(Originally sent February 4, 2019)
Much has happened with our chapter in the last few weeks and it's time for another update!
As we previously announced, in December we ceased operations of the undergrad chapter due to a violation of the alcohol policy by several of our undergrads. Our headquarters staff conducted an initial investigation to determine the extent of the matter. We then presented a proposal to OSU and our National Board of Directors to allow us to form an Alumni Advisory Council (AAC) to take over the charter and manage the undergrad chapter, install new officers, resume operations and approve all chapter activities until the AAC feels the undergrads are ready to have their charter returned to them. The proposal was accepted.
Our Alumni Advisory Council (AAC) consists of:
Brent Osborn '09, Chairman, Ohio Gamma alum who serves as a volunteer to our National Leadership events
Rob Jech, our current Chapter Counselor and a Renaissance brother
John (CJ) Waggoner '70, Ohio Gamma alum and current Executive Director of the AVC
On January 11 and 12, key members of our AVC with current and past members of Headquarter's conducted a member review to allow a thorough evaluation of the undergrads and determine whether to offer an invitation to rejoin the chapter.
We began the review with 143 undergrad members and each was asked to complete a questionnaire in order to be allowed to interview and the opportunity to rejoin the chapter. We received 83 questionnaires and conducted interviews for those men. The 60 who did not return a questionnaire were either expelled, resigned or granted suspended status depending on their circumstances. Some circumstances were simply being on co-op or internship away from Columbus and would graduate this spring. They will be offered alumni status upon graduation.
Of the 83 who filled out a questionnaire and were interviewed, 41 were offered the opportunity to rejoin the chapter. As of this email, 35 have accepted the offer to rejoin. We have been small before. We will be big again. We will be better.
The Headquarter's staff and the University staff have been extremely helpful and co-operative throughout this process. The benefit of self reporting to the University put us in a position to remain a viable fraternity on campus without any form of penalty from the University. We are still an active fraternity with full privileges to operate. We are just a smaller chapter now!
Everything is now proceeding in a positive and productive manner. The undergrads are re-energized!
We held our first meeting of the new Ohio Gamma chapter on January 26. Our Regional Director, Jared Riter and Chapter Services Director, Jason Esau, led us through a process to reestablish values and set goals. The AAC selected the new Executive Officers prior to that meeting. Logan Kohl, a senior with 2 semesters remaining, was selected as President. Logan has been a leader in the chapter and was an Executive Officer last year.
While all major decisions by the undergrads must be approved by the AAC, the chapter is completely back to full operation and set key goals to re-start our recruitment process, identify future leaders and enhance our member development programming. Campus Engagement, Social events and our Regional Learning Community (RLC) activities have been merged under one VP of Programming to co-ordinate the calendar and better manage the balance of activities per semester.
As of the beginning of the semester, the AAC established the chapter house as "Sub-stance free". Nationally all Sig Ep chapters will be substance free by Fall 2020, but as chapters are reestablished in this manner it is best to restart as substance free in order to explain to new members prior to joining. The undergraduate delegation passed this legislation at the 2017 Grand Chapter Conclave.
This spring semester, we found it necessary to ask 16 members living in the chapter house to move out as they were not offered the option to rejoin. All 16 were sophomores meaning they must move back to a dorm as per OSU rules. OSU was very co-operative in this process and that transition occurred over the weekend of January 25-27. This leaves only 16 men in the chapter house for the spring semester and will create a strain on our finances. Full capacity in the house is 34. We are negotiating with OSU, which manages the house, to reduce some expenses to help with the revenue shortfall.
We will provide more updates as we progress through spring semester but we feel great about our current status and the attitude and enthusiasm of our undergrad chapter. We certainly plan to build Ohio Gamma back to our prior position at the University and Sig Ep nationally.
- John Waggoner