S.C. State Fraternity Ordered to 'Cease and Desist' PDF Print E-mail
By Dervedia Thomas -- Black College Wire   

The Beta Delta Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. has been told to "cease and desist" following an event held by the organization in Orangeburg's Harmon Park on March 23.

The letter issued on March 26 prohibits the fraternity members from wearing their colors and holding events and activities, pending an investigation that could result in the organization's suspension.

According to the university, the organization booked the park administered by Jamison Pharmacy for a birthday party, which turned out to be a probate, attracting a large crowd of students.

Jamison Pharmacy expressed anger for being "misled" in a letter to South Carolina State University because the rules of the park including traffic, parking, crowd and security regulations had been violated.

Quincy Mack, Chapter President of the Beta Delta Chapter, insisted that the event was a birthday party and not a probate, and believes that his organization is not being treated fairly.

"The event had nothing to do with State," he said. "We can't help where people park or if it attracted a large crowd."

When asked to explain the difference between a probate and the activities that unfolded at the park, Mack explained that from their understanding, a probate, is a show held at the Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center, with a D.J. and for which tickets are sold. He also said that he and his organization are doing further research to determine what constitutes a probate.

According to Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, John Berry, Greek organizations were advised at a March 9 meeting that all probates should occur between April 23. and 28.

In the meeting, it was also indicated that the intake process should have begun after that date.

Berry also stated that all organizations were given the opportunity to "come clean," if they already had begun the intake process, so that an arrangement could be worked out with them. According to Berry, the Alphas did not disclose their plans.

The Alpha leader however, confirmed that they were given this information, but stated that they informed administration that they had a different timeline.

"We were following the guidelines set out by our national fraternity," he said.

According to the national organization's website, Feb 23. is deadline for Completed Application Submissions.

Berry confirmed that he mistakenly signed off on paperwork for the fraternity; thinking that he was signing off on obtaining students' G.P.A.s as part of the intake process.

Mack also confirmed that they booked the SHM Memorial center for a probate, but only found out from administration that the event was cancelled at 3 p.m. on March 23.

March 23 is also the chapter's 70th anniversary; this, Mack said, played a role in choosing the date.

"What disappoints us is that the school knew," said Mack. "We put in for this event since December, and we were not actually notified that the event was cancelled; we heard from a third party and had to go to administration ourselves."

Berry he said that he spoke with upset parents and friends who came to see the cancelled probate, to reassure them that the students will still have an opportunity to have their show in April.

The new members have been Alphas since March 2, and the meeting held by Student Affairs was on March 9.

"How can we have someone sitting stagnant for all that time and not having a coming out show, not and being able to have community events and help people, which is what we are all about?"

When asked why his department scheduled the informational meeting and probates so late, Berry informed The Collegian that it was because the staff in his department was not yet "in place;" and was new to the process.

"We could have cancelled the whole thing [intake process]," he said "But we did not want to do that."

"The Sigmas adhered to it," he said. "But all the fraternities did not do that; the Alphas never called for a meeting; they never came clean."

Berry went on to explain that the event at Harmon Park was a security hazard, but a decision was made to have the event end on its own.

"I literally saw young kids [8 -9 years old] darting across the street to see what was going on," he said. "There was no security present; what if violence had broken out? SC State would have been held responsible."

The Orangeburg Sheriff department, the Highway Patrol and SC State's Campus Police were called out as a result. "This cost money," said Berry.

If suspended, Mack said he will refer to the student handbook to see what steps can be taken, and he will speak with the university's president about the matter.

Dervedia Thomas is editor-in-chief of The Collegian, the South Carolina State University student newspaper, which originally published this article.

Posted Mar. 30, 2009
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