Alpha Epsilon Pi (ΑΕΠ or AEPi) is a college fraternity founded at New York University in 1913 by Charles C. Moskowitz. The fraternity has more than 186 active chapters across the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Austria,[5], Australia, and Israel, and has initiated more than 102,000 members. Although the fraternity is based upon Jewish principles, it is non-discriminatory and is open to all who are willing to espouse its purpose and values.[1] However, some members question whether Alpha Epsilon Pi is truly non-discriminatory, as the fraternity has expelled non-Jewish members from some of its chapters.[6]


The AEPi house at the University of Maryland, College Park

Alpha Epsilon Pi was founded in 1913 under the Washington Square Arch at New York University (NYU) by Charles C. Moskowitz and 10 other Jewish men: David K. Schafer, Isador M. Glazer, Herman L. Kraus, Arthur E. Leopold, Benjamin M. Meyer, Arthur M. Lipkint, Charles J. Pintel, Maurice Plager, Hyman Shulman, and Emil J. Lustgarten. These men are known as the "Immortal 11." Their first pledge was Samuel L. Epstein.[7]

Charles C. Moskowitz had just transferred to New York University's School of Commerce from the City College of New York. Several fraternities at the School of Commerce expressed interest in him and one gave him a bid. The name of that fraternity is unknown. When Charles asked if his close Jewish friends could join as well, he was told that the invitation was for him alone. At this point, the group of 11 men began meeting regularly in a German rathskeller called "Haan's Ladies' and Gentlemen's Restaurant, Cafe and Rathskeller". Official school recognition of AEPi was granted on November 7.[7]

The founding members always intended for AEPi to be a national fraternity. Long before the second chapter, the NYU group was designated "Alpha Chapter." In 1917, the local fraternity Phi Tau at Cornell University became the Beta Chapter of AEPi.[8]

Counting the Beta Chapter only fifty-two men had been initiated by April 6, 1917, the date the United States formally declared war on Germany and her allies. Almost every undergraduate and alumnus answered the call of the colors causing the fraternity to become nearly inactive during the war years. [7]

In the years between the world wars, Alpha Epsilon Pi had grown to twenty-eight chapters. But tough times were known to be forthcoming at the 1941 convention, and many knew that undergraduate and alumnus would again be called to duty. Expansion remained dormant throughout World War II.[7]

With the end of the war and the shift of the national headquarters to St. Louis, Alpha Epsilon Pi had gained new life and momentum in its reopening of inactive chapters, expansion to new campuses, and the merging with other locals that had been hit hard by the war. In 1940, Sigma Omega Psi joined Alpha Epsilon Pi adding three chapters, as did Sigma Tau Phi in 1947.[7]

The next two decades were a time of steady growth and prestige for Alpha Epsilon Pi, as well as other fraternities. Expansion was occurring at an incredible rate for the Greek system as a whole. However, with the onset of fighting in Vietnam in the early 1960s, fraternity life faltered. Liberal student bodies revolted against authority and the Greek system, which was seen as a conservative, elitist group.[7] Membership plummeted and nearly half the chapter roll was lost. It almost looked as if it might have been the end for Alpha Epsilon Pi. However the fraternity was able to reverse the trend and stabilize following the Vietnam War.[7]

Reconnecting with its Jewish heritage, the men of Alpha Epsilon Pi refused to say die. Possessed with faith and courage, they were determined that national strength could be regained, and that the fraternity would once again be able to pursue its mission of shaping young Jewish men into community leaders.[7]

In 2009, AEPi became the first fraternity to establish a chapter in Israel at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.[9][10]

In 2014, AEPi was the first college student organization to be admitted as a full member to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.[11]

In 2016, AEPi became the first fraternity to establish a chapter in Australia.[12]

Coat of arms

To Brothers it is known as the "Cofa." The coat of arms of Alpha Epsilon Pi contains a number of symbolic objects, the true meaning of which is only revealed to brothers during their initiation into the fraternity.[8]

Chapter organization

AEPi has specific titles that are used for its officers, many correspond to Fraternal tradition.[8]

  • President - Master
  • Vice President - Lieutenant Master
  • Secretary - Scribe
  • Treasurer - Exchequer
  • Sergeant at Arms - Sentinel

Discriminatory allegations and controversies

Alpha Epsilon Pi's mission statement describing a "non-discriminatory fraternity"[1] has often come under fire, particularly under current Executive Director Andrew Borans. In 1990, Alpha Epsilon Pi brothers at MIT decided to disband their chapter after the international fraternity kicked out 45 of 55 members of the chapter. Members believed it was largely in part due to the international fraternity's desire to re-colonize the chapter as a Jewish fraternity.[13] Joseph P. Wong, former Vice President of the chapter who was invited to stay, was quoted saying "AEPi is inherently discriminatory and does not deserve a place on this campus".[13] In 1998, members of the UCLA chapter dropped out, stating that the international organization was "discriminatory against non-Jewish pledges".[14] In 2009, the Mu chapter at University of Virginia was shut down, with members claiming the international fraternity told them they "weren't Jewish enough".[15] In 2015, the Beta Rho chapter at Brown University disaffiliated with Alpha Epsilon Pi, citing mistreatment of non-Jewish members by their international organization, and a lack of emphasis by the international organization on sexual assault education.[16] In 2016, a freshman female student at College of Charleston sued the fraternity after she stated she was disrobed, served drugs and alcohol, and raped while one of the fraternity members recorded the assault on his cellphone during the fraternity's Bid Day celebration party. In her lawsuit, it states she seeking unspecified damages for her "serious personal injuries" that have required hospitalization, doctor's care and other treatment. As a result of the lawsuit, two fraternity members identified in the incident were arrested and released on bail and the fraternity charter was revoked.[17]

