After 16 years in the ring, UCSB’s annual Fight Night tournament has been terminated.
Last month, UCSB students Thanh Hong and Paul Elekes were violently attacked in front of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house. Following an ongoing investigation of two counts of battery, PIKE was stripped of their annual boxing tournament two weeks ago and saw their campus charter placed on interim suspension.
Yesterday, Carola Alden, Director for Greek Affairs, announced Fight Night would be cut from the campus calendar.
“It has been cancelled due to unforeseeable circumstances and logistics,” Alden said.
Andrew Irwin, former Interfraternity Council President and former PIKE Fight Night coordinator said the fraternity would go up the chain of command to challenge the cancellation.
“Our mentality is it is not fair for one individual in the administration to make this decision and that it is not [final] until Friday,” Irwin, a fourth-year business economics major, said.
According to Sui Shen, former Pi Alpha Phi President, his fraternity was originally slated to assume control of Fight Night after it was taken from PIKE, but was forced to step down in the face of widespread controversy.
“Our organization initially took over Fight Night with the intent to support the Primo Boxing ‘Say Yes to Kids’ charity,” Shen, a fourth-year mechanical engineering major, said. “However, we were faced with resistance within the UCSB community due to the event’s association with PIKE and their current investigation by the campus. We did not expect to encounter such a staunch opposition, and were forced to relinquish the control of this event.”
At last night’s Associated Students Finance Board Meeting, Finance Board member Jackie Lee announced the Office of Greek Affairs had canceled the event. The Finance Board, she said, would recover the $12,190 originally transferred to Pi Alpha Phi to host the amateur boxing event.
“I just, half an hour ago, spoke to the director of Greek affairs, and she said the affair was canceled entirely.” Lee said. “She wanted me to clarify in case you guys showed up.”
Members of Pi Alpha Phi said they had anticipated the cancellation but would challenge the Office of Greek Affairs’ decision and attempt to transfer control of funding to the IFC.
However, current IFC President Keddy Russel-Curry said the campus has barred the council from taking ownership of the event.
“We were willing to take Fight Night over, we were trying to still host this philanthropy event, but before we had the chance the school cancelled the event,” Russel-Curry, a hird-year business economics and film & media studies major said. “[Administrators] claimed it was too short of notice.”
Irwin said this justification was merely an excuse for campus administrators to call off the event.
“[Director of Greek Affairs Carola Alden] told us the IFC did not have enough time to take over the event, but that is simply not true,” Irwin said. “The campus has other motives for canceling the event.”
Irwin said PIKE would continue to seek new channels to support the “Say Yes to Kids Foundation,” which provides after school activities for Santa Barbara youth.
“We are definitely finding new avenues to raise funds for the charity. According to Greek Affairs, we cannot participate directly in fundraising, but we have good friends in the Greek community who are willing to help,” Irwin said. “This event is bigger than PIKE, it’s about UCSB.”
Russel-Curry said the IFC was also working to ensure the continued support of the charity.
“If we are not able to recover the funds [allocated to Fight Night] to contribute to the charity then the IFC will work to organize a last minute event to raise new funds,” Russel-Curry said. “We want to make sure the charity is still getting what they were promised.”
Irwin said the charity would suffer as a direct consequence of the administrative decision.
“The charity is going to suffer, and the campus is very unsympathetic. Campus administrators talked about exploring other avenues of funding, but this is a time-sensitive issue because the charity was promised the funding on a specific date… We are scared the charity could go under without these funds,” Irwin said. “Our number one priority throughout the quarter has been the charity. All other issues are secondary, and we are going to do everything we can to make the event happen.”