August 14, 2009
Fraternity and sorority houses are more than just homes to their members.
"That's just kind of the meeting point. It's where you have all your parties, it's where you have a lot of your functions and it's where you meet. It's what holds the fraternity together," said Adam Smith, President of the UVa AEPi chapter.
The battle between UVa's chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi and the national organization that runs the fraternity has gotten awfully bitter. The brothers on grounds say they are sick of dealing with "slimeballs", while the national folks have shut down the frat and locked the brothers out of their house.
If you didn't know better, you would think the AEPi house at UVa was bracing for a storm. Windows shuttered and doors locked. Smith says the brothers have thousands of dollars worth of clothing and electronics inside the house and no one from the national headquarters will return their calls to let them collect their belongings.
The ordeal stems from a hazing allegation in which the brothers say they were never given a chance to tell their side of the story. However, Smith says that hazing incident truly does not have very much to do with why the house has been locked down.
Adam Smith is the second-straight non-Jewish president of UVa chapter of AEPi, a nationally Jewish fraternity, and that is something he says does not sit well with the national chapter.
"It's tough to say that discrimination wasn't a factor, because it just feels like they've told us straight up many times, 'you're not Jewish enough,'" said Smith.
Smith says he was told by the national organization that the fraternity will try to reorganize in a year, putting the current brothers through an interview process that would determine whether or not they could remain in the fraternity.
"I feel like a lot of people just wouldn't want to get back into the whole fraternity scene with people that really don't care," said Smith.
Smith's message to the people who own the house and decided to lock the brothers out, "Just let us get our stuff out and just go."
CBS19 tried multiple times Friday to get a response to these allegations from the folks at the national headquarters, but they have yet to get in contact with us.