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- University Panel Finds Fraternity Not Responsible for a Video of a Member Chanting "Rape"
- Sorority Ends Recognition of Chapter House Following a Dispute With the House Corporation
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Newsletter > September 2015 > "Sorority Ends Recognition of Chapter House Following a Dispute With the House Corporation"
Sorority Ends Recognition of Chapter House Following a Dispute With the House Corporation
Micah Kamrass, Manley Burke, firstname.lastname@example.org
Alpha Omicron Pi recently announced that it would no longer recognize the chapter house at the University of California at Berkeley. The sorority said it would remove letters from the house, discontinue insurance for the facility, and prohibit chapter business from occurring on the property.
According to an article from Inside Higher Ed,1 this withdrawal of recognition stems from “an ongoing dispute between the chapter corporation’s board and the international organization over who should control the property.” The national sorority voted a decade ago to amend its bylaws and transfer all property management responsibilities to the international organization. Of its 135 house corporations, the corporation at UC-Berkeley is the only one that is still refusing to comply with this policy.
This is the not the first major dispute to result from the policy change. In the January 2014 edition of Fraternal Law, we reported on litigation between Alpha Omicron Pi and its House Corporation at the University of Minnesota, Tau, Inc., which arose under similar facts.2 That litigation was settled in June.
Alpha Omicron Pi offered the Berkeley House Corporation a similar deal to its ultimate settlement with the House Corporation in Minnesota. The proposal included the following: the local house corporation could keep title to the house, local alumni could retain a minority number of seats on the board, and nonlocal representatives (presumably those affiliated with the national sorority) would be given a majority number of the seats on the board.
The local members of the house corporation board rejected this proposal with the justification that nonlocal representatives should not be making decisions about repairs to the property and whether or not the property should be mortgaged. That led to Alpha Omicron Pi’s decision to withdraw recognition of the house.
Both with Minnesota and with UC-Berkeley, Alpha Omicron Pi has demonstrated a willingness to defend its policy that the national organization should have all property management responsibilities. As policies like this continue to be a growing trend among fraternities and sororities, examples like this will continue to be important to follow.
1 “Alpha Omicron Pi Drops Recognition of House Over Property Dispute.” Aug. 5, 2015. https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2015/08/05/alpha-omicron-pi-drops-recognition-house-over-property-dispute.
2 Harvey, James C. “Who Owns the Sorority House?” Fraternal Law, January 2014.