Fraternity loses its charter for breaking terms of probation

Elise Foley

Delta Tau Delta International Fraternity was removed from campus last June due to disciplinary problems, making it the first fraternity removed from campus since 2003.

The University Hearing and Appeals System voted to remove the fraternity from campus because members violated the terms of their probation. Delt was placed on disciplinary probation during Winter Quarter 2007. Probation can prohibit social events, require members to attend educational programming and limit other chapter activities.

Dominic Greene, director of fraternity and sorority life, declined to comment on the incident that led to the fraternity’s probation or the terms of its probation.

He listed hazing, providing alcohol during the pledge process and other violations of the Student Code of Conduct as offenses that can lead to probation or further disciplinary action.

Mary Desler, NU’s associated vice president and dean of student affairs, also declined to comment, citing confidentiality of disciplinary matters.

Delt was referred to UHAS, a board of students, faculty and administrators that makes disciplinary decisions, later in Winter Quarter.

It was the first year for a fraternity to be referred to the board for disciplinary action. In the past, groups had been removed from campus by the Interfraternity Council. The vote to remove the fraternity was appealed twice – to an appeals board and to Vice President of Student Affairs William Banis – but Delt lost both appeals.

“Over the course of four years, we had essentially broken too many rules,” said Jimmy Holloran, who was elected the fraternity’s president during spring 2007 in an effort to clean up the fraternity’s image. “The powers that be at the university thought enough was enough.”

At the end of June, the fraternity’s members were notified that they had lost the appeals process and would be removed from campus. The fraternity also lost its charter with the Delta Tau Delta International Fraternity and cannot return to campus until 2011. For Delt members, this means changing from active to alumni status, whereas pledges are free to participate in recruitment and join another campus fraternity this

year.

Weinberg sophomore Jamie Ahern, a former Delt pledge, said he would not join another fraternity after his experience last

year.

“I come from a long line of Greek members, but I won’t rush again,” Ahern said. “We started making some good friendships, then we got it taken away from us.”

Holloran, Weinberg ’07, said he and other members of the fraternity were surprised by UHAS’ decision to remove Delt from campus.

“Guys knew we were on probation, but we didn’t think the university was looking that closely,” he said. “We didn’t think much would come of it as long as everyone stayed safe. We just didn’t realize the magnitude of probation.”

The last fraternity to be kicked off campus was Kappa Sigma, which was removed in 2003 after an incident at the Shedd Aquarium, where NU accused the fraternity of vandalism, alcohol use and other improprities.

Holloran said he thought Delt’s infractions were less extreme than those of fraternities that had lost their charters in the past.

“The fraternities that have been kicked off in the past had been kicked off for some pretty major violations,” Holloran said. “We thought that with having people over, or having a party on campus, we might get in trouble, but not kicked off campus.”

According to Holloran, the fraternity made some changes to its behavior, especially when it was referred to UHAS, but Holloran also said that, for the most part, members ignored the terms of probation during Winter Quarter. Holloran said that when he took over in Spring Quarter, the fraternity was trying to reform its behavior.

“People were bummed out (that we were on probation), but people still wanted to have a good time,” he said. “But we were as well-behaved as we ever were in my four years during that Spring Quarter, trying to show the university that we could behave. It was tough, because a couple of mistakes we made that Winter Quarter led to us being kicked off.”

AJ Rudin, a Weinberg sophomore who pledged Delt last year, said he was not told that Delt was on probation until after he became a pledge.

“I felt like everything was way out of my control; I was just along for the ride,” Rudin said. “There was nothing I could do to make anything better and nothing I did to make anything bad.”

Fraternity members were told over Spring Break that they should get university housing lottery numbers because they might not be able to live in the Delt house during the 2007-08 academic year, Rudin said.

But he said members were not told for certain the fraternity was suspended until the last week of Spring Quarter.

“It was pretty much a nightmare, because it was all up in the air,” Rudin said. “We didn’t know what was going to happen – the older guys kept telling us not to worry, but then the nationals and the university kept telling us that we should. Other guys never completed the housing process and had to scramble to find off-campus housing once we found out.”

The Delt house in the Fraternity Quads, which it leased from the university until 2014 and recently renovated, is being rented by Phi Delta Theta this year while that fraternity’s house undergoes renovation.

Ahern said he questioned the university’s motive for removing Delt from campus. The rules were broken, he said, but it seemed like the university was “making an example of Delt.”

Other Delt members agreed that it seems like the university is becoming more strict. Holloran said Delt was the first in line but might not be the last fraternity kicked off campus by the current administration.

“What has begun to change is the manner in which they choose to discipline fraternities,” Holloran said. “I think there will be tougher penalties. It’s kind of like a pendulum; the university cracks down, and then they back off for a couple years.”

As of Thursday, six fraternities and three sororities were on social or disciplinary probation, said Greene, the director of fraternity and sorority life.

Even though Ahern said he is disappointed Delt was suspended, he said he wouldn’t change anything about his time there.

“Everything we did, that the university was accusing us of, I really enjoyed doing,” he said. “Would I take anything back? I guess I just wouldn’t want to get caught.”

Reach Elise Foley at [email protected]