Neighborhood denies fraternity's recognition

By Mike Skow
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, January 21, 2005

The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity is being denied university recognition by its homeowners association after receiving several noise complaints from neighbors.

The West University Neighborhood Association is denying the fraternity, 545 E. University Blvd., recognition after homeowners like Vince LaMotta, an anthropology doctoral student, said the fraternity makes a lot of noise and causes parking problems.

"There is a good amount of noise that comes from over there, on the weekends pretty late at night, and it's my perception that parking gets real tight," LaMotta said.

LaMotta said homeowners in the area know it is a college neighborhood, but they cannot pinpoint whether or not the fraternity has become a nuisance.

"It's a student neighborhood to begin with, but whether they've been specifically a really negative influence, I can't say," LaMotta said.

James Hoult, a member of Phi Kappa Psi, said the fraternity is actively involved in the neighborhood and they have invited neighbors to various social functions.

"We had a barbeque for the neighborhood, to invite them all in and basically have an open house, and we advertised through fliers but no one showed up," said Hoult, a visual communications junior.

Despite the countless homeowners who want the fraternity gone, there are other homeowners who have no problems with Phi Kappa Psi.

Carmen Burns, neighborhood resident, said she has lived in the West University Neighborhood for 30 years and has had no problems with the fraternity.

Robert Woodson, Phi Kappa Psi president, said the fraternity wants to build a house on campus, but in order to move they need the neighborhood association to give them recognition.

Woodson, a history senior, said while he and members have tried talking with the neighborhood association, issues arose and have prevented the move from happening.

Woodson said even though they have to worry about city and state laws, they do not have to deal with WUNA's rules, or even the university's rules, because they are not recognized by either of them.

"We don't have to deal with, as a house, the rules put forth by the neighborhood association, the university or the greek community." Woodson said.

Still, this has not swayed WUNA enough to give Phi Kappa Psi the recognition they want.

Vince LaMotta's wife, Sarah LaMotta, a staff member of the physics department, said if Phi Kappa Psi is granted recognition they would get out of control.

"I think without having recognition hanging over their heads, the neighborhood would feel like (the fraternity) could do whatever they want," Sarah LaMotta said.

Phi Kappa Psi is trying to receive recognition because they want their house included in the Inter-Fraternity Council's formal rush process, Woodson said.

Woodson said that having a house is a big asset and Phi Kappa Psi's goal is to have a place for formal rush, because in previous semesters the fraternity has had to hold rush in a classroom on campus.

At a WUNA meeting, Woodson said if recognized, the fraternity would not be permitted to have any parties at the house.

"We can have no parties once we're recognized as a house, and we can't have random people hanging out over here once we're recognized as a house." Woodson said.

Woodson said if the chapter did have parties at their house, WUNA would know about it and would inform the UA and would be subject to following guidelines implemented by the greek system.

Vince LaMotta said if the fraternity had to sign something stating guidelines for living in a house, homeowners in the area might be more comfortable with the fraternity being part of their neighborhood.

"If the university could mediate some sort of formal agreement, even a signed agreement with stipulations that says we will not do this, this, or this." Vince LaMotta said.

Woodson said the UA has been trying to get the fraternity temporary campus recognition. If the chapter is granted temporary recognition, they would be able to hold rush at their house.

"They're doing everything they can to get us a temporary recognition for rush, to try and come at it from another angle." Woodson said.