Entries in the Category "Greek Life"
50 Years - Phi Kappa Theta
Greek Disgrace at San Diego State
A model student who was recently praised in a university publication was found out to be an alleged drug dealer. Another was just a month away from earning a master's degree in homeland security and had worked with the campus police as a security officer. A third was also close to receiving his criminal justice degree.
In total, 96 young men -- including 75 students and the three I have stated above -- were arrested on a variety of drug charges as a result of Operation Sudden Fall, which infilitrated seven fraternities on Fraternity Row and Fraternity Circle at San Diego State University.
Law enforcement agents seized two kilograms of cocaine, 350 Ecstasy pills, marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms, hashish oil, methamphetamine, illicit prescription drugs, several guns, and at least $60,000 in cash.
Several members of the Theta Chi, Phi Kappa Psi, and Delta Sigma Pi fraternities were arrested.
San Diego State announced that six fraternities have been suspended -- Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Kappa Psi, Phi Kappa Theta, Theta Chi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and Sigma Alpha Mu -- pending a hearing into their involvement in the drug dealing.
The raid occurred when a prominent drug dealer on campus announced a fire sale on cocaine in the coming days in a mass text message which was intercepted by the authorities.
The member sent out a mass text message to his "faithful customers" stating that he and his "associates" would be unable to sell cocaine while they were in Las Vegas for a fraternity formal, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The text promoted a cocaine "sale" and listed the reduced prices on bulk quantities.
"Attn faithful customers both myself and my associates will be in Vegas this coming weekend," the 19-year-old student wrote in the text message, according to the DEA. "So stock up, we will be back Sunday night."
Also, another sad thing is when one of the individuals was arrested, he inquired whether or not his arrest and incarceration would have an effect on his becoming a federal law enforcement officer.
Duh! It would be very obvious that the individual would end up in prison for a long time and have no chance of even joining ANY law enforcement agency.
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For any SDSU Greek student found to be involved with drug dealing and all of that should be stripped of their membership in their respective fraternity. For the chapters that were involved, their status would require a thorough investigation. Suspension or loss of charter may be the likely result.
Of course, the actions of these people do not represent the image of fraternities nationwide. I am sure all of us condemn their actions and their Greek involvement should be severed as quickly as possible if they are found guilty.
Proud to be a Phikap during Greek Week
In the past, Phikaps are known to have caused the judges at Greek Week to issue or modify rules based on what they did for banner or any part of the GW competition. It would seem we certainly do love to push the envelope, and unfortunately, it deprives the rest of the fraternities and sororities from enjoying the fun.
I guess it probably started way back when I was a senior in 2000. Our banner was the saloon, and it took weeks to build, and we really believed that it was a sure-win at the banner competition. Instead, our saloon was disqualified!!!
The reason: When the judges were reviewing the saloon, they noted that two of our brothers who were standing on top of it were considered part of the banner. Therefore, they judged that the banner exceeded the maximum height of the structure as defined by the competition rules.
Who would have thought that if a person that was standing on the saloon, it would have exceeded the 12-foot restriction? Sure, if it was known ahead of time, no one would have been standing on top of it. I considered it a poor decision choice from the judges. I also considered the rule saying that anything touching the banner be included in the measurements not in the best traditions of the Greek Week banner event competition. My personal opinion, of course, and I am sure those past GW judges thought the same way after it was said and done.
The banner disqualification was a turning point in how we performed during the rest of Greek Week 2000. We thought about pulling out of the competition. Some thought we were cheated. Others thought it was all a plan to get us kicked out of the event. Certainly, a lot of other chapters expressed disappointment about our saloon getting DQ'ed.
Instead, we decided to fight back with the best Greek spirit ever seen. We showed up in numbers at all the events, cheering on our fellow brothers as well as other chapters. At the end of Rope Pull, we got the Greek Spirit trophy. At the end of that year, our chapter got the Agnar Pytte Cup. At our National Convention that year, we got the Founders' Cup.
It was one of the proudest years I had while I was a Phikap.
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In keeping up the spirit of being a Phikap, the guys made t-shirts for this year's theme: The Legend Continues...
It is without doubt that Greek Week themes in the past have been dumb, corny, and a bit stupid. Honestly, we should do away with these themes.
Judge drops hazing charges against Rider University officials
Update to my previous blog posting on the Hazing Death at Rider University in New Jersey
Superior Court Judge Maria Sypek approved a request by Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph Bocchini to dismiss charges against Dean of Students Anthony Campbell and Director of Greek Life Ada Badgley.
The prosecutors reviewed the case and decided the evidence was insufficient to prove the charges against the two officials beyond a reasonable doubt.
