An article in a recent edition of this newspaper brought attention to the supposed impending arrival of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity on campus. What then ensued can be described as nothing other than sheer public outcry: I half-expected shops to be looted and grandmothers mugged in the street, the total breakdown of public order.

The student body wailed and shrieked at the imminent possibility of this petite and quaint town of St Andrews being ravaged and pillaged by a savage and highly-sexed bunch of “bros”.

This wonderfully exaggerated and excessive response seemed strange to me. I, you see, am a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi – a fraternity already well-established here in St Andrews.

What was striking was that I was completely unaware that I had been socialising with said pillaging savages. Furthermore, I was completely unaware that I, myself, was part of this highly sexed posse.

My academic  father  first  introduced  me  to  the  concept  of  AEΠ in my first year. In fact, it was arguably he who brought the entire concept of Greek life to the UK for the first time. The terms of their expansion were negotiated with the HQ in Indiana and, four years on, the St Andrews chapter is stronger than ever. We now have chapters in many other UK universities and a membership role in the hundreds.

The fraternity, as it happens, is far from the perceived image that the public at large believe Greek life in general to be like.

We are a 101 year old association with around 10,000 members. Here, in St Andrews, we are just like any other society. Yes, there is a social aspect to our organisation – much like any other club in the town.

What set us apart from any other club, however, are our core values.

Religious values, being that we are a Jewish organisation, and our strong emphasis on personal achievement and honour create a social environment that overflows with ambition and drive.

AEΠ consistently  achieves  the highest grade point average on the campuses in which we have a chapter. We also boast successful alumni including Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg and executive producer of The Simpsons, James L. Brooks.

Closer to home, our chapter has already produced School Presidents for International Relations, Economics and Art History as well as a deputy editor for this very newspaper last year.

Our chapter alumni are taking positions in some of the top institutions in the country, including JPMorgan, Fidelity and Cambridge University.

What a Greek life offers, manifested in the above examples, is another body through which students can find meaning and purpose, while finding themselves and helping those around them.

AEΠ, and many other fraternities and sororities like us, ultimately have at our core the desire to make our members the leaders of tomorrow.

Our close-nit communities and highly collaborative and friendly environment can set many on a path to success. I would go as far as saying that Greek life, contrary to conventional wisdom, works almost in tandem with this and other universities’ motives to seek only the best from their student body so that they may flourish in both their personal and professional lives.

The impeding arrival of fraternities and sororities into the UK was inevitable. Admittedly, the initial interest in bringing the idea of Greek life over the pond may have been largely based on media depictions of fraternity “gentlemen” with hubris and often disgusting debauchery.

The true picture, as expressed in this article, could not be further from that description.

27 COMMENTS

  1. You’d need to open up your membership policy to female members. St Andrews can’t be seen to have or endorse any form of gender exclusivity.

  2. ‘Personal achievement’, ‘flourish in professional lives’, ‘leaders of tomorrow’. Fantastic, a bunch of self obsessed boys who are to represent the populace having no real experience or compassion.

    • You don’t choose a Final Club, they choose you. I think you’re mistaking his interest in the Phoenix S.K Club for his, then, best friend Eduardo Saverin being punched by it. If there were any club he’d have “wanted” to join, it would be the Porcellian.

  3. They’re also drunks, i saw them kicking in someone’s car outside Mcintosh from my window during their ‘initiations’, the owner was not happy. Do we really want more of this in St Andrews? They pretend they are saints, they achieve nothing, and give nothing.

    • I was actually one of the members present when this happened – one of our pledges walked into (not kicked) a car and some people claiming to be the owners pulled us aside. I offered to give the guy who told us it was his car my number and told him I’d personally cover all damages. He shook my hand, refused the number, and he and his friends went on his way. If you’d have had us handle things differently, or think this wasn’t an amicable resolution to the issue, please let me know.
      As far as our supposed lack of achievement, we raise a significant amount of money for multiple charities worldwide and spend our free time volunteering with local organizations. As well, our members have been School Presidents of International Relations, Economics, and Art History; in fact, our founder was actually the deputy editor of this publication. I say this not to be self-aggrandizing, rather simply to point out that we do positive things for this community as well as for other Jews across the world.
      If you’d like to meet with me to discuss this further and give us a chance to speak our minds to you, rather than just anonymously calling us all drunks who achieve nothing, please get in touch either here or on Facebook. I’d be more than happy to grab a coffee with you and have an actual conversation on the subject.

