kind of behavior to come from our brothers and sisters.

How can we preach the good aspects of Greek Life while evidence of racism and misogyny is plastered all over the evening news?

I will, however, applaud the University of Oklahoma and the public for how they have handled the situation. The video was released, and by midnight on Tuesday, the chapter was kicked off campus by its national headquarters, publicly humiliated on the Internet and lost their house.

Within 24 hours of this disgraceful video being released, the situation had been addressed, and the guilty parties got what was coming to them; kudos to the University of Oklahoma and SAE Nationals for their swift response.

These guys deserved to be made an example of. I even wrote about the “viral wall of shame” in my last column. This will open eyes about just how quickly something can spread once it hits the Internet.  They deserved to be held accountable and it lets the world know that universities won’t stand for this kind of behavior.

I’ve seen situations like this swept under the rug too many times and it’s refreshing to see that the guilty parties will be held accountable for their actions.

This situation is a hot topic in the Greek community. Most people know about it and have seen the video. I hate to see a fraternity removed from campus because of my personal bond with my brothers, but these gentlemen deserved their punishment.

How long the fraternity was singing this chant is still a question, but according its official website, SAE was comprised of confederate soldiers in Alabama during this Civil War. This kind of news report only fuels the generalization that all fraternities are racist and exclusionary and ruins our credibility when we try and argue against it.

I am a fraternity man. My fraternity was not founded on or taught the virtues of racism and misogyny. We preach the values of learning, leading and serving. I wear my letters with pride and I know for a fact they do not stand for hate and bigotry.

You may generalize the Greek system because of the media, but I will stand by my creed and my mission statement. I will never abandon the virtues and values instilled in me because they make me better than the man I used to be.

To SAE brothers at the University of Oklahoma: Make sure and taste your words before you spit them out. You might not think they’re nearly as funny then.

Column by Zac Garrison, Senior from Franklin, Ky.

Fraternity celebrates Dr. Seuss Day

March 5, 2015 Features
Photo courtesy of Robin Brown Brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon spent Feb. 26 reading Dr. Seuss books to children at Murray Elementary School.

Photo courtesy of Robin Brown
Brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon spent Feb. 26 reading Dr. Seuss books to children at Murray Elementary School.

The brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon and students of Murray Elementary School celebrated Dr. Seuss Day and Read Across America Day over the week of Feb. 23-26. The Read Across America program promotes reading and honors the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

Renn Lovett, sophomore from Memphis, Tenn., and vice president of communications for Sig Ep, coordinated the partnership with Robin Brown, a kindergarten teacher at Murray Elementary and Sig Ep alumnus.

Members of Sig Ep read with the children on the mornings of Feb. 23-25 for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour each.

Then, Sig Ep members and Alpha Omicron Pi sisters invited Murray Elementary students and their parents to an evening reading session Feb. 26.

Children and the Murray State students read together, and the children’s parents were able to socialize in a separate room.

“The overall purpose of the event was to provide the children the pleasure of being read to in a fun and relaxing environment,” Lovett said. “We picked Dr. Seuss because he is an alumnus of Sig Ep – Dartmouth ’25.”

Sig Ep hosted a breakfast at Murray Elementary for the children and their parents Saturday morning as a culmination of the week of Dr. Seuss-themed activities.

“Seeing the kids smiling and laughing meant everything to us,” Lovett said. “We want them to enjoy reading and learning, just as we instill the exact same promotion for bettering our education as brothers of Sig Ep. The kids were outgoing and loved the involvement.”

Lovett described the week as a huge success; many Sig Ep members participated and there was a guest appearance by the Cat in the Hat, he said.

Photo courtesy of Robin Brown Ryan Rist, senior from Millstadt, Ill., reads to children from a Dr. Seuss book for Dr. Seuss Day.

Photo courtesy of Robin Brown
Ryan Rist, senior from Millstadt, Ill., reads to children from a Dr. Seuss book for Dr. Seuss Day.

This is not the first time the fraternity has partnered with the elementary school. Brown coordinates an annual pumpkin carving night with his class and his old fraternity chapter, and in the fall, the fraternity helped renovate the school’s playground. The week of all things Dr. Seuss though, impacted not only the elementary students, but also the University students in a positive way.

Stephen Carman, senior from Cape Girardeau, Mo., said he was confident the readings made a difference and that he was glad to help the children get excited about reading.

“The amount of joy that a Dr. Seuss book can bring to a child’s face is really an amazing sight, and hopefully we were able to make reading fun and help the kids start a lifelong love for reading,” Carman said. “It’s a great feeling to see kids’ faces light up about reading, and it makes it even more fun to be reading Dr. Seuss and celebrating a great Sig Ep brother.”


Story by Kayla MacAllister, Staff writer

Alpha Sigma Phi dominates water polo

February 28, 2014 Athletics, Intramurals
Fumi Nakamura/The News Alpha Sigma Phi’s Nicholas Pray brings the ball up with junior teammate James Nance, during an intramural water polo match against Lambda Chi Alpha Sunday.

