BY STEVEN VIERA
The College recently imposed a set of regulations on Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity (Delta) following its violation of several of the administration’s policies. The regulations require Delta to remain substance-free for one year and attend several seminars on responsible behavior.
“[There were] some violations of our hazing policy and underage drinking,” said Margaret Hazlett, dean of the College, speaking of the violations committed by Delta last semester.
According to John Ancona ’15, president of Delta, the College began an investigation of Delta’s new member education program in October; at that time, no written warning or prohibition was is- sued — however, a representative warned the fraternity that they should cease having social functions. Ancona stressed the fact that communications between the College and Delta were strained.
In November, Delta held an off-campus, unregistered, formal event without the permission of the administration, which prompted action from the College.
During Winter break, the College’s administration and Delta’s executive board engaged in a conversation along with Delta’s alumni; Jessica Haile, Delta’s adviser, from the Office of International Programs; F&M’s Greek Alumni Council (GAC); and representatives from Delta’s national organization. In late January, the College announced its final decision to Delta’s
“They’re giving us a one-year mandate of no alcohol within our chapter house, at social events on-or-off campus,” Ancona said. “Including that dry status, [the College] also mandated that we do three educational seminars — on alcohol education, sexual assault awareness, [and] new member education.”
Ancona emphasized the fact that Delta’s national organization did not find the chapter in violation of hazing violations.
Hazlett added that the new regulations will include greater involvement from Delta’s national organization and alumni. Furthermore, while they must remain dry, Delta is still permitted to have social events, conduct Rush Week, and have a pledge class.
Delta, a chapter of about 50 brothers, responded to the regulations with frustration, hanging a banner from their chapter house with the message, “Free Delta.”
“The guys living in the house feel as though they’re prisoners,” Ancona said. “They feel as though they’ve signed up to something they did not consent for, which is a non-social brotherhood.”
“They feel like the school is wrongfully punishing them; the crimes do not fit the punishment,” he continued. “They feel like they’re outside the system. The school, as a private institution, isn’t following any legal manners. They’re doing whatever they want. They’re attributing some things, they’re saying we did some things, then they’re throwing some punishment at us. And the guys in the house are [upset]. They’re blatantly [upset]. And I’m not going to tell them that if they feel like prisoners they can’t write on a [banner] ‘Free Delta,’ hang it on the chapter house, and do a little pro- testing. And I think that’s good.”
However, despite being angry, Ancona expressed understanding and respect for the College’s efforts.
“I want to be working with the administration,” Ancona said. “I’ve seen them work very hard for this. The easy choice for them is to say, ‘No fraternities’—not that that’s ever been an option for them — not that that’s something they’re considering, but the easy thing to do when they run into trouble with a Greek organization is just say, ‘Get out.’ They didn’t do that. They want to work with us.”
Stuart Umberger, interim director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, echoed that statement, asserting that by rehabilitating one Greek organization, all of the other Greek organizations will have an improved reputation by association. He did, however, note that the transition from Delta’s current to pro- jected situation would require significant effort and change.
“This is change for a lot of people, but there’s nothing indicating that people don’t want to see them succeed,” Umberger said.
Hazlett agreed, adding that the College must help to make changes that
ensure the safety of fraternity members and guests, especially with regard to social events.
“I’m excited about Greek life,” she said. “The membership, the energy, the event, running a safe environment — it’s a lot of responsibility for [fraternities] to hold. So, [I ask], are we serving you all well? Are we equipping you with the tools you need to run effective programs, fun programs, and safe programs?”
Sophomore Steven Viera is the News Editor. His email is sviera@fandm. edu.