Theta Delta Chi, the fraternity banned for 10 years in 1988 from UR after the gang rape of a 19-year-old off-campus student, will hold its first rush this fall.
Theta Delt cleared the final hurdle when the Fraternity Presidents’ Council recognized the brotherhood as an associate member.
The FPC established a Theta Delta Chi Oversight Committee to evaluate many factors of the recolonized chapter including its internal judicial structure, the community service connections between the UR and national branches of Theta Delt and how the group enhances the FPC as a whole.
The initial recognition of Theta Delt by the FPC also paves the way for Director of Greek Life Monica Miranda and Dean of The College William Green to form the Theta Delta Chi Review Commission, which will be finalized this summer.
The commission will be made up of staff, students, trustees and alumni and will review the academic and disciplinary history of members as an administrative check to make sure the fraternity is living up to university expectations.
Both oversight committees will have different lengths of time to complete their evaluation. The FPC’s Theta Delt Oversight Committee must finish its work in three years but may vote to accept or deny Theta Delt full-membership at any time depending on their performance. The College’s Review Commission will exist for four years and make a final recommendation then as to whether Theta Delt can remain.
“We feel that we can fully accomplish all the requirements that they have set out for us,” junior and Theta Delt president Aaron Evans said.
The conditions and period of evaluation are necessary because of the group’s checkered past at UR, Interim Dean of Students Jody Asbury said.
Senior and former president of Theta Delt John McCauslin believes that the group who is trying to recolonize understands the need for a probationary period and that they accept responsibility for the former Theta Delt actions.
“No one would join the group because they see our past as a positive thing. That’s no reason why we would join the fraternity,” McCauslin said. “We take responsibility for [our past, but] we’re a whole new group of people. We hope the campus at-large realizes that.”
The fraternity’s checkered past includes an attack carried out by 19 fraternity members against a freshman in 1979, the assault of a pizza man in 1987 and several fights between Theta Delt and Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity.
The biggest of their problems occurred on Feb. 15, 1988, when two members raped a girl inside the Theta Delt House. Following the incident, the fraternity was closed on March 3, 1988, and stripped of official UR recognition for ten years, in accordance to a memorandum sent by Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer Paul Burgett. All resident members of the fraternity were evicted from university housing facilities, except for first or second semester freshmen, who were allowed to stay in accordance with university policy regarding all freshman students. The national organization held the chapter in “receivership,” meaning that the chapter could not initiate new brothers, but could still bring in new pledges.
On May 2, 1991, the National Branch of the Theta Delts revoked the local chapter’s charter. In 1998, UR formed a commission to look at the process Theta Delt’s would follow to recharter at UR.
Green emphasized that “the students applying for re-instatement were in kindergarten when Theta Delta Chi was disciplined and they have no connection with the group that underwent sanctions.”
Asbury believes its time to move on from the 1988 incident.
“That’s the past. People can build new futures,” she said.
The fraternity understands that it will take time to recreate their reputation on campus.
“Since we are aware of their past, we know that we’re going to be judged more closely than others,” McCauslin said. “We want to be a positive force. A lot of people are looking at us.”
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