Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp) announced Nov. 7 that they are resigning their membership in the North American Interfraternity Conference. Sigma Chi International Fraternity acknowledges SigEp’s decision, but we strongly disagree with the manner in which they chose to communicate it. We recognize each fraternal organization’s sovereign responsibility to make decisions that are in the best interests of their organization. However, we also firmly believe that the spirit of interfraternalism originates from and relies on the principle of mutual respect, a principle that was violated on Nov. 7.
Like SigEp, Sigma Chi agrees that the fraternity industry must make progress in several key areas, such as health and safety and the value of the membership experience.
“We believe that the challenges facing the fraternity industry require innovative methods and a collaborative approach to developing realistic, plausible solutions,” Sigma Chi International President Steven Schuyler said. “Our belief in the necessity of evolution is why we have actively engaged in the difficult process of leading a sustainable culture change by assuming a leadership role in the work of the revamped association, often referred to as NIC 2.0, over the past four years.”
Michael Greenberg, who is a past international president of Sigma Chi and now serves as Sigma Chi’s delegate to the NIC’s Governing Council and chairman of the NIC, agreed.
“Leadership is hard work. If the solutions were easy, we would have found them by now. The NIC has done tremendous work over the past four years with a lot of people and organizations at the table, including SigEp,” he said. “Nearly every vote that mattered was unanimously supportive of the actions taken, and it is disingenuous to suggest otherwise. We wish SigEp well, but Sigma Chi will continue to work with those who want to work together toward a better future.”
Schuyler said collaboration and compromise are necessary in this industry.
“Collaboration is a two-way street that requires multiple parties to work together toward common goals, a process that often requires compromise,” he said. “Sigma Chi believes strongly in that definition of collaboration and will continue to work toward common-sense solutions that strengthen our collective future and, at the same time, build bridges with like-minded partners.”
When asked about SigEp’s statement that the NIC has adopted an “increasingly antagonistic approach to campus advocacy,” Schuyler continued: “In the exceedingly rare case when interests diverge, compromise fails and our members’ rights are egregiously violated, Sigma Chi is obligated to – and always will – stand up for our men. This is not antagonistic. It is simply defending our rights, and there is a big difference.”
Sigma Chi invests heavily in the high-quality development of its men. Recent accolades received by Sigma Chi for its unique approach to programming include the gold medal for Excellence in Talent Acquisition from the Brandon Hall Group, which recognizes Sigma Chi’s revolutionary Preparation for Brotherhood (P4B) program. Corporations honored with the gold medal in other categories include The Coca-Cola Company, Accenture, Hilton Worldwide and The Estee Lauder Companies.
“If we are going to push the envelope of forward progress, we must think differently about our future,” Sigma Chi Executive Director Michael Church said. “We are proud to freely share the successes of our P4B program as an example of the kind of collaboration, partnership and innovative thinking that can be expected from Sigma Chi. This is the kind of engagement that is needed to realize a brighter future.”
Sigma Chi is a founding member of the NIC and has been a constant member since the conference’s founding in 1909.