International organization structure

AEPi is governed in a diamond model. It consists of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Foundation,[18] the Fiscal Control Board, the Executive Office and the Supreme Board of Governors.[19]

The Alpha Epsilon Pi Foundation is the charitable arm of the organization. It directs the philanthropic affairs of the fraternity, supports projects of a Jewish and fraternal nature, and provides support for the individual chapters and colonies. They work very closely with the Director of Jewish Programming.[19]

The Fiscal Control Board (FCB) is responsible for the financial well-being of the organization. It oversees the financial decisions of the apparatus, and makes recommendations to the Supreme Board of Governors. Each member of the FCB is also on the Board of Directors of the AEPi Foundation.[19]

The Executive Office is made up of the professional staff that oversees the day-to-day functions of the fraternity. The staff consists of the housing coordinator, the leadership consultants, the Director of Jewish Programming, and the Executive Director.[19] The current Executive Director is Andrew Borans.

The Supreme Board of Governors is made up of 11 positions: the Supreme Master (President), Supreme Master-Elect (President-Elect/VP), Supreme Scribe (Secretary), Supreme Exchequer (Treasurer), Supreme Sentinel (Sergeant at Arms), the Immediate Past Supreme Master, three Supreme Governors (other alumni members), and two Undergraduate Supreme Governors (representing the Undergraduate membership).[19]

The Supreme Board of Governors makes the majority of decisions for the fraternity's well-being and meets semi-annually to discuss matters of importance, including the granting of charters.

Notable alumni

List of chapters and alumni clubs

The fraternity currently has 186 active chapters and colonies in eleven of the fourteen Big Ten Conference schools, seven of eight Ivy League schools, and eight of the ten University of California campuses. It is also the largest international fraternity in Canada, California, New York, and Massachusetts. The fraternity established the Aleph chapter[10] in Israel during the spring of 2009, located in the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.[20] It has since expanded to other universities in Israel. In 2011, the fraternity expanded to the United Kingdom, establishing a colony at St Andrews in the spring, followed by Birmingham and Leeds in the fall. As of March 2017 there are 5 active chapters and 4 active colonies in the UK; St Andrews, Leeds, Birmingham, Nottingham, London, Manchester, Warwick, Liverpool and Bristol. In 2012, the first colony in France was created for the Paris area. As of 2015 AEPi has a colony at the Lauder business school in Austria. In 2016 AEPi formed a colony in Australia.

The fraternity also has 24 active alumni clubs in several major cities.[21]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Alpha Epsilon Pi International mission statement". Archived from the original on 12 October 2010. Retrieved 6 October 2010. 
  2. ^ Alpha Epsilon Pi Homepage
  3. ^ AEPi Gives Back - Repairing the World
  4. ^ Chapter Roll - Alpha Epsilon Pi
  5. ^ AEPi Vienna
  6. ^ "Is AEPi Only for Jews?". The Forward. Retrieved 2018-03-05. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h "History". Alpha Epsilon Pi. Retrieved 27 December 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c Dunn, Sidney N. (2003). Alpha Epsilon Pi: Commitment for a lifetime. Indianapolis, Indiana: Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity, Inc. 
  9. ^ Strauss, Ilana (15 June 2009). "Israel's first college fraternity opens". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 29 December 2009. 
  10. ^ a b Udasin, Sharon. "Brothers in the Holy Land: AEPi chapter in Herzliya is first college fraternity in Israel". Retrieved 16 July 2009. 
  11. ^ JTA (7 January 2014). "Jewish Fraternity Becomes Full Member of Conference of Presidents". The Jewish Daily Forward. Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  12. ^ AEPi Opens First Fraternity Chapter in Australia Alpha Epsilon Pi
  13. ^ a b MIT withdraws AEPi recognition - The Tech
  14. ^ Fraternity under fire for denying membership to minority pledge Daily Bruin
  15. ^ National Chapter Locks UVa. Fraternity Brothers Out of their House
  16. ^ Owens '17: Why we disaffiliated from AEPi
  17. ^ Alleged rape victim sues College of Charleston, Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity News postandcourier.com
  18. ^ AEPi Foundation
  19. ^ a b c d e AEPi organizational model
  20. ^ Greenspan, Mordy. "AEPii Fraternity hosts Beach Volleyball Tournament" (PDF). Retrieved 7 June 2009. 
  21. ^ "AEPi Alumni Associations". 

External links