In December 2016, Pi Kappa Alpha chose to close its chapter at the University of Miami after a flurry of scandals and risk management concerns plagued the fraternity. But Pike, as the organization is nicknamed, will soon be returning to campus. Representatives from the national organization formally petitioned the Interfraternity Council (IFC) March 28 to return in spring. A week later, the IFC approved the return but with the condition that Pike would return after the formal recruitment period is over.
With this caveat, Pike will have to build from the ground up with members who did not rush any other fraternity.
“The idea is that rather than dilute the current Greek population, we’d expand it,” said Max Detweiler, IFC president. “So instead of taking this set number of Greek men that there are and dividing it among 13 fraternities, you take the amount we have, divide it among 12 fraternities and then add on to that.”
The process will be assisted by two representatives from the national fraternity, who will come down to UM for eight weeks to recruit, interview and train potential new members.
If the fraternity is successful as a colony – what it will be called before being re-chartered – it can then be welcomed back into the Greek community as an official chapter and work to reoccupy its mansion on 5800 San Amaro Dr., which is presently occupied by Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity.
On April 4, Alpha Sigma Phi issued a statement saying it would no longer be living on the San Amaro property because of “ethical, legal and financial differences.”
Senior Associate Dean of Students and Director of Judicial Affairs Steven Priepke could not confirm who would be living in the house when Alpha Sigma Phi moves out at the end of the semester, though he said he was certain the building would have new tenants.
The process to go from colony to chapter can take up to three years, Priepke said, and involves meeting many requirements set by the national organization.
“They need to figure themselves out,” Priepke said. “Usually the kinds of folks who join a colony have sat out formal recruitment because they don’t feel like they fit in any current organization, so they want to start from the ground up and recognize how much work that can be.”
Priepke is familiar with the process from his work with fraternities and also his own experiences. He was the first founding father of a Sigma Alpha Epsilon colony after UM’s chapter closed in 1998.
“It’s quite a laborious process,” he said.
Pi Kappa Alpha nationals could not be reached for comment.
Although the Pike brothers who were around in 2013 are expected to have “moved on,” the controversy-riddled image of the fraternity has lived on at UM. Starting from scratch in spring 2018 could be a chance for Pike to clean up its past.
“What people know or think they know is lore at this point because none of them were here,” Priepke said.
Even after the fraternity lost its charter in 2013 for “violations of university and fraternity risk awareness policies,” according to a release from Pike national at the time, a video from a party surfaced that showed Pike imagery and the official Pike flag. This incident only caused more issues for the fraternity. It was decided Pike could not petition to return to campus until spring 2017.
“It’s a big deal for any organization to approve adding another group,” Priepke said. There’s always lots of worry and concern and nervousness … so it’s a huge step for the entire community.”