Section: News

Greek alcohol infractions unusually high

By Madeleine Thompson

With rush and pledging infractions at an unusually high number for so early in the semester, the question arises of whether or not Greek offenses will continue to rise as pledging continues through April. “It is not unheard of that we’ve had rush violations, but … for us to have four of these within the first couple weeks is slightly unusual,” Associate Dean of Students Tacci Smith said. “[And] I think more of these beginning ones have had more of an alcohol focus. That’s a little different for us.”

So far, the Delta Phi (D-Phi), Delta Tau Delta (Delts), Kappa Alpha Sigma (Kappas) and Zeta Alpha Pi (Zetas) Greek organizations have all been placed on probation for a range of policy violations. The Delts, Zetas and Kappas were cited for alcohol-related incidents. In addition to facing scrutiny for an incident at a Cleveland rush event, the D-Phis are currently not allowed to begin the pledging process until the remainder of sanctions from a hazing violation last spring are completed. “[The potential new members] were able to finish out rush and decide that they wanted to go D-Phi, [but] they are not supposed to be doing any events with those potential new members at this point,” Smith said.

In a Collegian article from Jan. 23, Director of Student Activities Christina Haas said that D-Phis weren’t “taking part in the formal rush process that Greek Council coordinates,” but Smith recently clarified the organizations’.

The D-Phis were allowed to host a shortened rush process once “enough of a portion [of the sanctions]” had been completed, according to Smith. “We sort of okayed them … with the understanding that the rest of [the sanctions would be finished] before pledging started,” Smith said.

D-Phi President Henry Heuck ’15 expressed concern in an email statement that “readers [of the article] were left with the mistaken impression that Delta Phi was banned from pledging/rushing this year.”

“In fact, we have a very strong class of [seven], which is more than we’ve had in years past,” Heuck wrote.

Differing from Smith’s information, Heuck wrote in the email that he thought the misunderstanding last spring “stems from an incident in March 2013, when a pledge meeting went 15 minutes longer than the time allowed by the College.” Heuck added that the members of Delta Phi performed 150 hours of community service in January, and because of that “our fraternity was able to rush and pledge legally this year.”

Haas declined to comment.

The D-Phis may also come under investigation due to the arrest of an active member for possession of drug paraphernalia at a Student Activities-approved rush event in Cleveland in January. Administrators were unaware of the incident until informed by a Collegian  editor making off-the-record inquiries. The official investigation began over a week later.

Despite the fraternity’s pledging violation last spring and their failure to complete sanctions in time to avoid a delayed start to rush, Smith said the event was intended to serve as a learning opportunity. “The hope was that we were trying to be at a compromising state to say ‘let’s give you enough to keep you motivated to do the rest,’” Smith said.

Currently, only the student in question is under investigation, but judicial investigation will also consider what part the fraternity played in the incident. If the fraternity is accountable in any part for the episode, there could be additional consequences.

“The fraternity will have no comment other than to say that Delta Phi is committed to promoting and upholding the highest academic and personal standards,” Heuck wrote in an email. “We are pleased that the isolated actions of an individual did not mar the success or legality of the Cleveland rush trip.”

“If this new piece comes out that is true … that could show us that maybe they weren’t ready,” Smith said. Greek Council may also weigh in with a response of their own.

A fraternity member who spoke on background and has knowledge of the situation felt administrative efforts to handle various infractions that arise every year have been fairly ineffective. He described their policies as imbalanced toward the different organizations on campus depending on which Greek organizations administrators want to succeed. The other organizations currently on probation are the Delts and Zetas. The Kappas’ probation ended on Feb. 17, according to Kappa President Syeda Showkat ’15.

Smith disclosed that the Delts and Zetas were cited for having alcohol at pledge events, while the Kappas were cited for having rushees at a non-rush event that included alcohol. “It was sort of like an upperclassman having an event, and then who came to the event were sort of these potential [members] that made it problematic,” Smith said.

She added that Greek Council policies are specific on prohibiting alcohol in the presence of any potential or new members. “I don’t care if you call it official or non-official, you shouldn’t be drinking in the same room at the same time with a person who’s thinking of joining your organization,” Smith said. The consequences for alcohol policy violations vary from case to case.

Delta Tau Delta President Sam Althans ’16 declined to comment for this article, and Zeta President Alex Kruse ’15 did not respond to requests for comment.

As for long-term implications of these incidents, Dean of Students Hank Toutain was hesitant to draw any conclusions. “It may be premature to say that there have been an unusually high number of greek-related incidents of concern this year since a good portion of the year … is ahead of us,” Toutain said in an email.

“We’re very much hoping that [this is] not an indication of ‘Is April going to be 10 times worse?’” Smith said.

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