Poobah fraternity reinstated

Natalie McMillan

The fraternity Phi Omega Phi (Poobah) began their reinstatement process as a chapter of Augie Greek Life this summer on Aug. 27, 2020. 
Last academic year, a bias report was submitted against Poobah following a rush activity that included a slideshow containing breasts and buttocks of female Augustana students.
As a result, the fraternity received a suspension. They were banned from having a spring rush group, paid monetary fines, were not allowed to attend any Greek sanctioned events and they were banned from wearing their letters around campus for a 4-8 week period.
The fraternity now must attend numerous educational training sessions, quarterly meetings with the dean of students office and a probation period through 20-21. The fraternity must also appoint a diversity chair by Oct. 1, 2020 and a female advisor by Jan. 1, 2021. 
However, because of the events following COVID-19 this summer, there was confusion as to what the fraternity’s position on campus was.
“I can definitely agree that there was uncomfortability with them being back on campus during the activities fair,” sophomore Eli Bates said. “A lot of people said that it was kind of weird seeing them there again.”
Seeing the fraternity back was a cause for concern for some students. 
“I feel like the entire situation was just another slap on the wrist,” senior Joshua Richardson, the greek council risk chair, said. “I was here my freshman year and I witnessed them put out an apology for somebody, and then this happened last year and the same thing happened. They just put an apology. [Another] slap on the wrist of the school, but this time they just got suspended, but without an actual ingrained consequence with the fraternity.”
The Greek Council president, junior Alondra Ochoa, had similar views as Richardson. 
“I think most people on campus, specifically in Greek Life, we were all affected by COVID to some degree,” Ochoa said. “And obviously, we couldn’t do the usual things that happen in spring term, like activation and formals.. The Poobahs  would have missed that regardless of COVID, regardless of anything. So I think it was kind of brushed under the rug after the fact.”
Bates discussed how the consequences for the group seemed fair, but the communication surrounding the event was what led to controversy around campus. 
“I do think the suspension was a good consequence,” Bates said. “Just because I know taking a pledge class can be very vital to the sustainability of a Greek group. However, I don’t know if they received any punishment in the sense that they had to go to training, or they had to go to like different groups.”
However, during the course of this, Tia Fuhr, assistant director of student life and coordinator of Greek Life, said she has seen growth in the Poobahs.
“This year’s leadership, for the fraternity in particular, really understands that concept and really wants to give a voice to all the members, even the younger members in the chapter. And I think one of the things that I’m happy to see is their urgency to better themselves and make their image better on campus,” Fuhr said.
The Observer reached out to the fraternity’s president for comment, but did not hear back.
Richardson said that holding others accountable and focusing on individual improvement will help change the culture. 
“It’s those everyday, little moments that you let that joke slip by or you let him cat call that girl or whatever,” Richardson said. “There’s only so much that I can do in a moment so I can, you know, stop that behavior right there and then because I’m there and present. But it’s their job as their brothers to hold them accountable to what their chapter is and if that behavior is happening.” 
 
Clarification: Alondra Ochoa is a junior not a senior.