Greeks question housing

By Lindsay Carroll

Fraternity and sorority members attended last night’s Student Government Board town hall meeting… Fraternity and sorority members attended last night’s Student Government Board town hall meeting to represent Greek Life to discuss University and city policy concerning recognition of off-campus greek housing. SGB members of fraternities and sororities, such as Ryan Haddad, Perry Servedio and Francee Varner, drove many of the questions and wore the letters of their organizations along with board members Ryan Very and Gary Sanderson. Inter-Fraternity Council vice president Nick Dell’Omo asked SGB to address the problem of 11 fraternities without on-campus housing.. The greeks’ concerns largely focused on off-campus housing for fraternities. In response, board member Lacee Ecker called for SGB to form a committee to research the issue. Leaders from off-campus fraternities will join with board members to find out why Pitt cannot recognize an off-campus fraternity’s property, what city and University ordinances apply to off-campus property and what it means, exactly, for the University to recognize property. The committee will then work on solutions for those fraternities. Fraternities located on Upper Campus, such as Pi Kappa Alpha, and sororities living on campus are recognized both as greek organizations and as organizations occupying property. The University is liable for those properties and responsible for maintenance, which Ecker said is one benefit of the University recognizing a fraternity’s or sorority’s property. ‘The liability of recognizing houses off campus is too great,’ said Ron Gray, assistant director for the Office of Cross-Cultural Leadership and Development and Greek Life. Tanis Smith, a member of Lambda Chi Alpha, said that fraternities with a house can get a housing contract, the security of Pitt police and a meal plan. They can also add more legitimacy to the organizations. ‘It’s just a catch-22 at this point,’ said Smith, referring to the concerns regarding University and city ordinances. Meghan Geary, president of Pan-Hellenic Council and a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, said that her sorority’s international organization owns the Kappa Kappa Gamma house, which is the only sorority house located off campus. She said that although Pitt recognizes Kappa Kappa Gamma as a member of Pan-Hellenic Council and a chapter member of an international sorority, Pitt does not officially recognize the house as a University residence. President Sumter Link said that the same applies to the Delta Chi house on North Dithridge Street. SGB Notes Greek members also asked SGB to address issues about hiring more greek advisers. Inter-Fraternity Council president Steve Laboon said he was concerned that the greek support staff was overworked and underpaid, especially because former greek advisers have left the University after working with Pitt for only a short time. Gray said hiring a new greek adviser was not as easy as it sounds. ‘It’s a very difficult thing to bring someone on campus to stay,’ he said. ‘We want someone who’s solid.’ Other representatives from fraternities and sororities asked the board questions concerning growth in recruitment and the difference between Pitt and housing corporation leases.