Wednesday, October 13, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 37

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About the Cougar

Interfraternity Council allows TKE resignation

By Jim Parsons
Daily Cougar Staff 

UH Interfraternity Council members voted earlier this month to accept the resignation of the campus's Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity chapter, a move they hope will bring an end to months of dispute between the fraternity and the governing board.

IFC President Bill Hoover said in an Oct. 7 letter to Mark Hammond, TKE chapter president, that the Council's General Assembly voted 6-0 in favor of accepting the chapter's voluntary withdrawal from IFC.

Henri Chen/The Daily Cougar

The Interfraternity Council last week accepted the resignation of the UH chapter of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. Non-membership could raise questions about the future of the fraternity's house at 5069 Calhoun, shown here.

Hoover cited the chapter's "not fulfilling the most basic responsibilities of membership within our fraternity community" as reason for the IFC decision.

Hammond had sent a memorandum to Hoover, IFC adviser Bruce Twenhafel and IFC Vice President for Standards Greg O'Malley in early September stating that the chapter was to "suspend all relations with the (IFC) ... until revoked by a vote of the majority of our membership and by the board of directors of the corporation."

A subsequent memo from Hammond forbade IFC members or officials from setting foot on TKE property.

At the time, Hoover told The Daily Cougar he was confused as to the fraternity's intentions. "What we thought they were getting at was, 'We're still going to be on the IFC, but we won't follow their rules,'" he said.

Hammond insisted he did not want to leave the IFC. "It's not like we're leaving. We're kind of like Taiwan," he said. "I have to do what I feel is in the best interest of our fraternity."

Hammond did not return calls from The Daily Cougar on Tuesday.

The disagreement between the Council and TKE began when the IFC charged the chapter with failure to abide by sanctions imposed when its members' grades dropped below the IFC-mandated minimum 2.3 GPA.

The rift intensified when the Council levied a combined $1,500 in fines and more severe sanctions, including suspension from IFC social events and the intramural sports Greek League, against the fraternity in two August judicial hearings.

A TKE appeal of the hearings' results was overturned by an IFC appellate board in September, but the fraternity continued to violate the IFC sanctions with a series of parties.

Twenhafel said Tuesday that the fraternity's actions left the IFC with no choice but to interpret the situation as the chapter's withdrawal from the Council.

"The member council has to say, 'Either you are a member or you aren't,'" Twenhafel said. "This could have gone on forever and a day, and where would it have gotten them?"

He said the chapter now has the status of a registered student organization. "They're no longer bound by IFC or able to participate in the IFC Greek-oriented activities," he said.

Twenhafel said if the chapter should decide it wishes to re-join IFC, it would have to undergo the Council's expansion process. "It's not going to be automatic," he said.

As for the decision's long-term effect on the Greek community, Twenhafel said he felt the Council chose the only possible course of action.

"IFC is only as good as its members," he said. "As a result of this action, IFC is much stronger."

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