XPi attempts to make new friends on campus

Last fall, the Lamda Deuteron Chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi [AEPi] was kicked off campus. Out of its ashes rose the X Pi Alpha Chapter [XPi].

While XPi and its members are not officially recognized by the Interfraternity Council, the organization’s leaders continue to model their group after its fraternal roots.

XPi was created last spring by Jacob Burch, former president of AEPi at the University of Miami, after AEPi’s international board of directors ordered a cease of all active chapter operations, placed the chapter’s charter on dormant status and changed the status of all undergraduate members to alumni.

According to university and AEPi officials, the chapter lost its charter because it violated university, International and House Corporation rules and regulations. Members of XPi believe there was more to the story.

The history page of the XPi website does state the fraternity received alcohol and party violations. However, it continues on to accuse the nationals of AEPi of using these violations as an excuse to close down the chapter because they were not recruiting enough Jewish students.

“The real reason we were kicked off campus is because our nationals only wanted Jewish members,” states the website. “There were rumors that if we wanted the house to be fixed up, we needed 10 Jewish kids rushed in the fall of 2003. We got one Jew-actually, two halves-and that was that.”

The AEPi International Headquarters, who say they have heard these accusations before from XPi, fully deny the allegations.

“We have several chapters that have no Jewish members. We don’t judge chapters on how many Jewish members they have,” Adam Aronin, director of risk management for AEPi Fraternity, said. “[At UM] there was a seven year history of violations. When the university brought us the history of the chapter, we had no alternatives.”

Regardless of why AEPi lost its charter and fraternity house, the members of XPi continue to hold on to their brotherhood.

“Anytime a fraternity is kicked off campus, there is still a huge group of kids who feel they are part of the fraternity and are bonded to each other,” Reid Heidenry, XPi president, said. “We didn’t join AEPi to be part of AEPi – we joined for each other. When our name is taken away, that means nothing to us.”

The members of XPi still play sports together, have formals and semiformals, throw house parties, go to football games, and participate in other organized activities. Just like the fraternities on campus, they have shirts to distinguish themselves as XPi members. Also, members of XPi attended the Greek BBQ hosted by the Panhellenic Association and the Interfraternity Council during Greek recruitment. They were asked to leave.

“Here’s this organization that doesn’t answer to the school or nationals and has no restrictions. That’s dangerous,” Peter Maki, chair of the Association of Greek Letter Organizations, said. “We were worried freshmen who didn’t know better would think they were a real fraternity.”

Leaders of XPi insist they were not trying to confuse students into thinking XPi was a fraternity.

“We were hungry,” Mike Kanatake, Make New Friends coordinator for XPi, said. “We thought it was open to all students.”

While XPi says it does not want to be seen as a fraternity, members did look into becoming an official student organization last year.

“Dean [Gregory] Singleton specifically told us that there is no chance of us becoming a student organization,” Heidenry said. “He said the reason for that was because the condition that the house was left in. We fully understand that and respect that decision.”

Official status may not come to XPi, but it continues to build a group that will be recognized by students on campus. XPi no longer has pledges or rush, but they do still make an effort to “make new friends,” according to Heidenry.

“If there’s a chill guy who’s been hanging out with us, eventually we’ll ask him to come to activities and he might receive a shirt,” Heidenry said. “We want them to prove they know us and what we’re all about.”

Currently, there are about 50 members in XPi. According to Heidenry, it won’t go above that to ensure the group stays “tight.”

>> For more information on XPi, go to www.xpi.bz.

Catherine Howden can be contacted at