Talk:Professional fraternities and sororities
I'm not sure if this is intended to include historical organizations (no longer active). If it does, I recently ran across what appears to be a sorority for pharmacy students called Alpha Zeta (apparently different from Alpha Zeta Omega). It is in a yearbook page on Ancestry.com, specifically for a yearbook called The Scarlet Ray (1928 edition). This yearbook is from the New Jersey College of Pharmacy of Rutgers University. Ancestry.com subscribers can reach it by searching for "Jeannette Golosoff" (who was my mother). So far as I have been able to determine, this sorority is no longer active. It was apparently started at Columbia University in 1924 and the New Jersey chapter, the Beta Chapter, was organized in 1926.
|WikiProject Fraternities and Sororities||(Rated Start-class, Top-importance)|
Are only 'residential' groups intended? If so, it needs to be stated, and then 'honor societies' (like the two I just added) should be deleted.
184.108.40.206 16:47, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
I'd suggest using the membership of the PFA (Professional Fraternity Association) as a guide. (www.profraternity.org), but given that Alpha Phi Omega is now a member, that may not be as much help as before. I think the primary difference between Honoraries and Professionals is that Honoraries have objective joining criteria and Professionals may include subjective, but I'm not sure. Naraht 18:33, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
Professional fraternity and honor society
Can anyone fine information outside of wikipedia about how to distinguish between a professional fraternity and an honor society? As far as I can find, it's totally a matter of preference in teh organization, and even then some chapters will use a name of their own designation; eg. a friend of mine refers to her "fraternity" AED, even though they cite themselves as an honor society. —ScouterSig 22:54, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
According to my research, the definition of honor fraternity is muddled. From Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities (circa 1920), a professional fraternity "confines their membership to students in professional schools," (pg. 485) and "aims to restrict its membeship to persons intending to engage in the same profession" (pg. 9). Baird also provides a definition for Honor fraternity where membership "is determined primarily by ability in some chosen field of intellectual endeavor and if social qualities are considered they are secondary" (pg. 600). Baird further states "it is difficult to draw the line between them and a professional fraternity, and others like Tau Beta Pi are emphasizing the social element and encouraging their members to enter houses and to assume some or all of the characteristics of a regular undergraduate organization." This I get a kick out of: "It might be said that there are too many of these fraternities [honor fraternities] in conflicting fields and their consolidation or simplification would be of benefit to all" (pg. 600). lol
So if we accept the professional fraternity definition of "aiming to restrict its membership to persons inteding to engage in the same profession" we can contrast that with the honorary fraternity definition of "some chosen field of intellectual endeavor" and stop there. Many honorary fraternities are established based on GPA whereas professional (and social) are not. My 2c. IlliniFlag (talk) 23:07, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Tax code of fraternities and sororities
Title IX provides exemptions for groups at institutions:
"...a social fraternity or social sorority which is exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of title 26"
What definition does Title IX use for defining "social"? Is it any group that is a 501(c)(#) organization (e.g., 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(7))?
Alpha Phi Omega which is a service fraternity which is a member of the Professional Fraternity Association has been a 501(c)(7) since it was founded, however as I understand it, that was a result of our extremely strong ties to the Boy Scouts at the time. I'm pretty sure that Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of the United States of America are 501(c)(7).Naraht (talk) 15:20, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the information, Naraht. I believe that social fraternities and sororities also have a 501(c)(7) designation. I'm trying to understand how, in the eyes of the government, a professional fraternity is different than a social fraternity. I am looking at the requirements for exemption from the government for statuses other than 501(c)(3) here  and do not see any category that would fit a professional fraternity. I wonder if all professional/service/honorary fraternities are classified as 501(c)(7) organizations and if so, does that make them social fraternities at heart? If not, what distinguished a social fraternity from a professional or service fraternity on a legal level? IlliniFlag (talk) 18:44, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm trying to work through the IRS documentation on this and it is getting pretty heavy. http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/eotopicq99.pdf is one that seemed moderately useful. The entire area under http://www.irs.gov/charities/content/0,,id=96931,00.html might be as well... Naraht (talk) 17:15, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
Welcome to my world, friend. Your links are good, and get us in the right direction. Check out this site. http://www.irs.gov/publications/p557/ch04.html IlliniFlag (talk) 23:26, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
Another interesting read is from 1958 re: defining the criteria for 501(c)(7) status. You can find that here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/rr58-589.pdf
The only wording that confuses me is "other nonprofitable purposes". I cannot seem to find a definition of that term. The ruling does say that to fulfill the requirement of being "organized and operated for pleasure, recreation, and other nonprofitable purposes", an organization must have a membership of individuals, personal contracts, and fellowship.
What else is interesting to note is that Kappa Psi, the "oldest and largest professional fraternity in the world" is a 501(c)(7) organization http://www.kappapsi.org/national/preston/content?p=about . Now, Kappa Psi is co-ed, but how does that figure in to being "professional"? As a 501(c)(7) organization, you will be automatically rejected if your constitution or bylaws discriminate on the basis of race, color, or religion http://www.irs.gov/charities/nonprofits/article/0,,id=96189,00.html . Read another way, you might still be 501(c)(7) exempt if you discriminate on the basis of sex. So, is there another law at play here in between Title IX and the tax code? IlliniFlag (talk) 00:47, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
501(c)7 seems to be the standard. I'm a Theta Tau ("oldest and largest prof engineering fraternity") and nationally we are a 501(c)7 ( http://www.melissadata.com/lookups/np.asp?zip=43-0765719 ). The same is true for individual chapters and all the individual housing corporations as far as I am aware. Nationally we are co-ed but the decision is left up to each chapter (NCSU's is all male). I am the current President of the NCSU Chapter's Housing Corporation and we got our exemption status as (c)7 as recently as 2002. --ShadowRAM (talk) 21:00, 18 April 2009 (UTC)