Fumi Nakamura/The News
Alpha Sigma Phi’s Nicholas Pray brings the ball up with junior teammate James Nance, during an intramural water polo match against Lambda Chi Alpha Sunday.

Alpha Sigma Phi closed out the last day of intramural inner tube water polo with two wins Sunday, giving the men a second consecutive undefeated season.

In its first game, the team defeated Lambda Chi Alpha 14-11, despite being down a player.

Alpha Sigma Phi went on to beat Pi Kappa Alpha 15-11 later that afternoon to remain unbeaten since the sport started two years ago.

Joao Pelosi, freshman player for Alpha Sigma Phi, said it was a difficult day because the regular goalkeeper wasn’t there, leaving him to fill the position.

“On top of that, since we were a man down, everybody had to put a lot of effort in the game,” he said. “In the end, all of us were exhausted, but I’m glad we managed to pull a win.”

Alpha Sigma Phi won the initial race to the ball and scored within the first minute of the game, and the pace never slowed down. Lambda Chi held its own and responded with a goal on its first possession and kept the game close. Both teams battled back and forth until Alpha Sigma Phi found a commanding 8-3 lead at the conclusion of the first half.

Lambda Chi came out refreshed in the second half and returned most of Alpha Sigma Phi’s goals, decreasing the deficit. However, its defense was unable to stop Alpha Sigma Phi’s four-man power team.

“I was really proud of all of us,” Pelosi said. “I believe the only reason why we won was because none of us gave up at any point, and we fought through until the very end.”

A hit with both Alpha Sigma Phi and Lambda Chi, inner tube water polo is gaining popularity with Murray State students, but it still has a long way to go before it is as competitive as other intramural sports.

“Water polo here is not very competitive due to the fact that not many people are interested in it,” Pelosi said. “Some residential colleges and fraternities and sororities don’t even get one team in the competition. Having more teams to play against would definitely raise the level of competitiveness.”

With only 11 men’s teams and seven women’s teams, inner tube water polo only gained one more team than it had in its inaugural spring 2013 season, but that isn’t for lack of uniqueness.

“The main reason why I decided to play water polo was because I love swimming, staying in the water, that kind of stuff,” Pelosi said. “It’s such a different sport from all the others, and the fact that it’s played in water just makes it even more fun. Also, the fact that people really have a good time playing, not only with their teammates, but as well as with the other teams and even the refs, makes it a really fun sport.”


Story by Mallory Tucker, Staff writer

Fraternities, sororities pick new members in spring

January 31, 2014 News
Megan Godby/The News Eric Schall, senior from Nashville, Tenn., participates in IFC bid day.

Megan Godby/The News
Eric Schall, senior from Nashville, Tenn., participates in IFC bid day.

Spring recruitment was in full swing as Greek organizations on campus began to welcome new members into their chapters this week.

Re’Nita Avery-Meriwether, director of Student Life and the Curris Center, said spring recruitment has been successful this spring.

“There were a lot of students interested in joining Greek organizations this semester,” Avery-Meriwether said.

She said the sorority spring recruitment numbers increased this year and the fraternity numbers evened out.

The recruitment process for sororities began Jan. 23 with an open house that let potential new members mingle with women from the six sororities.

The women were broken into groups to go around and talk to each organization individually. More than 60 potential new members attended the open house.

Natalie Brewer, director of sorority recruitment, said spring recruitment is more laid back and relaxed than formal recruitment in the fall.

“I came in the spring myself and I see the advantages that it can have,” Brewer said. “You are able to get your foot in the door, see how to handle school and find out if you are ready to become involved more.”

Brewer said one exciting thing about this semester’s recruitment is the addition of Kappa Delta to campus. Kappa Delta took part in recruitment this semester after being reinstated on campus last semester.

Each of the six Panhellenic sororities were able to accept new members this semester. This was due to total being raised from 90 to 137 members for each sorority.

The total number of bids accepted will not be known until the second week of February when all organizations have given out their bids.


Megan Godby/The News
Members of Kappa Delta welcome new members at their spring bid day celebration.

Approximately 35 men who were interested in joining Greek Life attended the open house at the Curris Center Jan. 22.

Michael Dobbs, Interfraternity Council president, said spring rush is similar to fall rush for the fraternities.

He said the only difference this year was that the potential new members were broken up into groups to see every fraternity. The spring rush process is a few days shorter than in the fall.

Throughout the week fraternities hosted different events such as chili cookouts, skeet shooting and dodgeball tournaments to help get better acquainted with new members.

Thirty-five bids were accepted from new members Monday, Dobbs said.

Dobbs said by getting involved in different organizations such as Greek Life, students are able to become more connected to other students and the campus as a whole.

“Greeks organizations or any student organization can help you find a group of people that share similar interests with you,” Dobbs said. “There is connections, networking and most importantly a place to belong on campus.”


Story by Rebecca Walter, Staff writer

Fraternity bid acceptance increases

September 20, 2012 News

Brothers of Pi Kappa Alpha celebrate bid acceptance day on Monday afternoon in Lovett Auditorium. Bid day comes after a week-long recruitment process. Pike had 26 men accept bids into their fraternity. || Jordie Oetkin/Contributing photographer

Men with paint on their faces and Greek letters across their bodies crammed into Lovett Auditorium to welcome their new fraternity brothers Monday afternoon at bid acceptance.