Gary DeVercelly Sr, the father, decried the decision:
"We're upset about it, that the charges are being dismissed, because we feel that Rider has responsibility -- definitely has responsibility -- in this issue."
No civil lawsuit has been filed yet.
The charges against Adriano DiDonato, a student and residence director and house master of the PhiTau fraternity house; Dominic Olsen, pledge master of Spring 2007; and Michael J. Torney, the chapter president remain the same.
As such, if convicted, the three students face up to 18 months in prison and a fine up to $10,000. All three have pleaded not guilty.
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The hazing death at Rider had somewhat of a mixed effect on other area universities. At Rowan University, it has banned alcohol in all dorms, and only allows it in campus apartments and townhouses occupied solely by students over 21. Intoxication is prohibited. It also will require all Greek organizations to sign a document on hazing.
At Rider itself, alcohol is now banned in all residence halls and Greek housing, as well as all school-sponsored events. It has also decided to place directors in all Greek houses. All greek groups will be assessed on their actions annually, and the University will enact action plans when expectations are not met.
Rutgers University in New Brunswick and Camden, and the University of Delaware plan no major changes, stating that their current hazing and alcohol policies are stringent enough.
Alcohol/Hazing Death at Rider University Hurts Greeks
As of now, Anthony Campbell, 51, Rider's dean of students, and Adriano DiDonato, 22, a student who was also fraternity's house manager, pleaded not guilty in previous hearings. Adriano did not speak during his arraignment. His lawyer Paul Norris said, "I don't believe the indictment is fair to individuals like Adriano, and to anybody else who is a resident assistant, that they're somehow now put into a position to monitor every single person's activity."
On Friday (8/11), Michael J. Torney, 21, the former president of the fraternity chapter pleaded not guilty to aggravated hazing in a case involving the binge-drinking death of Gary DeVercelly, Jr., 18, of Long Beach, CA.
Torney's lawyer, Michael Rogers, said his client shouldn't be held responsible for the events that resulted in DeVercelly's death. "He had nothing to do with the demise of this young man," Rogers said.
The lawyer said that the former chapter president did not participate in any hazing and was not even in attendance when the pledges were drinking. "He was shocked the fact that there was a charge brought against him... because he didn't do anything," Rogers said. (cue laughing)
A criminal charge would derail Torney's plans to become a lawyer. Currently, Torney will be attending Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA this fall. Note that this decision was made months before DeVercelly's death.
I would think as chapter officers, we are held to a higher standard and level of responsibility to ensure that nothing disastrous will happen in the fraternity. As president of the chapter, you are the leader and spokesperson of the group. Also, you are ultimately held responsible for actions and conduct of your members. It's not just a title that you can boast on your resume, it shows that the brothers or sisters rely on you to lead them. If Torney was chapter president during that whole year, then he should be held responsible. It does not matter if you were not at the event.
This coming week, there will be hearing for the last two charged: Ada Badgley, 31, the university's director of Greek life, and Dominic Olsen, 21, pledge master of the fraternity's spring 2007 pledge class.
The University has not yet taken any disciplinary action against the five individuals.
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Fraternity deaths such as Scott Krueger (Phi Gamma Delta) at M.I.T. in 1997, Benjamin Wynne (Sigma Alpha Epsilon) at Louisiana State University in the same year, Blake Hammontree (Sigma Chi) at Oklahoma University in 2004, and others have continued to remind the Greek community at Case and at any other college or university that we must be vigilant in combating hazing and alcohol abuse.
We should also be reminded about the death of Stephen Donnelly, a fellow Case student who was a pledge at the Zeta Psi Fraternity. His death prompted an alcohol ban at all Greek parties for six weeks.
While we all take steps to eliminate acts of hazing and educate members on responsible drinking, we must work to let our fellow brothers and sisters at other colleges and universities know what they do, it will affect Greeks everywhere in this country.
Last Friday (August 3), a pair of school officials, including the dean of students, and three students from Rider University have been charged with "aggravated hazing" in the death of 18-year-old Gary DeVercelly after he was admitted into the Capital Health System's Fuld hospital in Trenton, NJ, following a night of heavy drinking at a Phi Kappa Tau fraternity house on March 30.
His blood alcohol content (BAC) was .426, more than 5 times the legal limit.
Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph Bocchini Jr.:
"The ramifications of this for colleges and universities in New Jersey, and across the country, is that it will send some kind of message that the standards of college life, when it relates to alcohol, need to be policed carefully."
Friends and classmates of reportedly informed authorities that Gary told them that he would be drinking vodka during a pledge initiation event at the fraternity house.
