If it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it’s probably a duck. This, however, is not the case for the Florida A&M University chapter of Progressive Black Men, an organization on campus whose intake process resembles that of a fraternity or sorority.
After the spring 2018 student organization review PBM was said to be turned into a fraternity by the Office of Student Activity. According to the director of the Student Union and Activities, William Clemm, the organizations intake process was very similar to a fraternity or sorority.
“During that time, we discovered that the recruitment practices of both Progressive Black Men and Sistuhs are very similar to fraternities and sororities,” Clemm said. “Although we recognize that neither organization considers themselves to be a fraternity or sorority it is the position of Efferson Student Union & Activities and Student Affairs that the organizations be classified as a fraternity and sorority.”
According to Clemm the duration of intake is determines the status of the organization.
“Recruitment student organizations have a four-week window to conduct all recruitment activities. Fraternities and sororities have a 12-week window to conduct intake activities,” Clemm said.
There has been considerable speculation regarding the classification of PBM’s organizational status, and its members want to make it clear that they are not technically a fraternity.
According to PBM’s Instagram, it was founded on Oct. 21, 2000 and centered on academic excellence, brotherly fellowship and community service.
Ronald Woodruff, president of the chapter, is adamant that the organization is not classified as a fraternity and they are simply joining the Council of Independent Organizations (CIO), which is in the process of being established.
“We’re basically transitioning to a whole new category of organization,” Woodruff said. “And OSA has not forced us to do anything, it’s something that we reached out to them to do.”
According to Clemm the CIO is being established to unite fraternities and sororities that do not belong to a common inter-organization council.
“The purpose of these councils is to give all fraternities and sororities on campus support by uniting those that have commonalities,” Clemm said. “CIO is a FAMU based council that will unite the fraternities and sororities that do not belong to a common interorganizational council.
Sistuhs, a similar women’s organization, is also going through this process and its listing on orgsync.com has been changed to a sorority status.
As of now the organization is not classified as a fraternity, according to its listing on orgsync.org.