      • Wow, being sober and watching from my window must have meant i made it up… He was banging on the car with his hands and feet and yelling. You guys (extremely drunk) then sauntered off yelling ‘PLEDGE COME HERE’. It’s everything wrong with greek life.

        • Maybe you misinterpreted the situation? I, just as sober as you were, stayed behind and had a full conversation in which the owner and I settled the issue. I’m not sure how you could’ve missed seeing that. As well, there was no “banging with hands and feet,” this was a run-of-the-mill drunk student walking into a parked car. I’m sure it’s happened to others before and I’m sure it’ll happen to others again – the only difference between us and others is that we actually took the action to offer the owner our contact details and gave him a way to find us. Why I’d do that if we actually had been doing something as grossly irresponsible as you’re accusing is beyond me.
          If you can produce some viable proof (say, the car’s owner calling or getting in contact with me himself, as I offered him the ability to do) that we damaged his car and left without offering compensation of any sort, we’re more than happy to face the legal consequences of one of our members accidentally walking into a car. Otherwise it’s unproductive to argue the point seeing as it’s simply your word against mine.
          Again, please contact me if you want to have an actual conversation – I’m happy to discuss the positives and negatives of our organization with you, rather than an anonymous he-said-she-said.

          • the fact that you guys are so caught up by this persons message that she saw from a window means it definitely happened. you wouldn’t be trying to prove yourselves so innocent otherwise. GET THE OFF CAMPUS. thugs.

  4. Also, this group of guys seem totally oblivious to all the similar activity in St Andrews. They claimed last year to be throwing “the first frat toga party in St Andrews ever”…is it just me or havent the KKC guys been throwing those since the 80’s?

  5. Granted, it looks like your fraternity is pretty decent, upholding its core Jewish values and its mission statement to ‘prepare young men for their role in life as responsible citizens.’

    The same cannot be said for ΔΚΕ. To me, they are a rogue fraternity which has lost touch with its original core values and become nothing more than a bunch of idiotic college ‘bros’ acting like twats.

    That might explain why nobody has an issue with your fraternity, but why ΔΚΕ is definitely not welcome. They are all different.

    That said, I really don’t think there is a place for fraternities in the UK anyway. I don’t want any, and it seems to me your fraternity has gone under the radar a bit, which is probably a credit to you. But i’m sorry, you can keep that shit in the States.

  6. I spent last year in the States and saw the kind of moronic activities that go along with Greek life. It seems to me an utterly pointless way for a bunch of insecure guys to feel like they belong to something “special”. Everyone likes to feel included, there’s nothing wrong with that, but the idea of an association for a very specific kind of male student, excluding others because of their race, religion, gender etc is insane. University is supposed to be a place for expanding horizons through new friendships, associations etc, I fail to see how a fraternity helps to achieve this. If you want to join like-minded individuals, pick from one of the many associations already in place; hey, but why not try a little adventure – maybe meet some people who aren’t exactly like you…or you know what? maybe even some women, there’s a crazy idea!

    • We never said we exclude members because of their race or religion. That is totally farcical. Obviously we exclude females, i mean we’re a frat? what did you expect?

    • “I spent last year in the States” – well, there you go. This isn’t the States. This is the UK. Just because this Alpha Epsilon Pi thing is a “frat” by name doesn’t mean it’s anything like those you seem to have encountered. Case in point – have you ever been caused trouble by anyone from this frat? I can’t say I have, they seem to keep things pretty under control. Second, I’m sure the guys who are in it are as normal as the next person, who go out and play sports and write for the Saint and generally do things normal people do. So why they can’t hang out with other Jewish guys, as you seem to be suggesting they shouldn’t, is beyond me. After all, it says on the Alpha Epsilon Pi wikipedia entry that it is “non-discriminatory”, just that it’s based on Jewish values – so of course it’s Jews who are more likely to join! It’s no more discriminatory than any other faith/interest-based group. And thirdly, I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard of anyone complain about the Lumsden Club/the Other Guys/the various other single-sex groups around St Andrews. Which does make me wonder why you’re so willing to jump out and criticise Alpha Epsilon Pi having done little-to-no research on it. Did a Jewish boy/girl break your heart?

