Greek life announces addition of national fraternity

Raynor Denitzio

The office of fraternity and sorority life has announced plans to add the national fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon to the roster of already accepted fraternities.

The move comes just one year after Sigma Chi was added as a fraternity and is part of a larger expansion program set to take place over the next several years.

In early January, the University invited a group of six national fraternities to make presentations at the University. This group was narrowed down from six to two, with Sigma Phi Epsilon finally being chosen by a group of students, staff and faculty to become the newest member of Greek life at the University.

There is currently an interest group of students on campus who are involved in bringing Sigma Phi Epsilon to campus. With the blessing of the national chapter, this group will be recognized as a colony and may begin recruiting members.

Out of respect for the current fraternities, Sigma Phi Epsilon must wait until the formal recruitment process for fraternities is over to begin recruiting members.

The University does plan to add the remaining five fraternities that made presentations to the Greek system at some point, but John Osborne, the Greek life coordinator, stressed that this expansion will take place when the time is right.

“Timewise, it’s going to be on Villanova’s time schedule,” Osborne said. “We want to be fair to our current members. Say, if recruitment numbers are down, it might not be a good time to bring in a new group.”

Sigma Phi Epsilon was founded at the University of Richmond in 1901 and has many notable alumni, including children’s author Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel. The organization was previously a recognized on-campus fraternity at the University, but the members voted to remove their charter around the year 2000, at which time Villanova and the national chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon opted to no longer recognize the organization. Since then, Sig Ep has operated as an unrecognized, “underground” group.

Due to the already existing Sig Ep organization, officials at the University’s Greek life office decided to hold a meeting between the head of the national chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon and the current president of the existing Sig Ep group.

Greek life officials stressed that the goal was not to get anyone in trouble, but simply to inform the underground members that Sigma Phi Epsilon is coming back.

“We treated [the underground members] as they’re still Villanova students,” Osborne said.

“It says something about the underground guys that they were willing to sit down and have that conversation,” he added.

Osborne said the meeting went well between the national chapter and the current underground Sig Ep.

The national chapter made it clear that the underground members are welcome to explore the option of joining.

For now, any male member of the University who is not already a member of Greek life is free to investigate joining Sigma Phi Epsilon.