By Lili Martinez
Despite their probation statuses, both the Delta Kappa Epsilon and Beta Theta Pi fraternities will accept rushees this spring. The two fraternities are the only Greek organizations currently on probation.
The DKEs have two strikes on their record, following incidents with hazing in past semesters. They are currently on deferred suspension.
The Betas, on the other hand, are on probation after a pledge was hospitalized last spring. Administrative officials determined that while the hospitalization did not occur during a fraternity function, Beta alumni pressured the pledge to consume alcohol that led to his trip to the hospital.
“A statement made by the hospitalized member attested that he had been encouraged to consume alcohol by an alumnus, and indeed felt pressured to do so,” said Christina Mastrangelo, director of student activities and Greek life. The Beta alumni still represent the fraternity as a whole, Mastrangelo said, because “the [Betas] are responsible for their alumni when they come to visit campus. The organization is what brought those two people together.
They were not randomly hanging out and they considered it a family tradition.”
All members of the chapter are responsible for understanding the terms of their probation and must act accordingly, but Beta officers will also be working closely with members of the General Fraternity and Kenyon administrative officials, according to chapter president Lucas Ivey ’12.
This cooperation has been successful so far, and lead members of both the DKEs and the Betas have participated, according to Mastrangelo. “The DKEs know what they need to do in order to maintain good standing with the College and the Betas are in the same situation,” she said. “Ideally, the Betas would like to be off social probation at the end of this semester. In order to be removed from probation, they know that they need to not have any social violations, whether that’s large parties or small gatherings, or conduct issues, in general.”
The Betas are on a slightly more lenient social probation this semester after having worked closely with Mastrangelo in the fall of 2011 in an attempt to remedy their probation. “They can have small, registered gatherings; they just can’t have open, large parties,” Mastrangelo said.
The DKEs are in a more precarious situation than the Betas, as deferred suspension is the step between probation and disbanding. The student handbook defines a deferred suspension as “involving students who have been held responsible for behavior that warrants suspension, but where mitigating circumstances and additional sanctions may allow a student to remain in the community while these sanctions are being completed.”
For the duration of their sanctioning, through May 31, 2014, further violations by the DKEs can lead to more serious disciplinary action. In such a case, the DKEs would be suspended from the campus for five years. Barring further hazing incidents, however, the DKEs will continue working with the administration towards clearing their record. “[The DKEs] were already on probation at the time of [the second] incident for a hazing incident the previous spring in 2010,” Mastrangelo said. “Rather than suspending them from campus immediately, we decided to go with more of an educational approach, which would allow them to create a hazing-free pledge process.”
Though some blame the updated party policy for unwitting party violations, fraternity-related or otherwise, Mastrangelo emphasized that the policy’s recent changes took effect in the spring of 2011. “Realistically, nothing has changed since the changes were put into place at the end of last spring, which people really didn’t have to implement until this fall. I know that [Associate Dean of Students] Tacci Smith and [Substance Abuse Educator and Counselor] Mike Durham are working to educate the monitors and hosts and all the people associated with running parties. I think there’s this misconception that every week or two there’s some sort of change that’s being implemented,” she said.
Mastrangelo said that above all, she wants to dispel the assumption that the Student Activities Office is interested in disbanding Greek life on campus. “Why would we not want Greek life to be here? If we didn’t want Greek life to be here, we wouldn’t have had it here for over 150 years and put support systems in place to assist the community,” she said.
“The reality is that we want to support Greek life so it is the best experience for students, meaning it provides students with opportunities for social, intellectual and leadership development in an environment that is safe and supportive. I have this interesting position where I’m their advocate, but when there are challenges and issues in the community I need to address them.This is my career. I would never have sought out and accepted a position working with Greek life if I wasn’t an advocate for the mission, vision and values it promotes. I am Greek, so I find it interesting to hear students say I am ‘out to end Greek Life at Kenyon.’ Why would I want to end something I believe in so firmly and am involved with myself?”
Additional reporting by Kip Pesses.
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