Beta Pi Epsilon wants the chance to show administration that the fraternity can make permanent changes.
The fraternity’s requesting that instead of being suspended by the university, it be placed on probation for the fall 2012 semester. Beta Pi Epsilon was suspended indefinitely after it was unable to find an adviser.
“We have complied with everything they have asked us to do,” said Beta Pi Epsilon president Alex Sutherland. “We are trying to show that we have complied with all of those changes.”
The fraternity plans to take a petition for probation with more than 500 signatures on it to the campus’ Student Senate as it seeks another opportunity to keep a 106-year-old campus fraternity alive.
Carroll University after the fraternity was unable to secure a faculty adviser. Other reasons listed in a letter sent to fraternity alumni included their academic record and “disruptive” behavior.
The fraternity lost its adviser in February. Sutherland said members twice located someone who was willing to be an adviser. Both times the potential adviser backed down after speaking with school administration, he said.
“I don’t know how those conversations went,” said Sutherland, who was unable to attend because he was in class.
While the fraternity’s future is uncertain, the group of young men plan to continue their philanthropic activities such as picking up litter in the community and assisting area service organizations.
They will not be allowed to organize the events as a fraternity, though. They were told by school administration “you can act as a bunch of individuals coming together, but you can not act as Beta Pi Epsilon,” Sutherland said.
The fraternity also wants to clean up its reputation. Allegations, suspicions and rumors of parties at the Beta Pi Epsilon house have been present, Sutherland admitted.
“Because they heard from students that we were having a party, we got deemed that we were having a party,” Sutherland said.
One time the Waukesha Police Department was called for a noise complaint for a party. The fraternity was having an '80s movie night, Sutherland said, and invited officers into the house. Meanwhile, the neighboring house was throwing a party with individuals urinating on the fraternity house, according to Sutherland.
Police records show that officers were called to a loud party in February but that noise was not unreasonable when they responded. Other calls include a fraternity member who used a ladder to gain entry to the house via a window after being locked out and petty thefts.
“It is really unfortunate that our past has followed so closely with our … current members," Sutherland said. "… We are a whole new group of guys.”
The fraternity found itself in trouble in 2006 after a prank resulted in police being called after a neighbor thought there was a fight and possible abduction, according to a Journal Sentinel article. The Beta house on campus was closed by school administration in 2003 after reportedly experiencing undetermined issues with the fraternity. The university does not own the house where the Beta Pi Epsilon fraternity members live.
The fraternity members dedicated this semester to improving their academic record. They are ultimately there for an education, Sutherland said.
“In college you make some mistakes,” Sutherland said. “We have made those mistakes. It is time for the fraternity to move in the right direction.”
Alderman: Use caution in reinstatement
Alderman Vance Skinner, whose district includes the Beta Pi Epsilon house in the historic Mccall Street district, urged Carroll University officials this week to seriously consider its management and plan for fraternities before reinstating Beta Pi Epsilon. While saying the fraternity has not provided many problems in the area this past year, Skinner said the management of Greek life and adherence to a specific code of conduct needs to be addressed.
“Recently the Betas have been pretty good. … Knock on wood, it has been pretty quiet,” Skinner said.
But there have been historic problems with complaints from neighbors about college students who are walking from house to house and from party to party in the area. The foot traffic and disrespectful actions, such as smashing bottles, are chief complaints from the neighbors, according to Skinner.
The university students and the neighbors need to learn to co-exist, Skinner said.
“If they wouldn’t do those things, we wouldn’t have these problems … you have to realize this is a neighborhood,” Skinner said.