Loyola has welcomed a new social fraternity that has a less-than-reputable history to campus this semester.
Beta Theta Pi, the newest fraternity to Loyola Greek life, applied to join Student Activities and Greek Affairs (SAGA) last fall and was accepted last winter.
The fraternity was founded in 1839 at Miami University and has more than 10,000 members across 136 campus in the United States and Canada. At Loyola, Beta Theta Pi already has 22 members and plans to recruit students until Oct. 15, right before the fall induction date, according to Beta Theta Pi colony development coordinator Jack Jajewski.
“We evaluate each member individually based on a combination of academics, campus involvement, leadership experience and overall character,” Jajewski said. “Ultimately, not everyone who goes through the recruitment process is offered membership, usually because we feel they don’t align with our values and mission.”
After a series of on-campus interviews and visits, the Interfraternity Committee (IFC) expansion committee chose Beta Theta Pi for a host of reasons, according to Janine Myers, coordinator for Sorority and Fraternity Life at SAGA.
Myers said Beta Theta Pi has qualities that fit Loyola’s expectations of helping the community evolve and grow.
“[The organization provides] meaningful experiences for potential new members through values-based education and [has] great leadership programming to spur growth in members,” she said.
But Loyola’s Greek life has faced controversy in the past. In 2014, Loyola suspended its chapter of Sigma Pi for three years after administration were informed of a Facebook page depicting members acting sexually toward a mannequin.
At other schools, chapters of Beta Theta Pi have received punishment for hazing.
The organization was put on probation at the University of Florida on Sept. 21 due to hazing allegations, according to the school’s newspaper, The Independent Florida Alligator. The Ohio State University’s chapter was recently reinstated after a four-year suspension for alcohol and hazing violations in April 2012, reported Ohio State’s newspaper, The Lantern.
Jajewski said after past national problems, the fraternity will focus on living in principle.
“We don’t plan on rebranding the fraternity at Loyola, [we’re] simply exemplifying the current brand that we have on an international level by living out the values and mission,” said Jajewski. “We are dedicated to developing men of principle for a principled life.”
Jajewski said the new fraternity is honored to be a part of Loyola.
“The organization sought out Loyola for various reasons, including the university’s high academic standard, Jesuit values and involved students,” he said. “We really like going to schools that have Jesuit influence. We feel that the values of Beta Theta Pi align very well with Jesuit values, especially the Loyola Experience.”
Max Mifsud, a student and one of the founding members of the fraternity’s Loyola chapter, said he became involved with the organization because he really liked its message. Mifsud, 19, is involved in Loyola’s Student Government and said that by joining the fraternity he is taking more steps toward developing leadership skills.
“I feel like [Beta Theta Pi] cares about the individual and the growth of that person into becoming a man of principle or a leader,” he said.
Jajewski said a lot of the men he meets are men who didn’t think they would ever join Greek life or regretted not finding a Greek organization that fit their interests and personalities at Loyola.
“I think joining an organization like a fraternity when you’re a junior or senior can sometimes be a little weird when most of the people joining are first-year students,” Jajewski said. “[But] having a new group, when everybody comes together and there’s no existing group, can be a little more appealing to an upperclassman.”
Beta Theta Pi won’t be the newest fraternity for long. Myers said Sorority and Fraternity Life expects to welcome Pi Kappa Phi to campus in 2018, after working with IFC.
“With all growth of the community, whether in student membership or in additions of chapters, there is an earnest desire for values [agreement] and further elevation of the larger community,” Myers said.
CORRECTION: A previous version of the article misquoted Jack Jajewski as saying “frat” referring to a “fraternity.” Jajewski said “fraternity.”It also incorrectly stated that Beta Theta Pi has 130,000 members when it has about 10,000 members, and incorrectly referred to the Interfraternity Council as the Interfraternity Committee. Beta Theta Pi, which was accepted last winter and not in July 2016, also has a presence on 132 campuses and not 122 as previously reported.