Three lifelong friends at the College of Charleston founded Pi Kappa Phi fraternity in 1904. They based the foundation of their new fraternity on the principles of scholarship, leadership, service, and brotherhood. Pi Kappa Phi grew quickly and became very popular and influential in Charleston. Pi Kappa Phi grew at a rate of two new chapters per year and became in 1970 the fastest growing fraternity in America in terms of members. In 2001, Pi Kappa Phi had 140 chapters across the United States.
One of these chapters was the Omicron chapter. In 1917, a group of young men at the University of Alabama applied for a chapter to the Pi Kappa Phi National Fraternity. Omicron was the 15th chapter to be chartered by the young national organization, and the first in the state of Alabama. The chapter soon became a leader in both the Pi Kappa Phi and on the university campus.
However, in 1996, in what proved to be a traumatic event for the chapter, the University of Alabama cited Omicron for hazing. University officials imposed swift and harsh penalties on the Pi Kappa Phi chapter. Omicron's fraternity house was closed, the prominent Pi Kappa Phi letters removed from the facade, and all on-campus operations and activities of the fraternity were suspended for three years. Though times were rocky during the suspension, Omicron's brothers were able to keep the chapter functional. After the suspension in 1999 the chapter increased and counted 70 members in 2001.
Jason McKenna, a senior majoring in management was President of the Omicron chapter at that time. McKenna had a big decision to take. Due to the growing bad reputation of Greek fraternities it was important to refocus on the founding values, beliefs and principles of Greek fraternities. Many of the chapters had substandard...