Interfraternity Council selects new executive officers to start January 2007

Newly elected officials will work more closely with the University to handle safety issues.

Allison Wickler

The Interfraternity Council, which oversees the fraternity system at the University, elected new executive officers last week and Wednesday.

Phi Kappa Psi member Alec Catsuros will replace Delta Tau Delta member Alex Vu as president, and Sigma Chi member Oleg Ryabinin was elected vice president of member development at the Nov. 8 meeting.

The elections were held over two days because the election process, which involves candidate speeches and discussion, often takes a while.

Catsuros said he plans to face problems the campus as a whole has seen recently.

Because the council has become better-integrated with the University’s Office of Student Affairs, he said he wants a combined effort between greeks and the rest of the campus community to tackle safety issues.

He also said he would like the greek community to become more involved in sponsoring campus-wide events.

Outgoing vice president of public relations Mark Peterson, of Sigma Nu, was elected the new vice president of judicial affairs, which is a fusion of the old executive vice president and vice president of risk management positions.

He will take on the duties of both old positions, he said, regulating safety measures as well as chairing the judiciary committee, which deals with rule violations.

Outgoing executive vice president and member of Beta Theta Pi John Hutchinson said merging the positions will save time by streamlining the jobs.

Ryabinin said he wants to provide fraternity members with academic opportunities that will supplement good grades, such as informational meetings for those who want to apply to law or medical school.

He also wants to reward chapters for academic achievements, rather than disciplining for violations.

“I believe in rewarding rather than punishing,” he said.

Jerry Rinehart, vice provost of student affairs, said stereotypes about negative social behaviors in fraternities have attracted public attention, but said he thinks the greek community has committed itself to meeting high standards.

He said the greek community plays a role in helping students become more engaged, which could improve graduation and retention rates.

“Any opportunity that helps students feel some meaning and sense of community is something we want to support,” Rinehart said.

Sigma Nu external events chair Cullen Deck said he was disappointed that the council’s plan to create a “Greek Week” of homecoming-like activities specifically for the greek community never came to fruition.

However, he thinks the council’s regulations minimize the potential for something to go wrong at social events.

“You don’t feel like they have a hand in your day-to-day life, but they do oversee the bigger things,” he said.

Though the election process is important in the greek community, a number of non-greek students questioned about the elections were apathetic and uninterested in the process.

Kyle Pendergast, a political science and journalism junior, said he didn’t feel the council had a very public role.

“I don’t know how much influence a council would be able to have,” he said.

Wednesday night, Allan Spratt of Delta Tau Delta was elected as Vice President of Finance, Josh Mortensen of Phi Kappa Psi was elected as Vice President of Programming, Clint Been of Phi Kappa Psi was elected as Vice President of Public Relations and Mark Meckstroth of Sigma Phi Epsilon was elected as Vice President of Recruitment.

The new leaders will transition into their positions during the semester, and officially take over in January.

Applications to the Panhellenic Council, which oversees campus sororities, were due Wednesday. Those elections are scheduled to be held next Wednesday.