Tri-Delta receives educational sanctions

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By News Staff

On Oct. 24, Delta Delta Delta was found in violation of Union’s alcohol and hazing policies by the student Greek Life Judicial Board.

The sorority was cited for underage distribution of alcohol, irresponsible use of alcohol and violation of the college’s hazing policy following four alcohol-related transports during an event on Oct. 7.

Dean of Students Stephen Leavitt sanctioned Tri-Delta per the recommendations of the Administrative Hearing Panel, which is comprised of Senior Associate Dean of Students Trish Williams, Dean of First-Year Students Kate Schurick and Associate Dean of Students Tom McEvoy.

The sorority has lost its housing and pledging privileges beginning in fall 2012. They are prohibited from sponsoring on- or off-campus social events until fall 2013.

In addition, Tri-Delta must rewrite its bylaws to become a dry sorority by Friday.

“Number one, rewriting the constitution at the chapter level and declaring it a dry sorority makes that a foundational change in the organization, and then number two, as a matter of accountability, it will result in a more severe sanction if there is a violation,” said Director of Greek Affairs Tim Dunn.

However, Tri-Delta has been given an opportunity to change these sanctions by producing a plan for “systemic changes” to the Greek system.

“It was really the Tri-Delt sisters who suggesting doing something,” explained Leavitt. “They were basically arguing that the issue was bigger than just them, that a number of Greek organizations were violating our policy and compromising the safety of students.”

Following the plan’s implementation in the winter, the deans will review and potentially adjust the sanctions so that Tri-Delta may induct pledges and reside in Potter House in fall 2012.

“The problem in this situation, we all know, was irresponsible use of alcohol, which is a very widespread thing on our campus,” said Ian Schwartz ‘12, who is the chair of the Greek Life Judicial Board. “[The sanctions] have given the opportunity for the Greek community to look at itself and see what we need to fix.”

“The entire sorority has to be involved,” said Dunn. “If the entire sorority is not involved, then the deal’s off the table, if you will.”

[pullquote]“[The sanctions] have given the opportunity for the Greek community to look at itself and see what we need to fix.” Ian Schwartz ‘12Chair of Greek Life Judicial Board[/pullquote]In the past, educational sanctions did not figure as largely for Greek organizations that violated the Student Conduct Code. Psi Upsilon was suspended from campus for 18 months in 2009 for an event described by Leavitt as “putting people’s lives at risk.” In 2005, the brothers of Chi Psi were also suspended for two years after an alcohol-related incident with a pledge.

“With the [educational] sanctioning, I tried to be creative, in terms of trying to produce something productive out of it, and I didn’t feel that suspending the chapter would do that,” said Leavitt.

“I don’t see it as a loophole to make the sanctions go away. It is an opportunity to earn privileges back,” said Dunn. “But I do know how high the bar is set. I believe these women can accomplish this because they are Union students.”

Campus Safety will monitor Tri-Delta’s on-campus house, Potter House, as they do a regular residence hall. According to Dunn, Campus Safety officers will walk through the house at least every hour at random intervals.

These precautions will be taken for the remainder of this academic year and will continue into the following year even if Tri-Delta’s housing is restored.

“Even if they are able to earn privileges back, even for another year, at least, they will have that monitoring to ensure that that change in the constitution is then a change in the culture,” said Dunn.

All common spaces in Potter House will also be locked and will not be accessible to Tri-Delta sisters.

“They won’t have the use of common space, so [for] all of their chapter meetings and things of that nature, they will have to reserve space elsewhere on campus, Lippman or Reamer,” said Dunn. “Really, all they get to do is sleep there.”

Additionally, Tri-Delta’s national office is conducting their own investigation into the events of Oct. 7.

Their decision is still pending.

According to Dunn, “Tri-Delta is one of the better organizations at the national level, quite frankly… but they also are more severe in their sanctioning. They have made Draconian decisions at other schools. So we won’t know what the outcome is on that end probably until December.”

At Union, Greek organizations have the opportunity to appeal the deans’ decision within ten days of its announcement. Delta Delta Delta did not appeal.

“They seemed to think that they could make a difference,” said Leavitt.

The sorority’s plan is due to the deans in January. The executive board of Delta Delta Delta did not respond to requests for comment.

Reporting contributed by Brian Karimi, Gabriella Levine, Ajay Major, Katie Manko, Aleena Paul and Aviva Hope Rutkin.

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