High costs lead to big change for fraternity

After disputes over membership fees last spring, the University’s pre-law chapter of Phi Alpha Delta has left the fraternity to begin the Pre-Law Honors Society. The group reduces the cost of belonging to the honors society by eliminating Phi Alpha Delta’s initiation and other membership fees.

The executive board of Phi Alpha Delta created the Pre-Law Honors Society to ensure the group was affordable for all students who meet its academic standards.

“At first I was slightly concerned if it would still seem like an honors society and the membership would still be exclusive, but I think they (the executive board) made the right decision,” said Paige Dowdakin, society member and senior in LAS.

Last year, Phi Alpha Delta International informed the executive board for the University’s chapter that it would be instituting a $70 annual membership fee. The fee was proposed to provide insurance for the fraternity’s executive members and to cover any legal costs they may incur.

When the increased fee appeared on applications for Phi Alpha Delta in the spring, the University’s chapter decided to disassociate from the organization and form the independent society.

Heidi Tucker, president of the Pre-Law Honors Society and senior in LAS, said members did not see benefits from the additional fee and the executive board could not ask members to pay more.

“We thought that would be unfair to students since they already have to pay a $100 initiation fee,” Tucker said. “That ends up being an enormous amount of money members have to pay.”

Melissa Gold, member on the executive board and senior in LAS, said Phi Alpha Delta’s new membership fee and dues would have put initiation costs in the mid-$200 range.

“I was affected in a good way because I wasn’t having to pay another year of dues or another fee on top of what I would have had to pay if I were in Phi Alpha Delta,” Dowdakin said.

When the executive board informed Phi Alpha Delta of its intentions, the members of the board were told they would have to give up their executive positions and membership to officially leave the fraternity.

Phi Alpha Delta International also told the chapter they will contact the general members to fill the vacant executive positions.

“They haven’t done it yet,” Tucker said. “At least we haven’t gotten word from our members.”

Although the fraternity still plans to contact general members of the Pre-Law Honors Society to fill leadership roles, the executive board members do not oppose the creation of a new executive board of Phi Alpha Delta.

Nick Lange, treasurer of the Pre-Law Honors Society and junior in LAS, said membership in the fraternity is a lifetime membership, despite the separation. Because of this lifetime membership, the members of the executive board were frustrated when they were initially asked to relinquish their membership along with their leadership positions.

“We’re all lifetime members,” Gold said. “It’s just, as an executive board, we couldn’t reason asking our general members (for the money).”