      • No, my heart has never been attacked by anyone Jewish, boy or girl! Of course there is a range of behaviour from people in fraternities and possibly this one features only the nicest, most polite guys in St Andrews. My issue is that it is unnecessary to form a fraternity, hang out together, talk about Jewish interests, fine. Do you really need to form a fraternity to do that? I don’t think so. If you accept and endorse one frat then you have to allow others to form and become a part of university life in St Andrews. Like you said, this isn’t the States, this is the UK. I have absolutely no issue with like-minded people hanging out together, hence my endorsement of the many societies in St Andrews. However, I do take issue with the widely publicised behaviour and attitudes of some frats across America and definitely some I encountered in the US. For the record I think the Lumsden Club is a largely pointless vanity project. The Other Guys are a musical group – something very different as their sound is composed of male voices.

  7. You discuss the successes of the individual members within your particular fraternity but you fail to address ANY of the well-founded fears that fraternity culture is pernicious and harmful to gender equality and mutual respect. I attend a university in which more than a third of the student population participates in Greek life. The harmful effects of Greek culture surround me on a daily basis. This “brotherhood” glorifies binge drinking, rape culture, and the sexual subordination of women. I can’t even begin to share how these societies have negatively impacted the lives of my fellow students. I am sad to say that we have had deaths at UVA as a result of extreme hazing by some of these “philanthropic” organizations. Not only does Greek life not belong at St. Andrews but also the university does not have the administrative know-how to deal with these societies and the threats that they pose to the university community. Here at UVA we have a strict anti-hazing policy as well as an administrative branch that deals with fraternity and sorority life. Even this extent of oversight has not prevented gross misconduct on the part of these supposedly harmless organizations. Just to put it in perspective – we had 37 reported sexual assaults at UVA in 2013. The majority of these assaults are student-against-student assaults. I’m sad to say that I have more than one friend that has been drugged at a fraternity party. It’s disgusting. This level of sexual violence is supported by Greek life and I know for a fact it does not exist at St. Andrews to any similar degree.

    I studied abroad at St. Andrews for a semester and I can tell you that student culture is much more fraternal and communal than it is here at UVA. I attribute that sense of community at St. An to the lack of Greek culture, which stratifies much more than it unites. Greek life is the last thing that the University of St. Andrews needs.

  8. “Our chapter alumni are taking positions in some of the top institutions in the country, including JPMorgan, Fidelity and Cambridge University.”

    “As well, our members have been School Presidents of International Relations, Economics, and Art History; in fact, our founder was actually the deputy editor of this publication. I say this not to be self-aggrandizing, rather simply to point out that we do positive things for this community as well as for other Jews across the world. … drunks who achieve nothing”

    Fostering a competitive, ladder-climbing, exclusionary ‘Pat our (Jewish) special friends on the back and push them forward’ environment does not argue in your favor. All sorts of bad people have become successful in the world – merely achieving status speaks nothing of the quality of character your society fosters – it merely shows you’re a successful old boy’s club. Everyone else excels BY YOUR SAME METRICS (acceptance to prestigious institutions, becoming school presidents, being editors of The Saint, giving to charity, helping your friends) therefore you are no different, no more worthy or morally upright.

    It’s like saying “my club isn’t bad, because some of our members are good at school”, no, its quite possible to be good at [arbitrary feat our society sees as worthy] while still being navel-gazing arses. I’m not saying you necessarily ARE arses, but your arguments in no way prove that you aren’t. Sorry. Logic. (I’d be delighted to know how many of you study science or philosophy, rather than Economics and Management.)

  9. Why on earth do we need sexist societies that merely serve to further entrench privilege? This university has a big enough image problem without adding to it by trying to bring in greek life.

    Sororities and fraternities SELECT members, hence they will always be unfair.

    St Andrews has a wealth of societies and ways to get involved in the community without discrimination. Greek life will add nothing new except problems.

    Also implying being religious makes you superior is incredibly obnoxious.

  10. I am a Jewish student studying in the UK. I have always expressed my discontent for AePi . I find their core values and principles highly inappropriate in the society we live in today. Their fraternity is nothing more than self-obsessed Jewish ”lads” getting together and competing with one another to drink more alcohol than the other, whilst doing a charity event here and there to kiss the shoes of the Union and cover up other immoral activity. I believe the UK as a whole are better without AEPi and any Greek life for that matter. Let the American Higher Education system suffer at the hands of such pointless entities.

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