Let me begin by wishing you and your families peace and good health during this global pandemic. Across North America, we are witnessing unprecedented times. Multiple states have implemented “stay at home” orders, businesses have been forced to close, and many are experiencing massive layoffs.
With this, Sigma Pi Chapters at undergraduate universities across the country are seeing their members lose their jobs and experiencing difficulty in their dues collections. Members who were set to graduate this spring will have a uniquely unfortunate end to their collegiate careers that they will never forget. We have also heard from multiple housing corporations in regards to their ability, or inability, to assist undergraduate members with foregoing rent and lease obligations. These issues will not be resolved immediately, and our 110 chapters and colonies, along with their advisors, will need time to focus on their sustainability measures.
Experts and government officials are predicting an 18-month period before things are truly back to normal in the United States with the COVID-19 outbreak possibly continuing past July and August of this year.
With all of these factors at play, the Grand Council met on March 19, 2020, to discuss the options and alternatives relating to the Convocation and the planned election and to determine what course of action was in the best interests of Sigma Pi. On March 25, 2020, the Grand Council made an extremely difficult decision and officially voted on and approved a resolution to cancel the 55th Biennial Convocation and to hold the next Grand Council election at the Convocation scheduled for 2022.
Based on the knowledge regarding the financial impact our members will have, the impact on our organization and, most importantly, the health and safety of our brothers and their families, we feel this decision, unfortunately, had to be made. We know this news of canceling the 55th Convocation is very disheartening, but due to the impact on Sigma Pi, our chapters and members, we believe it is the right decision.
The decision to cancel Convocation will be only the fourth time in our 123-year history for such a measure. The first such postponement, in 1918, was due to World War I, and the postponements in 1932 and 1936 were products of bad economic conditions in the United States. To compensate for those postponements, the Fraternity combined the 6th & 7th, 13th & 14th, and 15th & 16th Biennial Convocations of the Grand Chapter. To compensate for this 2020 postponement, we will convene the 55th & 56th Convocation, in 2022.
Sigma Pi, as a relatively small not-for-profit organization, is not immune from the financial impact of this pandemic. During this time, as many other businesses and organizations have, we have implemented a stringent cash management strategy to maximize our resources. We Believe… Sigma Pi, our country, and the world will prevail through this point in our history, and we look forward to seeing you at future conventions and gatherings when life returns to normalcy.
Please continue to utilize the COVID-19 page that the Executive Office has established to stay up to date on the disease and find resources that are applicable to you and your chapter. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Executive Office staff. Be safe, wash your hands, and follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Jonathan M. Frost (UMSL ’99) | Executive Director/CEO