A fraternity by any other name

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By Sheri Shefa

The international fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi made its Ryerson affiliate an official chapter this week despite Ryerson’s disapproval of any fraternities on campus.

When Jack Gryn created a new chapter of AEPi at Ryerson in 2000, Marion Creery, director of student services, said that in Ryerson’s history, fraternities had never been recognized or approved — though there was no rule banning them from campus.

AEPi was given official chapter status during a ceremony on Sunday. Creery said that as long as the fraternity doesn’t use Ryerson’s name, there would be no problems.

Tony Conte, a program coordinator at student services, said that an unrecognized group using the school’s name is a matter that would be taken very seriously.

“All groups [recognized by Ryerson] must go through an approval process … we have to look at liabilities … human rights legislation, alcohol and risk management,” Conte said.

If a fraternity uses the school’s name without that approval, Conte said, “It is a matter that would need to be pursued.”

Ryerson’s reluctance to allow fraternities is the result of a tragedy that took place almost 40 years ago, when 26-year-old Thomas Dasovich participated in a seven-hour drinking contest sponsored by three unofficial fraternities at Ryerson.

He then got behind the wheel of a car and died in a car crash.

Matt Rossner, the president of AEPi’s Ryerson chapter, called Pi Rho, said that although his group operates independently of Ryerson, they still use the school’s name.

“We do call ourselves AEPi at Ryerson, but they [university officials] haven’t given us any problems with that,” he said.

Still, Rossner said they decided to use Ryerson’s name because they are students at the school and are closely related to Hillel, Ryerson’s official Jewish student group, but not closely affiliated with Ryerson.

“We go out and meet off campus … it has nothing to do with Ryerson. It’s an international fraternity and there’s an international head office.”

Even though Pi Rho has graduated to an official fraternity, Conte doesn’t think it will have any impact on how Ryerson recognizes them or not.

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