A nationally-recognized colony of the Kappa Sigma fraternity wants to become Belmont’s third men’s Greek organization on campus and has already been trying to recruit new members.
“Our ultimate goal is to become a chartered fraternity on Belmont’s campus. It’s getting there that’s going to be a trip,” said Michael Crecca, a sophomore and second vice president of the Kappa Sigma colony.
However, Kappa Sigma is not officially recognized by Belmont and likely will not be.
“We told them Belmont’s not open for expansion for fraternities right now,” said Amy Coles, director of student engagement and leadership development. “They’re not recognized by Belmont whatsoever.”
Neither is the fraternity several of the men pledged last year.
Less than half the current membership of Kappa Sigma were part of last year’s Phi Delta Theta pledge class.
“We were already brothers. Even though we did not actually go through a full pledgeship because it was cut off by Belmont, we still had made a decision that we were all going to be brothers and we could not all of a sudden start breaking off,” said Crecca.
The Phi Delta Theta fraternity had its charter permanently revoked last September due to alcohol and hazing violations, leaving the pledges who hadn’t pledged elsewhere without a fraternity to join.
“We got a small taste of Greek life,” Crecca said, “but then it was taken away, and for good reason; Phi Delt was obviously not the right situation. But we still wanted that experience, and we took the steps to essentially get ourselves to have that experience. That’s what we want.”
Crecca said the pledges who would eventually make up Kappa Sigma looked at the two remaining fraternities on campus but didn’t feel drawn to either one.
Now, the fledgling Kappa Sigma group has been pushing forward in its endeavors to get recognized on Belmont’s campus. This includes active attempts to recruit new members through what is colloquially being called dirty rush. Belmont’s official rush for fraternities began Monday.
Because Kappa Sigma is not a recognized Belmont fraternity, it has to recruit differently, Crecca said.
“We obviously will be recruiting guys. We want to get the highest quality men for our fraternity, just like Alpha Tau Omega and Phi Kappa Tau do,” he said.
The difference is Kappa Sig cannot hold any official rush events on campus.
“There’s a gray area to what is called recruiting and what is not,” Crecca said. “We’re not doing any official recruiting on campus, but we are meeting guys, and talking to guys, and having lunch with them because we want to meet the highest quality guys.”
How the group is recruiting however, is in question.
Four Belmont students were hospitalized after attending two parties rumored to have been hosted by members of the colony. However, Crecca was quick to say the parties were not official fraternity events.
“Kappa Sigma has never thrown a party and never will,” he said. “Never do we organize as anything official as Kappa Sigma that has anything do with underage drinking. It is against our bylaws.”
The current condition of those students is unknown, and the cause of their hospitalization could not be confirmed.
Additionally, some members of the colony approached Belmont’s student government about becoming a part of Greek life but were redirected to the Office of Student Engagement. The office handles the student organization legitimization process, according to an official statement emailed to the Vision.
“It is not within the purview or jurisdiction of SGA to assist organizations outside of that process,” the statement read.
Since then, the office has received no requests from the colony to become an official chapter as far as Coles knows.
But even if it had submitted a request to become the third fraternity on Belmont’s campus, the chances of that actually happening would be slim, she said.
“When they went through that process to become a Nashville chapter, they harmed their ability to ever be considered for Belmont. That’s just not the right way of going about it,” she said.
Also potentially factoring into the equation is the group’s recruitment activity, which has been generally recognized to include the two parties.
“If this were essentially tied to this off-campus organization, this behavior, of course it’s going to be considered if they ever come up for wanting to become a part of Belmont,” she said.
Alternatively, Crecca said the colony is operating within Belmont’s rules.
“Recruitment obviously happens at official rush events. We’re not allowed to hold any official rush events on campus. I understand that,” he said. “But we are following Belmont’s official rules that we obviously don’t have to abide by if we don’t want to—we are making a choice because we respect Belmont, we respect their Greek community, to follow all those rules.”
Some members of Belmont’s official fraternities and sororities now fear how the Kappa Sigma colony’s activity may impact their reputations, and, as such, have been taking measures to stop it.
“Kappa Sigma has been trying to recruit for parties. If we see it, we’re supposed to report it immediately,” said Emily Swan, a member of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority. “Basically, it can’t happen.”
While Kappa Sigma is not recognized by Belmont, the group is officially known by its national office. There it is known as the Nashville, Tennessee Colony.
“A colony is all pledges, but no members. It’s a prospective chapter with no charter or rituals,” said an official with the fraternity’s national office.
In order to become a charter, a colony must fulfill a number of criteria, including attending a workshop, having programming, logging community service hours and paying charter fees. The process typically takes anywhere from nine to 12 months, he said.
“We would support them as a city/county organization as long as we could, but obviously we would like them to become a chapter,” he said.
That’s what Crecca said he and the other colony members want, but they are aware they are in for a climb to get official Belmont recognition.
“We knew we were fighting an uphill battle when we started, and it’s just getting steeper and steeper.”