With fraternity rush week completed, the statistics have been reviewed and participation is up from last year.

This year, more than 200 men registered and of those men, 181 were eligible. Last year only approximately 175 men registered to rush.

Jason Hinson-Nolen, interim Greek Like coordinator, said one major change that led to more men being eligible to rush was the lowering of the GPA requirement. Last year, incoming freshmen were required to have a 3.0 GPA, this year it has been lowered to 2.7.

“Across the nation tradition has it that the GPA acceptance was a little higher than that of the university,” Hinson-Nolen said. “We decided to make it more realistic and lower the GPA. Men and women who are involved with Greek Life typically have a higher GPA than those not involved.”

He said since the requirement was lowered, it allowed 15 more men who registered this year to be able to rush.

“Most of them were on the cusp of having a 3.0,” Hinson-Nolen said. “Lowering the standard has let more men experience rush.”

Potential rushees were inside Lovett Auditorium Monday afternoon for bid acceptance.

The rushees were given an envelope with their bid or bids from the fraternities. They then decided to accept or decline and, if given the option, to choose only one bid.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 155 bids had been accepted, which was a 95 percent acceptance rate.

Cheers from the active members of the fraternities could be heard from across the Quad as each fraternity welcomed their new brothers.

“I think the organizations did an amazing job,” Hinson-Nolen said. “The depth of the conversations they had with potential new members shows they are really putting a lot of thought into rush and their potential new members. I think the fact that we have a 95 percent acceptance rate shows how great we are doing with recruitment.”

Sigma Phi Epilson had the largest pledge class with 30 men accepting bids.

Charlie Hobbs, sophomore from Clarksville, Tenn. and brother of Sigma Phi Epilson, said he was a part of last year’s pledge class, which was also the largest on campus.

“I’m happy to have the largest pledge class on campus again,” Hobbs said. “Not only is it the largest class, but the best.”

Dylan Gerlach, senior from Louisville, Ky., and president of Sigma Chi fraternity, said rush is always a crazy and busy time of the year.

“It’s great when you see that your hard work has paid off at bid acceptance,” Gerlach said. “We’re extremely proud of the guys we took this year. For us, it’s not always about having the most guys, but just making sure we get really good quality guys.”

He said he is fortunate to be the president of such an up and coming fraternity. Sigma Chi gave bids approximately 24 bids and had 20 accept.

Gerlach Sigma Chi did well with rush and he thought it seemed like there were a lot of guys rushing this year.

“I think Greek Life gets a really bad rap sometimes, which is sad because we all have a common goal of promoting values,” Gerlach said. “Jason, the new Greek Advisor has also helped us out tremendously with lowering the grade requirements for new freshmen as well as making sure we had everything taken care of that we needed.”

 Story by Meghann Anderson, Assistant News Editor.



Suspended: Fraternity social activities prohibited during University’s investigation

March 8, 2012 News

Olivia Medovich
Staff writer

File photo/Jesse Carruthers

The University has suspended all fraternity social activities until further notice after two incidents violating University policies occurred at the Alpha Gamma Rho and Alpha Tau Omega fraternity houses last weekend.

Two former Murray State football players were arrested at the ATO house Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting De’Vin Graves, a non-student who attended a party hosted by the fraternity.

Sgt. Scott Svebakken with the Murray Police Department said the fight started after Graves was trying to defend a female who was being harassed.

The fight started around 2 a.m. and resulted in Graves being sent to the Murray-Calloway County Hospital emergency room. On Tuesday, Graves had surgery on his jaw at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. … Continue Reading

Intramurals: Alpha Sigma Phi vs. Sigma Phi Epsilon

November 10, 2011 Athletics

Johnathan Ferris
Staff writer

Nate Brelsford/The News

Since the beginning of the season, both teams said they were looking to this game. The Sigma Phi Epsilon vs. Alpha Sigma Phi game is traditionally one of the biggest games every year.

The largest crowd of the season gathered at the intramural fields Monday night to watch the newest chapter in this rivalry unfold. With both teams undefeated, this matchup would likely determine the No. 1 seed for the fraternity league heading into playoffs. Painted chests and air horns set the atmosphere as the two teams prepared for a battle. … Continue Reading

Music fraternity sponsors first band battle

October 27, 2011 Features

Paige Graves
Staff writer

Photo courtesy of Derek Fannin

Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia will host the inaugural Battle of the Bands on Saturday in Lovett Auditorium.

Wesley Hughes, Phi Mu Alpha member and senior from Marion, Ky., is the event manager for the program.

“In the process of trying to figure out a way to earn more money to help local music programs, we decided to resurrect an old idea from some of our alumni,” Hughes said. “Really it was a no-brainer. We are a music fraternity reaching out to a sector of the music world that is largely cast off from the classical side.”

Proceeds from the event will go to support local music programs, Hughes said. The winner of the battle will receive $300. … Continue Reading

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