Updated: 2 fraternities placed on deferred suspension

Patrick Svitek, City Editor

Two Northwestern fraternities have been placed on deferred suspension, according to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution.

Phi Delta Theta and Zeta Beta Tau have each received the sanction, which means they face immediate suspension if they break University rules over a given period of time. Phi Delt’s deferred suspension was effective Tuesday and lasts about eight quarters until June 17, 2016. ZBT’s deferred suspension began Friday and ends in about a quarter on April 4, 2014.

The office updated its website Wednesday morning to reflect the latest changes in chapter status.

The office does not comment on the cases, including the circumstances that led to the sanction. Dean of Students Todd Adams on Friday morning declined to comment on the Phi Delt case, which was handled by the University Hearing and Appeals System. Phi Delt president Greg Booth did not respond to a request for comment on the deferred suspension.

“ZBT recognizes it made some poor choices this fall and the chapter is committed to straightening itself out this winter,” ZBT president Jeff Eisenband said in a statement Wednesday night. “ZBT has accepted the punishment from the Office of Student Conduct and is prepared to move forward. Internally, all brothers are devoted to establishing a better sense of accountability in the chapter.”

Eisenband, a Medill junior, added that ZBT has otherwise been a “model organization” at NU and looks forward to staying active in Greek life, including recruiting new members.

University officials confirmed fraternities can recruit new members under deferred suspension, a sanction started during the 2011-12 academic year.

“Since the sanction is public, the community is aware of the fraternity’s standing, and potential members can use that knowledge in their decision-making process,” Adams wrote in an email to The Daily.

The deferred suspension handed to Phi Delt follows hazing allegations by a former pledge. Medill senior Sean Lavery told The Daily last month that while pledging Phi Delt during Spring Quarter 2012, he suffered facial injuries after a brother ordered him to fight a stranger at the fraternity’s house. Lavery also described an off-campus activity in which female students he said brothers referred to as “hookers” danced on blindfolded pledges and offered them alcohol while brothers watched.

(Student’s hazing story sheds light on Northwestern’s ‘broken’ disciplinary system)

Lavery said the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution filed a UHAS complaint on his behalf in January.

Booth, a Weinberg sophomore, has admitted Phi Delt “in the past definitely … did have some problems.”

“We tried to eliminate all of the members that are associated with that,” Booth told The Daily last month. “Frankly, it’s unacceptable for those things to happen ever again in Phi Delt and in the Greek community in general.”

Lavery declined to comment on Phi Delt being put on deferred suspension.

On Nov. 21, University Police responded to a fire alarm during ZBT’s annual Thanksgiving dinner at its house on campus, according to Deputy Chief Daniel McAleer. A fire had been extinguished before authorities arrived, though they found a marijuana grinder and smoke detector covered with a plastic bag in a third-floor bedroom, McAleer said at the time.

Eisenband declined to comment on whether the incident was related to the deferred suspension. He did not provide further information about what led to the sanction.

Phi Delt and ZBT join four other fraternities under sanctions or restrictions, according to the website. Delta Upsilon and Lambda Phi Epsilon remain suspended by the University, while Chi Psi is suspended by its national organization. Beta Theta Pi is on deferred suspension through March 31, 2014, and disciplinary probation through Dec. 31, 2014.

Editor’s note: Sean Lavery is a former Daily staffer. He last held an editorial position in Fall 2011.

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Twitter: @PatrickSvitek