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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, June 15, 2024

Tufts denies Medford Alpha Epsilon Pi’s affiliation request

Local chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi remains unaffiliated with Tufts University.

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The former Tufts AEPi house is pictured in 2015.

In March, several Tufts students approached the university with intentions of reestablishing the Medford Alpha Epsilon Pi Eta Deuteron fraternity chapter on campus. Tufts denied the request to officially recognize AEPi, and the chapter remains unaffiliated with the university.

“Student life and [the Interfraternity Council] are committed to supporting the organizations that are currently established and recognized on campus and to enhancing their growth and development,” Mary Kate Kelley, Tufts’ fraternity and sorority life advisor, wrote in an email to the Daily. “We are not open to adding additional chapters at this time.”

The original Tufts AEPi chapter, which was founded in 1940, disaffiliated from the national organization in 2015, believing that their long term goals did not align with each other. The chapter established itself instead as local fraternity Pi Delta that same year. In 2017, Pi Delta closed as an alternative to resolving allegations of misconduct and no longer has affiliation with the university.

Currently, the chapter is known as Medford AEPi and has six members. The members had been working with the national AEPi organization to gain recognition from Tufts and create an official chapter.

“AEPi [has] a long history with students from Tufts University in Medford,” Jon Pierce, who handles AEPi communications, said. “We offer our students opportunities to learn about leadership, advocacy [and] philanthropy within the Jewish community, so we offer maybe a little different twist on the usual, more traditional fraternity experience. We had students who approached us and were interested in restarting AEPi with Tufts students in Medford and we have begun working with them on that.”

Eli Tenenbaum, current sophomore and president of Medford AEPi, expressed his disappointment at the university’s decision not to affiliate with the chapter, which inhibits participation in mixers and other social events with officially recognized fraternities and sororities.

“For now, the biggest issue we have … is that we’re unrecognized and we’re not part of the Greek community [at Tufts],” Tenenbaum said. “So we really can’t do events with other Greek organizations on campus.”

Tenenbaum believes having an AEPi chapter at Tufts would create a space of exploration and connection for Jewish students on campus.

“I feel like I didn’t find a place for myself in the current Greek life scenario at Tufts,” he said. “My dad told me about how he was in AEPi at Tufts. He loved it. It was something that helped him a lot in his career and his life. … I’ve been getting more in touch with my religion recently, so I wanted the Jewish fraternity experience so I can have that Jewish brotherhood without having to relearn what it means to be Jewish.”

Despite not being affiliated with Tufts, the chapter has been collaborating with other organizations outside of the university. This included hosting philanthropy events to donate to charities in the Boston area.

“We’re hoping to do our best with the situation we have,” Tenenbaum said. “We have been doing events with other AEPi chapters in Boston like the [ones] in Northeastern and BU, they’ve been a fantastic help. Truly for a chapter just starting out, they have been a tremendous help to get us situated.”

Pierce explained that while recognition from the university is a long-term goal, the chapter is currently focused on recruiting new members and determining the level of interest from the community.

“We’ve had a cordial relationship with the university and we’re working towards that recognition in the future,” Pierce said. “But for right now, we’re just looking to find students who are interested in joining the Medford, Mass. chapter of AEPi … working within the Jewish communities at Tufts to gauge interest and to drive interest.”

Tenenbaum hopes that the chapter will be recognized by Tufts in the near future, but in the meantime plans to adhere to university rules while gathering support and possible new membership.

“We’re hoping to continue to market through word of mouth,” Tenenbaum said. “We don’t want to break any Tufts rules, we don’t want to get in trouble with the administration and we want to be recognized eventually. So we’re trying to work around whatever parameters we can, so we can be recognized properly and go through the proper steps.”