The Nashville, Tenn. Kappa Sigma colony hosted an open mic night Thursday in an effort to “get to know more people on campus,” according to the event’s Facebook page.
The open-invitation event, which was marketed as the colony’s “first ever open mic night,” featured free hot drinks, baked goods and student performances in the backyard of a 14th Avenue house. The event attracted a mostly male audience of about 100 students.
The music covered a wide range of genres, from rock to rap to singer-songwriter.
The colony made genuine connections with Belmont students, said Kappa Sigma president Peter Johnson.
“Everyone at Belmont is passionate about music and sharing it with others. As an organization which facilitates that, they can understand more where we’re coming from,” he said.
While the colony may be making leeway with some students, it is still not recognized as an official organization on Belmont’s campus, and, as such, is being treated just as any other off-campus group would be.
As a result, it is not allowed to conduct on-campus recruitment; the party was the first outright attempt made by Kappa Sigma to promote itself to potential members.
However, because of their off-campus status and because no advertising was done on campus, the colony was in no violation of any policies, said Janelle Briscoe, director of community accountability, in an emailed statement to the Vision.
“Since Kappa Sigma is not considered a Belmont organization they would have to follow the off-campus individuals wishing to advertise,” she said.
But because the language of the Facebook event page did not explicitly refer to Belmont, nor overtly cater to Belmont students, it was not, in this case, bound by the Bruin Guide’s policies for on-campus posting, she said.
Additionally, the only way the office would get involved would be if a violation were to have occurred, she said.
Still, the relationship between Kappa Sigma and Belmont is tenuous. The group’s primary goal remains to become an official organization on campus, despite being told in the past that the university is not open to fraternal expansion.
The relationship the colony has with official Greek organizations is tenuous, as well. These groups often support each other, but that was not the case for the Kappa Sigma colony.
None of the attendees were outwardly associated with any fraternity or sorority.
Some Greek organizations—such as Alpha Gamma Delta—have instructed their members not to associate with the colony.
“We are in no way supposed to be affiliated with Kappa Sigma,” said Andrea Arnouk, vice president for member development, in an email sent to members of the women’s fraternity.
The Phi Kappa Tau men’s fraternity, however, made no such request.
“We never instructed our members to not associate with Kappa Sig,” said Tatum Tummins, the recruitment chair for Phi Tau. “The only time they were ever really brought up was during recruitment. As recruitment chair, I told our members if they were asked about Kappa Sig to say they simply didn’t have any information to share.”
The open mic night was not officially a recruitment event–but if any opportunities arose, Kappa Sigma would pursue them, Johnson said.
“Our hope is that people not a part of Kappa Sigma come to this event and see us, and if guys want to join, we will pursue them. If people have questions, we want to be able to answer them,” he said.
The colony’s current goal is to receive its charter, which is achieved by fulfilling a set criteria and then applying to its governing organization. The charter adds legitimacy to a Greek organization, he said.
“It was a success,” Johnson said. “Everybody enjoyed themselves, and it was a chance to show Belmont a little more about who we are.”