People who were charged:
Ada Badgley, the university's director of Greek Life
Anthony Campbell, the dean of students
Adriano DiDonato, residence director and housemaster of the Phi Tau fraternity house
Dominic Olsen, pledge master of Spring 2007 Phi Tau pledge class
Michael J. Tourney, fraternity chapter president
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The grand jury found that the five listed above "knowingly or recklessly organized, promoted, facilitated, or engaged in conduct" which resulted in injury to DeVercelly, as well as William Williams, a freshman who was also hospitalized the night DeVercelly died but survived.
Rider University announced that the Phi Tau chapter has been "dissolved." Also, a new set of policies are being drawn up headed up by a task force of faculty, staff, and students.
If convicted, the officials and fraternity members would face a max penalty of 18 months in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
Also note that another 15 people have been charged with providing alcohol to underage people, and 23 have been charged with underage drinking related to the March party. A search of the Phi Tau house resulted in three students charged with drug-related offenses.
DePauw's Delta Zeta Gets the Chop
DePauw University's president ordered the Delta Zeta sorority Monday to leave its campus by September in response to a mass eviction of members that sparked allegations that only attractive, popular students were asked to remain.
School President Robert G. Bottoms told reporters at a campus auditorium Monday that the values of the sorority were "incompatible" with the 2,200-student private college in western Indiana.
Bottoms said the school was unhappy with Delta Zeta's policies and actions and with some of the postings on its Web site that disputed the controversy that followed the evictions.
"I came to the conclusion that our approaches to these issues are just incompatible," he said during a news conference.
Bottoms said in a letter delivered Monday to the sorority's national president, Deborah A. Raziano that beginning in the fall, the sorority would no longer be recognized as part of the Greek system at the school. He asked the sorority to leave the campus in Greencastle, 40 miles west of Indianapolis, before next fall.
Delta Zeta's Tall, Skinny, and Blonde
Is it a case where members were asked to leave because of their "lack of support" for the chapter and sorority, or because they did not fit the profile of the "supermodel?"
As Greeks, we pledge a fraternity or sorority for a house full of friends and a lifetime of brotherhood or sisterhood. It would seem that the exception was made at Delta Zeta's DePauw University chapter in Indiana.
Supposedly, after a decline in membership in the chapter, the national office interviewed the sisters and kicked out 23 out of 35 members who they said were "not committed" to the sorority. The former members allege that the women expelled included overweight, black and Asian members, but that the sorority kept sisters who were popular with fraternities.
On the "Good Morning America" show (Download Video), two former members accused the national organisation of promoting the fact that sorority girls have to be blonde, thin, and popular with the men. They were not given any reason for their dismissal from the chapter.
During a recruitment tour, Delta Zeta's national office brought women from other universities to meet and greet freshmen. According to Megan Sikes, who was asked to leave, they were all "basically tall, skinny and blonde."
Delta Zeta National stated that looks had nothing to do with its decision. They based their decision solely on whether an active member will remain committed to recruit for the chapter.
Its official statement:
"Delta Zeta finds it offensive that recent reports have suggested that decisions at DePauw University were related in any way to our members' races and nationalities."
The decision by the sorority's national organization touched off an outpouring of protest on campus, including a faculty petition and a letter of reprimand last week from President Robert G. Bottoms.
In the letter, Bottoms criticized the national organization for reportedly misleading members and disrupting their lives just before final exams.
Campus administrators will take steps to make sure fraternities and sororities can't restructure in the middle of an academic year, Bottoms said, if the process breaks student housing contracts.
Former member Lynsay Moy:
"We were never given any reason. No one was ever given any explanation, even though several times we asked for one ... You know, you pledge an organization and you fall in love with the girls that you're with and you become devoted to a sorority and then you're told you're not good enough."
Former member Joanna Kieschnick who was invited to stay but chose to leave:
"These are my sisters, these are my friends. I love these women and I've seen them pour their heart and souls into the chapter and just to see this done to them [with] no reason given, it was just a form letter ... I don't want to be a puppet for the national organization. I want to be me."
WishTV-Ch 8 - Some Members Asked to Leave Sorority at DePauw
Journal & Courier - DePauw will tighten its leash on Greek system
WTHR-Ch 13 - DePauw students angry over sorority ousting
Hazing Death - U Texas at Austin
Three fraternity members were indicted Wednesday on hazing charges in the alcohol-related death last year of an 18-year-old pledge.
Phanta "Jack" Phoummarath, a freshman at University of Texas at Austin, was found dead at the Lambda Phi Epsilon house on Dec. 10, 2005.
Fraternity president Benny Chan was indicted on seven counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor and 22 counts of hazing. Andrew Nguyen, the fraternity's pledge captain, was indicted on seven counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor and 28 counts of hazing. And Kamal Pulukuri was indicted on 14 counts of hazing. All are misdemeanor charges.
The University suspended Lambda Phi Epsilon's status as a registered student group until 2011.