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National Revamps AEPhi Chapter

By FrankDabek
News Editor

The MIT chapter of Alpha Phi Epsilon has recently undergone a reorganization under the direction of its national organization. As a result, several members of the sorority have deaffiliated themselves from AEPhi and others have been given alumni status.

Bonnie Wunch, Executive Director of AEPhi, said that the chapter is undergoing a reorganization because it "had not achieved the size [the national] had in mind." Wunch said the national "came to help [the chapter] move to the next step."

Deborah G. Carlton '99, president of AEPhi, said that the reorganization was the result of "stagnant growth" in the chapter and that the goal of the process was to make the local chapter a "successful organization" and to form a "cohesive group."

Former member Sarah J. Dash '99 said that "AEPhi National's decision to reorganize was premature and unfair." Dash felt that the national "completely neglected to acknowledge the fact that we had had a successful formal rush in 1997, and had become a strong chapter with a great deal of potential for further growth."

Neal H. Dorow, assistant dean for residence and campus activities, said that "when a national thinks a chapter is having difficulty sustaining itself and its viability appears to be at risk very often they come in to assess what the problems" may be.

Dorow, who acts as advisor to fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups, said "very often they reorganize the chapter" as a result of assessing the mission of the group.

National organizations are given "a degree of sovereignty" over chapters as long as their actions do not conflict with MIT's policies on discrimination. Dorow said that such conflict "was not a issue in this case to my knowledge."

Process involves interviews

Wunch said that the reorganization process involves a "commitment interview" between each member and the national organization. She described these interviews as "similar to going through the rush process again."

Members are either given bids to remain in the sorority or else reduced to alumni status. Wunch also said that the national sorority would be heavily involved in rush next year.

Dash said, however, that "[the national] had completely neglected to offer [the local chapter] significant additional support in previous years."

In addition, Dash said that she "found the idea of a commitment interview' very insulting, because each person in [the] chapter had invested a great deal of time and energy in the sorority."

Carlton said, however, that she was "very positive that we will have a successful rush in the fall."

Both Carlton and Wunch strongly denied that the reorganization of AEPhi, a traditionally Jewish sorority, was done with regard to religious affiliation. Wunch said that AEPhi "does not discriminate" when choosing members.

Carlton said that "[the reorganization was definitely not done along religious lines."