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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

AEPi being re-formed by a new group of students

Published: September 21, 2012
Section: News

Last Wednesday, Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) announced that it was attempting to bring a chapter of the fraternity back to the Brandeis community, recognized by the AEPi national office but not by the university. That night, a group of 29 founding fathers in a new generation of AEPi were inducted into the organization. Each of these 29 were accepted after an interview process with representatives from the national organization, in order to ensure that a diverse group of campus leaders dedicated about the values of AEPi would be chosen to help bring a chapter back to Brandeis, according to AEPi President Danny Reisner ’14. This generation of AEPi is currently recognized as a “colony” rather than a “chapter.” According to Reisner, this is one of the initial steps in the creation of a chapter. A colony must exist for a certain amount of time before it is termed a chapter of AEPi. During the fall semester last year, the AEPi composed of Brandeis students was shut down by the national organization. While there have been many rumors as to why this occurred, Reisner only said that the group had been “a risk management issue,” and that they “didn’t have the best relationship with the national organization.” The AEPi colony rejoins four fraternities and three sororities, each founded by and comprised of Brandeis students. The chapters, all chartered chapters of national organizations, do not have official ties and are not recognized by the university. A 1988 Board of Trustees Resolution prohibits fraternities and sororities, according to the Rights and Responsibilities Handbook: “Exclusive or secret societies are inconsistent with the principles of openness to which the University is committed. Therefore, social fraternities and sororities, in particular, are neither recognized nor permitted to hold activities on campus or use University facilities.” The current executive board of this generation of AEPi is comprised of Reisner, Vice President Jake Altholz ’15, Secretary Morris Dida ’14, Toby Bern ’14 as Member at Large, Jake Cohen ’15 as Treasurer and Dean Kaplan ’15 as Pledge Master. There is also a Minor Board in the group, which according to Altholz houses a number of committees that ensure AEPi’s values are followed, as well as that the needs of its brothers are met. “Committees in other chapters include philanthropy and athletics,” Altholz said, adding that new committees are always welcome to enhance the overall AEPi experience. Reisner told The Hoot that Kaplan approached him after the shutdown of the previous chapter to discuss a possible reformation, and that he was “very interested … when presented the opportunity to start fresh.” The process of founding this colony had been in the works since last semester. “National representatives have come to work with us on multiple occasions,” Reisner said, adding that the new AEPi is not a group of students grasping at an idea, but a group of people who are dedicated to bringing AEPi back to campus in a positive way. “No one wants a repeat of the unfortunate situation that occurred with the previous generation on campus,” Altholz said. To prevent this, he said that two professional staff members of the national AEPi organization have been working very closely with the founding fathers, and that there is trust on both sides. Altholz also emphasized that the goal of the founding fathers was to “leave a lasting, positive legacy” of AEPi within the Brandeis community. An international Jewish fraternity, AEPi was founded to “provide opportunities for the Jewish college man seeking the best possible college and fraternity experience,” according to its website. The website also clarifies that AEPi is “non-discriminatory and open to all who are willing to espouse its purpose and values.” Reisner also moved to clarify this policy, telling The Hoot that AEPi is “100 percent non-discriminatory,” and that the founding fathers are “looking for people who want to join because of Jewish values, not because they’re personally Jewish.” When asked how these values would be applied to this generation of AEPi, Altholz stressed that the founding fathers are each “dedicated to community service, social justice and philanthropy,” and that the goal was to make sure that these values were followed by AEPi at all times. He also mentioned that the national organization is incredibly dedicated to philanthropy, with three full time professional staff members who work in its philanthropy department. These sentiments were also echoed by Reisner, who stated that the founding fathers want this chapter to “have a great reputation, and to give AEPi the respect that it deserves.” Both Altholz and Reisner also said that, if everything goes according to plan, AEPi will hold its first recruitment during the spring semester of 2013. Despite the limited resources that the group will naturally have due to its youth, Reisner commented that the group will be “looking for a big rush process during the spring,” and that they “want a solid amount of people who will stick through the pledge process.”