From fraternity to beyond

President of Alpha Epsilon Pi writes a response to the AMS review on the ban of its members joining fraternities and sororities

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Dylan Glancy, ArtSci ’13

The AMS recently re-opened discussion on the ban of its members being part of fraternities and sororities at Queen’s. With a dialogue beginning to open, I look forward to educating people about the niche our fraternity satisfies in Kingston.

While Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) isn’t seeking official recognition from the AMS or the University, we believe that the wording of the ban has led to feelings of anxiety; alienation and fear of reprisal in our brothers who are AMS members.

These individuals want nothing more than to be able to participate in off-campus extracurriculars in peace.

If the ban were lifted, we wouldn’t ask the AMS or the University to affiliate with us; we exist proudly as a Kingston fraternity and will remain as such.

AEPi is based on the core values of brotherhood, philanthropy, community service, athletics, academic achievement and the promotion of a Jewish identity in its members. It provides an avenue for achieving these goals and allows its 50-something members to connect to their Jewish roots in a way that a strong sense of brotherhood can promote.

As a chapter, we raise money and participate in local Kingston charities, as well as international ones. Earlier this term, members of our fraternity participated in a Habitat for Humanity build. Our annual Octobeard initiative has so far raised nearly $800 this month for Save a Child’s Heart (SACH). Last year we raised over $2,500 for SACH and the Make-a-Wish foundation combined and had 12 brothers ‘go bald for wishes.’ As well, many of you might have seen us on University Ave. in past years taking pies in the face for charity.

It’s important to us to promote active involvement in the local Jewish community, attending services at local synagogues and assisting Hillel and Chabad, two other international Jewish student organizations at Queen’s, with various events throughout the year.

Kingston has a small Jewish community and many of the brothers in our ranks come from outlying Jewish communities. Our fraternity provides them with a Jewish identity and social foundation, one which some might not have developed otherwise.

Though our membership isn’t exclusively from Queen’s, most of us are and we are actively involved in our school. We participate in student politics, take orders at the Common Ground and the Queen’s Pub, and engage in many clubs throughout the Queen’s community.

Our letters don’t diminish our commitment or involvement — after all, a Queen’s student’s school spirit can’t be minimalized into something so simplistic. Rather, we advance and incorporate a Jewish experience into students in Kingston and at Queen’s.

Could it honestly be said that strengthening, nurturing and fostering a minority segment of our community is harmful to Queen’s spirit?

Fundamentally, we ask to be able to shape our Queen’s experience — with AEPi enhancing our experience as Jewish students.

When discussing the merits of fraternities and sororities, the issue of exclusivity seems to be a recurring concern. We’re viewed as catering exclusively to Jewish males. Though our fraternity is culturally Jewish, we are open to all who are willing to espouse our values.

We are by no means monolithic, as we have members of the LGBT community. The brothers of AEPi find total acceptance, regardless of place of origin, sexual orientation, socio-economic status and so on.

Regarding hazing, another point of concern in the debate on fraternities, AEPi has a strict anti-hazing policy that is rigorously enforced by both international and local governing bodies. Hazing doesn’t make a good brotherhood, nor can it prove someone’s worth.

If the ban at Queen’s was lifted, we strongly believe there wouldn’t be an influx of Greek life. It would only present an extra-curricular option to a small subset of students who would be interested in all that it has to offer.

It’s not the absence of Greek life that makes our school so incredible — it’s the people who choose to attend Queen’s.

The passion and dedication towards this school is embodied in every student who comes to Queen’s, regardless of what they partake in. Those of us in AEPi who attend Queen’s are no different.

Three Greek letters are all that separates me from another student. But when I look back at my time as a student, those very letters will have contributed to my university experience in a way no on-campus organization ever could. So before you consider whether our organization is hazardous to Queen’s, come to QP with me first. I bet you’ll find that Greek letters don’t suppress the tricolour inside.

Dylan Glancy is the president of the Kingston chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi.

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