The former residence of the fraternity Sigma Nu (SigNu) at 92 Professors Row will next year house the fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp), according to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs.
SigEp recently signed a one?year agreement for the building, which currently houses female transfer students, according to Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Su McGlone.
The fraternity has been without a house since an incident during Senior Week in May 2011, in which SigEp’s alumni held an unsanctioned party at their former residence at 114 Curtis St.
The alumni party damaged the house so severely that the landlords refused to let the brothers return, SigEp Chapter President Michael McCarthy, a senior, said.
McCarthy said he is relieved that the yearlong search for a new house has ended. He said SigEp will be especially cautious to avoid another incident as damaging as that which occurred in spring 2011.
“We signed a lot of accountability and liability forms, and established a stricter set of guidelines,” McCarthy said. “A lot of brothers realize we have to take care of this house and don’t want to lose it again.”
He expressed confidence that the brothers will demonstrate responsibility in their new home and believes the fraternity will benefit from residing in a house together again.
“It’s great to have an on?campus space where guys can be together, especially the younger guys, who represent the future of the organization,” McCarthy said. “The fact that they’ll be able to live together and start up a brotherhood at an earlier point in their college lives is really meaningful.”
Stephen Ruggiero, a SigEp brother and member of the fraternity’s housing committee, said the brothers have shown responsibility in their work to regain an on?campus house.
“We’re very excited about solidifying our spot on campus,” Ruggiero, a junior, said. “It’s a reward for the hard work we’ve put in over the past year, and will help us to recruit and maintain brothers and to maintain our visibility on campus.”
McGlone said SigEp deserves its new home, having dealt with last spring’s incident by paying back all of the damages incurred at the old house.
“SigEp’s been working hard to rebuild themselves over the past year and [the new house] is going to be a positive for them,” she said. “They’ve shown that they really wanted it and I know that they’re going to continue to be a strong organization.”
McGlone emphasized, however, that fraternities do not need a house to succeed on campus.
“I don’t think you have to be in a house to be a successful fraternity, and I feel strongly about that,” she said. “[A fraternity] is a group of people with shared values who act upon those values … [However,] a house can provide a venue for even more growth and development of those same values.”
McGlone also said that the university will address SigNu’s housing situation once the fraternity handles the consequences of damage done to their former house, as SigEp did.
“I see no reason why we won’t be working with SigNu this time next year to secure housing for them as well,” she said. “It just takes time to rebuild after something goes wrong and to make sure that it won’t happen again.”
Charles Haverty, a brother and former house manager of SigNu, said his fraternity will continue to pursue on?campus housing after the university this past summer told the group to leave 92 Professors Row, a site they had occupied since 1985. He explained that the house had deteriorated due to abuse and neglect by its tenants over the years.
“The current plan on the table is to take the entire school year to decide on a new fraternal space, and beginning next year they’ll start procedures for either us or SigEp to get that space permanently,” Haverty, a junior, said.
Although he feels that SigNu has maintained a strong presence on campus despite losing their house, Haverty said having on?campus housing is critical for fraternities in the long run, particularly for maintaining healthy alumni relations.
“Personally, I want to graduate knowing that I’ll be able to come back to my old frat home,” he said.
Yolanda King, director of the Office of Residential Life and Learning, said she is confident that transfer students will find a sufficient alternative to being housed on 92 Professors Row.
“The current transfer students … will receive lottery numbers to participate in the housing selection process, similar to other students,” King said. “In moving forward, I anticipate any incoming transfer student will be housed based on what spaces we will have available.”