This weekend, I stumbled across an article on my Twitter feed entitled, “Don’t Let Kappa Sigma Sweep Chad Meredith’s Hazing Death Under the Rug.” As a member of the University of Miami’s Greek community, I was instantly enraged. The article essentially denounces Kappa Sigma’s re-colonization on campus and insists the fraternity should not be able to hit a “reset button.”
To provide some context, the article chronicles a series of mishaps within the fraternity’s UM chapter, starting in 2001 with the death of Chad Meredith. The fraternity’s president at the time, Travis Montgomery; two other brothers; and one of Meredith’s fellow pledges walked to Lake Osceola after a night of partying. Meredith, Montgomery and another brother began swimming across the lake, when about halfway in, Meredith cried out for help and unfortunately drowned.
Although the author later goes on to explain that Meredith was in no way forced to complete the task, she insists on calling it a hazing event. Given the stigma behind the word “hazing,” this is an unjust attack on the fraternity’s principles and practices.
The fraternity, along with the UM community, was devastated by the loss of Meredith. In 2009, the fraternity had its charter revoked by the national organization due to “social and alcohol violations contrary to their code of conduct.”
So where does that leave the current Epsilon-Beta chapter? What does this mean about the current brothers? Absolutely nothing.
These men have been working tirelessly since last year to ensure that they successfully reestablish themselves on campus. This week, they hosted their first philanthropic event – Kaptain AmErica – to raise funds for the Military Heroes Campaign. Between the efforts of the brothers and the participating organizations, a total of $5,217 was raised. This is commendable for any cause.
In the past decade alone, Pi Kappa Alpha, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Lambda Chi Alpha and Zeta Beta Tau have all had their charters suspended for varying lengths of time. The causes of these suspensions range from sexual assault to drugs and alcohol to theft.
But what difference does it make? Today, all five of these organizations are on campus as contributing members of the Greek community.
The admirable efforts of these groups of men and women should not be overshadowed by the actions of the screwballs that came before them.
Jordan Coyne is a sophomore majoring in journalism and international studies.