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Phi Alpha Delta idle due to fall complaint

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Unlike last semester, Phi Alpha Delta members aren’t bearing their Greek letters at the University at Albany.

UAlbany’s PAD chapter — a co-ed pre-law fraternity with a historically heavy presence in student government — was told by Student Involvement last month to sideline all activities as Community Standards reviews a complaint directed at the group.

The complaint was made months back regarding the organization’s behavior, Jordan Carleo-Evangelist, director of Media & Community Relations said in a statement.

While reported in the fall, Carleo-Evangelist said UAlbany deemed January an “appropriate time” to issue a directive at the fraternity.

As of now, the university will not further disclose the complaint’s nature.  

Should Community Standards discover any act that violated UAlbany’s code of conduct after the investigation, students involved, along with the organization, could face university sanctions. The fraternity was last suspended in 2014.

Mitchell Rybak, president of the chapter, claimed PAD’s executive board did not engage in or have knowledge of illicit behavior among membership last year. He has not yet received specifics from Community Standards.

“And so, I could say this: we have been aware that the allegation centered around hazing,” said Rybak. “That is what we know, and I can say that we, as an organization, and we, as an E-Board, deny that.”

Any act that degrades, humiliates or endangers a person’s mental or physical health is considered hazing under university guidelines.

While Community Standards looks over the allegation, members are not allowed to show fraternity letters on campus under the temporary ban, Rybak initially said.

The university later clarified that PAD members are allowed to wear their letters. However, Student Involvement cautioned the group about using the letters in ways that could be construed as organizational activity.

“I don’t really have anything to say to that,” said Jarrett Altilio, recruitment chair for PAD, when asked what it’s like to not wear PAD letters on campus. “It’s not my place to say anything.”

Also Student Association senate chair, Altilio is one of 23 members with a seat in the the organization’s legislative branch. Over a dozen PAD members are running on the Mark Anthony Quinn-Patrick Carroll SA presidential ticket.

On whether there were any concerns that the ticket, which also includes several non-fraternity members, could be interpreted as PAD activity, Altilio said: “I mean, people always interpret that whenever we do anything in SA.”

Claims of PAD activity influencing SA include former senator Alexander Terezakis two years ago alleging that the fraternity yielded strength in numbers to push Altilio to victory against then-opponent Austin Ostro in a chair election.

More recently, SA President Jerlisa Fontaine claimed that a senate vote on conference oversight reform was predetermined due to the “demographic of the room, affiliations, whatever the case is.” Altilio interpreted her comment as a knock on PAD.

Outside attention in student government, the chapter is involved in networking functions, mock trial training, LSAT preparation, and organizing community events.

PAD has held a UAlbany chapter for some 27 years. Earlier in the decade, some members split from the fraternity to form Kappa Alpha Pi.

Update March 1, 2017: to include Student Involvement clarifying’s Rybak’s original remarks on members prohibited from wearing PAD material. 

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Tyler A. McNeil is the current managing editor for the Albany Student Press. The Capital Region native previously served as managing editor for The Hudsonian, and as an intern for the Times Union and Capital Tonight.

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