Phi Sigs Allowed Back: Fraternity Re-Colonizes at WC After 30 Years

By Abby Wargo

News Editor

After being banned from campus for nearly 30 years, the Phi Sigma fraternity is re-colonizing at Washington College.

According to Candace Wannamaker, associate vice president of Student Affairs and Title IX coordinator, several members came to Student Affairs about possibly allowing the chapter back onto campus and regaining national recognition in conjunction with their national organization, Phi Sigma Kappa. Currently, the Phi Sigs have no affiliation with the national organization.

The fraternity was placed on social probation on Dec. 15, 1988 after committing a “series of violations of stewardship,” according to a Feb. 10, 1989 article in The Elm. The same week, the College announced that Phi Sigma Kappa would no longer be recognized as a fraternity on campus, due to violations of social probationary terms.

The Phi Sigma Kappas, who were living in East Hall in 1989, were found responsible for flooding the first floor bathroom by way of ripping a damaged toilet out of the wall, setting fire to the first floor bathroom, and violating social probation by “holding a rush party with alcohol present,” according to an article in The Elm published that year.

After the February 1989 ban, the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity was to remain unrecognized until October 1989, at which point the members could “exercise their right to petition that the fraternity be reactivated,” according to The Elm. The administration reviewed their petition and did not reinstate the fraternity.

Now, Student Affairs is working with student members of the off-campus organization to re-instate the colony.

“We work with the students on campus who are spearheading the effort and coordinate with the national organization closely to make sure that our students are developing action plans, goals and objectives, and creating a vision for the organization that matches the mission and vision for the College,” Wannamaker said.

President of the Interfraternity Council Ben Fizer, junior, said, “I am happy that we’ve brought them onto campus, and I am happy to see a new men’s Greek organization. I look forward to working with them in the coming months.”

According to the Phi Sigma Kappa website, the fraternity’s mission is to promote brotherhood, stimulate scholarship, and develop character. Their core values include demanding excellence, committing to lifelong learning, meeting challenges with innovation, and valuing brotherhood above self.

President Kurt Landgraf was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa during his collegiate years, he said.

“Having been a Phi Sigma Kappa myself, I think [bringing the fraternity back] is a good thing,” he said. “It is a bonding experience. Some of my very best friends to this day were fraternity brothers.”

“Our hope is that any group that wishes to embrace the ideals of our Greek life system will enhance campus life and be accepted by the other Greek organizations,” Wannamaker said.

4 thoughts on “Phi Sigs Allowed Back: Fraternity Re-Colonizes at WC After 30 Years

  1. Can Vice President Wannamaker comment on whether this process was initiated by the members of Phi Sigma or whether the administration actually initiated this process? And were/are the members of the Phi Sigma organization facing disciplinary action and sanction if they refused to request reinstatement? This article forwards the notion that the members of Phi Sigma independently desires reinstatement. I find that narrative dubious, at best.

  2. As the Great Pharaoh Benjamin T. Hinkle once said, “Our revenge will be the laughter of our children. Also alumni weekend. That’ll be sweet.”

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