Eastern is ready to welcome back Pi Kappa Alpha, a fraternity that was suspended five years ago for hazing violations.
Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE), founded in 1969, has a 40 year relationship with EKU. Eric Beagle, 22, and Erik Fournier, 22, professional expansion consultants for PIKE, traveled to EKU to help reestablish and “recolonize” the fraternity. Beagle said they have 60 new members, and within a year, the fraternity will act on its own once again.
“We’re really putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to us coming back on [campus],” Beagle said.
When the fraternity was suspended in 2011, EKU and the fraternity came to an agreement at that point in time PIKE was not fit to be on campus, Fournier said.
Beagle said the time off allowed for a reset of PIKE’s presence on campus. He and Fournier are at EKU now to find men who are willing to become part of PIKE and uphold the standards they expect for their members.
PIKE’s standards for their members are SLAG an acronym for scholars, leaders, athletes, and gentlemen. Beagle said that’s what they’re looking for on campus.
“We recruit solely off a name recommendation process only,” Beagle said. “With this, we’ve been meeting with sororities, we’ve been meeting with coaches, campus officials and campus administration.”
Fournier and Beagle were able to skip rush week to personally locate men who aren’t currently part of Greek Life and fit their standards. Beagle said the most important thing they’re looking for is the gentlemen on campus.
“That was something that at the time, the chapter was starting to stray away from a little bit,” Beagle said. “And that’s why we’re here, really focusing on trying to find the right type of men.”
The recolonization process Beagle and Fournier are heading towards require a fresh start for the fraternity, Fournier said.
The difference between a colony and a “full-fledged chapter” is national recognition. In this case, the probation PIKE has faced has stripped them of their chapter status and all new members belong to a colony.
“We’ve had an over 40 year relationship with the university up to this point,” Fournier says. “They were extremely excited to hear that we were interested in coming back and they have been nothing but positive and a very big help for us.”
Beagle and Fournier plan to leave eventually, but they are “setting up and training a fully functioning executive board.” The pair are also working with alumni in the area to help the new members with the process after they leave. When they leave, the members Beagle and Fournier recruited will be a full functioning colony, much like other fraternities on campus, just without the recognition.
Associate Director for Student Life, Shante Hearst said she sees the return of PIKE as a good thing for students.
“With them coming back to campus, they’re starting with a completely clean slate,” Hearst said. “There’s an opportunity to completely rebrand and kind of change the history of what people associate with Pi Kappa Alpha at EKU.”
Hearst said PIKE wasn’t always a bad chapter and the members involved in the hazing incident have all graduated and moved on from EKU. Hearst said there were several incidents that occurred and, due to privacy reasons, individual cases cannot be exposed. The hazing, however, was found to be a “cultural problem within the chapter.”
“It wasn’t an isolated incident,” Hearst said. “It was more than likely something that had occurred for several years over time.”
Hearst expresses she doesn’t believe the hazing incidents are something exclusive to Pi Kappa Alpha—they just happened inside of PIKE. She said she doesn’t want people to get caught up on what PIKE was in the past, and the men in the colony are here to do great things for the campus and the fraternity and are fully supported by the university.