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Campus Events News

Fraternities not included in Painted Street raffle

photo by Meghan Holloran | Photo Editor

Each year during the Drake Relays, student organizations have the opportunity to represent themselves on the 58 squares that run down the center of campus. Painted Street is a beloved Drake tradition, but there isn’t enough room for all of Drake’s over 160 organizations to be represented.

In previous years, the Student Activities Board Relays co-chairs decided which organizations’ designs should be featured on Painted Street. However, SAB opted for a raffle this year, which was held on Monday, April 15 at 4 p.m. The raffle was advertised in an email to organization presidents as providing “an equal opportunity to all organizations at Drake” to receive a square on Painted Street, but some fraternities on campus discovered they were not given this opportunity. 

On Thursday, April 18, former Relays co-chair Addy Bockarie — who resigned on April 23 — showed Tau Kappa Epsilon president Eli Miller texts that revealed SAB excluded the Interfraternity Council and fraternities Sigma Alpha Epsilon and TKE from the raffle. The text chain included Bockarie, fellow Relays co-chair Brynn Harnett and SAB president Bernadeth Poserio. The Times-Delphic saw this text chain and confirmed its validity.

SAB held the raffle in Sussman Theater and live-streamed the event on Instagram. To choose organizations in the raffle, Harnett drew tickets out of a paint can. At the conclusion of the drawing, the three fraternity organizations, DU Bulldog Catholic and the Board Game Club were not drawn in the raffle. 

Intervarsity was drawn for a square but later withdrew, leaving a spot open. Due to a miscalculation about the number of squares available, at least one more spot was also open. 

After Intervarsity’s withdrawal, Harnett asks the text group chat which organizations did not receive a square. Harnett then says two organizations were left in the paint can after the raffle was finished, referring to DU Bulldog Catholic and the Board Game Club. Since 60 organizations applied for 55 non-reserved squares, five organizations should have remained at the conclusion of the raffle.

“[Hartnett] just shows we [IFC, TKE and SAE] weren’t in the drawing,” Miller said. “That’s the real red flag. It’s kind of swept under there, but if you read between the lines, you see.”

Bockarie confirmed that Harnett and Poserio decided IFC, TKE and SAE would not be put into the raffle. 

“It would have been two against one if I did say, ‘I don’t agree with this,’” Bockarie said in an interview on April 29. “I just kind of went with it. It didn’t sit right with me for a good while because of the fact that it did seem unfair and kind of petty.”

Miller believes SAB excluded TKE from the raffle because a TKE alumnus contacted Chief Student Affairs Officer Jerry Parker in opposition to a controversial plan to consolidate fraternity and sorority chapters’ squares. The plan would have allowed chapters to share a square under their respective governing organizations — IFC, which oversees Drake’s seven men’s fraternities; National Pan-Hellenic Council, which oversees historically African American international Greek-lettered fraternities and sororities; and The National Panhellenic Conference, which oversees Drake’s five sororities. According to Miller, the TKE alumnus acted independently from the fraternity.

“We wanted those councils to represent those different organizations so that we can have more inclusion and representation of other student organizations at Drake,” Bockarie said in an interview on April 18. 

According to Miller, members of IFC, Panhel and NPHC were not involved in this planning process.

“It caught us completely off guard,” Miller said. “Not even the IFC president was involved in that talk at all. It was just decided for us, and we thought that was unfair.”

IFC president Rodrigo Gonzalez believes trying to condense all of the chapters’ unique causes, colors and personalities into just one square wasn’t a fair solution. According to Bockarie, Gonzalez, who is also part of SAE, expressed opposition to administration about the plan, and for that reason, Harnett and Poserio sought to exclude both IFC and SAE from the raffle.

“[SAB] didn’t mean to just leave us out of the picture,” Gonzalez said. “They wanted to include us; they just didn’t know how to. We just talked about it and then we drew up that a raffle was the best idea because that way you just submitted a design and then it’s up to chance.”

Disagreement about the plan to consolidate the Greek organizations spawned the idea of using a raffle system, Bockarie said. Using the raffle system, individual chapters could submit designs to be considered for a square, just like registered student organizations. 

When Sigma Phi Epsilon President Luke Gregoire heard SAE wasn’t drawn in the raffle, he offered to share SigEp’s square with the neighboring fraternity. However, SAB rejected SigEp’s request to redesign their square because the submission deadline had passed, according to SAE president Zakir Naqvi.

“From my perspective, it doesn’t impact [SAB] at all,” Naqvi said. “They’re not the ones creating it. So what if it’s split in half?”

Late in the evening on April 15, SAB notified Board Game Club that it received a square on Painted Street.

On April 17, Student Body President Ruwayda Egal notified a group chat of current and incoming Student Senate executive officers that Student Senate had received a square on Painted Street. Senate didn’t originally submit a design and was not included in the raffle. Bockarie said that SAB allowed Senate to claim one of the two squares originally reserved for the Relays theme. 

On April 18, SAB notified Bulldog Catholic that they would receive a square on Painted Street. That same day, Bockarie showed Miller the text group chat between her, Harnett and Poserio. Miller then directed a member of TKE to reach out to Parker, Director of Student Life Isaac Newsome and Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Liz Cadwell about the alleged unfairness of the raffle. 

“We’re getting our square back,” Miller said. “We just wanted to be treated equitably.”

Parker told the TKE representative on Friday, April 19, that he was looking into the matter.

Later on April 19, Newsome and Cadwell notified Miller and Naqvi that there was one square open on Painted Street if the TKE and SAE chapters wanted to share it, which both agreed to do.

“We were under the assumption that we weren’t going to get a square,” Naqvi said. “We didn’t have anyone to go to Road Races…and no one was planning on painting. So when we did get one, we had to scramble and try and figure out how to get the square done in time.”

Although Naqvi does not believe this year’s raffle was conducted fairly, he hopes SAB will continue holding raffles in the future.

“There’s not enough squares for all of the clubs,” Naqvi said. “What seems the most fair is for everyone to submit a design and then do a raffle.”

However, Drake Hillel president Sydney Dvorak does not think a raffle is in the best interest of Drake’s multicultural organizations, especially at a University that claims to prioritize equity and inclusion. Hillel is a part of UNITY Roundtable, a student-led governing body composed of multicultural organizations at Drake.

“The street is such a good place for advertising what Drake’s values are and what we as students value as organizations,” Dvorak said. “They ran the risk of a lot of these really important organizations on UNITY and not on UNITY…not getting squares.”

Egal and Poserio did not respond to requests for comment. Harnett declined to comment on the situation but said that Painted Street selections will be done differently next year. 

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