Phi Beta Sigma fraternity reinstated

By Gus Bode

New members excited to begin activities Sigma

Male students seeking a fraternity that is “inclusive” rather than “exclusive” have a fresh option to consider.

SIUC now has an alternative black fraternity with the rebirth of the Phi Beta Sigmas.


Graduate adviser to the fraternity Kinji P. Scott said Phi Beta Sigma is ready to get out there, do new things and show a different side of the greeks that is unfamiliar to many students.

Scott believes that with another outlet at SIUC for black and other minority students, there will be fewer problems on campus, and those who are trying to make positive impressions will have greater opportunity to make a difference.

The Phi Beta Sigmas were suspended after a hazing incident in 1999. Scott believes that a more beneficial method would have been to only suspend the individuals responsible as opposed to the whole chapter, which disabled it from contributing to the community. However, now that the suspension is over, the new Phi Beta Sigma members are ready to get fraternity projects underway.

The men are planning to work a lot with boys ages 9 to 18 as well as the American Cancer Society. They also hope to help ease the transitional period for new students.

“A lot of us come out of the inner city, so when we come into an environment like this, we feel a culture shock while trying to adjust,” Scott said. “I think that responsibility goes onto the shoulders of black greek organizations to make the transition a whole lot smoother, by really mentoring our freshmen.”

Scott said what makes the fraternity different is that members consider themselves “inclusively” rather than “exclusively” greek. This means that they accept all interested people, regardless of race.

The fraternity is close with the national organization now, which said it wants to see major programs going on with an emphasis on multicultural outreach and academics.


“No more hazing. We want to represent what a Sigma man is,” said Billy Kennedy, co-adviser of the Phi Beta Sigmas.

There are many factors that made Scott want to join the fraternity.

“The fact that they were inclusive,” he said. “The whole concept of community service, outreach and brotherhood; the fact that they were different, that they actually made a difference as opposed to just focusing on things like skin color and all of that stuff. That wasn’t important to Sigma. What was important was that you could come in and make a difference.”

“Sigma allows you to be you,” said Mike Harris, sergeant at arms of the Sigmas. “We don’t ask you to do anything out of the ordinary; we ask you to come in and contribute to what we have going on.”

The come-as-you-are perspective attracted Vice President Mario Burton as well.

“It is important to me because I’ve known from day one when I came that I wanted to join a fraternity,” Burton said. “It was important for me that I join a fraternity where I can be myself as well as dedicate myself to the fraternity. I wanted to join an organization and not have to worry about restrictions. It was important to me that I could do everything that I did before.”

With plans for the future and a positive outlook, the Phi Beta Sigmas are eager to get things going.

“It is not what the organization can do for you, it is what you can do for the organization.” Kennedy said. “And that’s what many of our men stand for.”