At the end of last semester, another Rider fraternity chapter lost its letters. Because of a number of reasons, including multiple bounced checks, according to the national fraternity, the Beta Psi chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) was shut down, making it the third fraternity in two years to be disbanded on Rider’s campus. Rider officials were only the bearers of bad news in this case — the national organization had called for the chapter to be disbanded this time. Even so, it is plain to see that Greek Life on campus has been steadily changing. Losing three fraternities in two years is not something every university goes through — and the drop from five fraternities to two is noticeable, especially in a small community like Rider’s.
For those who ventured past University House on a regular basis, or had friends in AEPi, the front of the residence hall may seem empty now without the fraternity’s letters. However, for the most part, Rider’s administrators have kept the disbanding of AEPi quiet. They may not be the ones who called for Beta Psi’s closing, but they kept the information as close to their chests as possible.
The 26 members had little notice about the closing, and the majority of them were contacted after they had already moved out for the semester. This required another trip back to school for a supervised move-out of all of their belongings. On the other hand, the administration had only found out about the shut down four days before they informed the brothers.
Regardless of whether Rider’s chapter deserved to have its letters removed or not, it seems that not only is there a shift within the Greek Life community, there is also a shift in the Rider community’s attitude toward Greek Life. Students who may have been on the fence or considering a place in a fraternity or sorority may be turned off to the idea since letters have been dropping like flies. With bid day around the corner, how many male students will want to join a fraternity when the odds seem to be growing that it could be shut down in a year or two? This goes two-fold for students who may want to bring a new fraternity to the campus.
A lot of students generally feel strongly one way or the other about Greek Life and those in it. Since there has been a lot of negative press in recent years, students may get the wrong impression about their peers in a fraternity. Regardless of the amount of public service that the Greek houses put into the school and surrounding community, there is still a certain stigma associated with them.
Although AEPi is gone, Rider should be able to come to a firm decision about the Greek Life here. With the quiet disbanding of AEPi, it seems that the administration would rather keep Greek news under wraps than come out and say anything. Hopefully, there won’t be any more need to shut down another chapter on campus, but if there is, the university should let the campus know. Greek Life has been an important part of Rider for decades, and it shouldn’t stop now.
This weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News editorial board and is written by the Opinion Editor, Nadine Tester.