PIKE investigation puts status in jeopardy

The Hopkins chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) is under investigation by the administration, according to Coordinator of Greek Life and Orientation Rachel Drennen.

“We have begun the process of scheduling our investigation,” Drennen said.

Both Drennen and Dean of Student Life Susan Boswell said that the administration is unable to disclose any additional information about the investigation at this time due to University protocol. 

The News-Letter spoke to three PIKE affiliates about the situation. Their names have been changed to Xavier, Yves and Zane.

“The University just said that they don’t want to support us anymore, and I can tell it’s more serious than social probation,” Zane said. “Frats are always on social probation, I know that [Sigma Alpha Epsilon] and [Sigma Phi Epsilon] have had issues with that. This is a lot more serious.” 

Xavier confirmed that PIKE was under scrutiny and suspected that it would likely lose its status as a recognized fraternity.

“I can tell you that it started because there was underage drinking the night of the stabbing,” Xavier said, referring to the early hours of Jan. 19 when an unidentified assailant stabbed junior Giovanni Urquilla in the PIKE basement. 

As a result of that incident, PIKE was put on social probation.

“Until the review is completed, Pi Kappa Alpha will not be permitted to hold social or rush activities,” Erin Yun, deputy to the vice provost of student affairs, wrote in an email to The News-Letter at the time. “Johns Hopkins also is fully cooperating with the Baltimore Police Department’s investigation of what happened at the party.”

According to University policy, fraternities and sororities can be put on probation, suspended or expelled if they engage in any behavior that jeopardizes the safety of students or the reputation of the University.

“I know that the party last Saturday was the tipping point,” Zane said. “It was an accumulation of other things, but all of this is happening because of that party.”

On Saturday afternoon, members of PIKE violated their social probation by holding a tailgate before the homecoming lacrosse game. Baltimore City Police shut down the event after students began drinking on the fraternity’s front lawn facing Charles Street.

The affiliates interviewed expressed uncertainty about PIKE’s future.

“What’s going to happen to us? I don’t know. It’s very much in limbo,” Zane said. “It would be bad if we went underground. I don’t know if we want that either. That would be a very bad situation for us.” 

Yves shared the same sentiment about the prospect of going underground.

“I doubt it’ll be like IX. There’s too much liability. IX is so much smaller and more covert. There’s no possibility for PIKE to turn out that way,” he said. “We’ll continue to exist, but I don’t know how.”

IX is an unrecognized sorority that was established by former members of the Hopkins chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta after it was shut down in 2009. Although a new Theta chapter was introduced on campus last semester, IX operates independently and has no affiliation or contact with Theta.

Sophomore Tucker Gordon believes PIKE being kicked off campus would substantially affect the Greek community.

“It will depend a lot on whether or not they go underground, and if they remain in their house,” Gordon said. “But obviously such a large fraternity getting kicked off campus will have an impact on all of the Greek life and a bunch of different student groups and events on campus.”

Junior Charlotte Sneath, a member of the Alpha Phi sorority at Hopkins, believes that there are larger issues with how the administration deals with Greek life problems.

“The possibility of the revocation of PIKE’s charter is a sign of a larger problem occurring now in Hopkins Greek life. Instead of having a clear and constructive conversation with the community, the director of Greek life is now enforcing an unreasonable strictness,” Sneath said, “If they were to lose their charter, PIKE would definitely not cease all social activity, but would probably form a group not unlike the underground IX sorority. Students at Hopkins crave a fun social environment — if there is no guidance and only suppression the results will be unfavorable for everyone.” 

Freshman Jack Murren agreed with Sneath that PIKE being kicked off campus could potentially become a greater liability.

“There is very little that keeps PIKE from doing what they want,” freshman Jack Murren said. “If they are forced to go underground the school would be risking PIKE becoming a place that they could not control and a potential danger. Think Mad Max meets Lawless Western.” 

The three interviewed PIKE affiliates all said they felt that the administration’s scrutiny of the fraternity was unwarranted. 

“I kind of feel like the administration is out to get us because of our reputation of being the party frat. Other frats do so much more s*** and never get called out on it,” Xavier said.

“People just dramatize and blow up everything,” Yves added.

Yves highlighted some of the positive aspects of PIKE.

“I don’t think they realize that they are messing up because there’s a lot of appeal that PIKE brings. It’s a different facet to Hopkins and people might not come to Hopkins if there wasn’t some aspect of fun and wildness,” Yves said. “PIKE is a very unique part of Hopkins. That’s where everyone goes.”

Yves said that PIKE’s diversity is one of its virtues.

“PIKE is the most multicultural fraternity, by far,” Yves said. “Why is that? It’s because PIKE doesn’t have a type of person they’re trying to get. PIKE is open to everyone, if you have the right kind of heart. It’s not about who you are, it’s about how much you love your brothers.”

Other members of the Hopkins undergraduate community agreed with Xavier and Yves about the administration’s treatment of PIKE.

“I think that it’s not fair to them,” sophomore Blaine Muri said. “People are still going to go to PIKE, and they’re still a part of the Hopkins community, so I don’t see how this solves any problems. I think if they lose their house then things will be a little more stagnant. But other than that, people will definitely still attend PIKE parties and events.” 

Staff Writer Alex Fine contributed reporting.

3 Responses to "PIKE investigation puts status in jeopardy"

  1. Former Hopper   May 2, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    This should be a difficult subject for the authors to tackle, but the content shows anything but a realistic grasp of the situation. The only people interviewed in this article must be the biggest airheads on campus. People dramatize and blow up everything? Other frats do so much more s*** and never get called out on it? Unreasonable strictness? This article makes a victim out of PIKE (as if that were the least bit appropriate right now), but there is not one mention of what they are actually being investigated for. Do a Ctrl+F: “rape” and see that all the hits are in the right-side bar, under “related comments.” There’s mention of a stabbing, but nothing of the issue that we’re all actually talking about. This whole thing admits that the only way to defend the institution that is PIKE is to remove THE MOST CRUCIAL PIECE OF CONTEXT.

    I am in no way saying that PIKE’s charter should or shouldn’t be revoked, but PIKE’s actual impact on Greek life from here on out is way more meaningful and newsworthy than this piece articulated.

    On another note, the portrayal of PIKE’s wholesome goodness as told by Yves is utter hogwash. Not only do I have various first-hand horror stories, but also everyone on campus knows that all frats, and most of all PIKE, are cliques. If we’re talking about the warmest hearts on campus, PIKE is last on the list.

    • Student   May 2, 2014 at 8:15 pm

      This article is from two weeks ago, before the information about the rape situation came out. That’s why it only talks about the stabbing and social probation.

    • Former Hopper   May 2, 2014 at 8:17 pm

      I now realize that this was published before most people knew about the second issue, and this article was only able to address the repercussions of the stabbing. sorry for the rip; much of it is obviously unwarranted.


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