Phi Delta Theta chapter loses house, charter for 2010-2011

Amy Sandquist

Former Phi Delta Theta members will no longer qualify for formal group housing. (lauren mimms)

The Phi Delta Theta chapter at
Lawrence University lost its charter
Jan. 22, meaning the fraternity
will no longer be recognized as a
part of Lawrence’s Greek system.
Rumors that the Lawrence administration
had a say in the fraternity’s
undoing circulated around campus,
but in a letter to the editor in
last week’s Lawrentian, former Phi
Delta Theta president, Marc Casati,
highlighted the administration’s
innocence in the charter loss.
Casati, a senior biology major,
joined Phi Delta Theta during his
sophomore year and elaborated
this week that the Phi Delts had
their charter taken away due to low
member numbers and insufficient
grade point averages among those
members.
According to Casati, Phi Delta
Theta’s official charter guidelines
require that the “minimum size
of each chapter … as of May 1 of
each year must be 35 or greater,
or must be of size at least equal to
the average fraternity chapter size
off all fraternities on the campus
at which the charter is located.”
When its charter was revoked,
Phi Delta Theta only had eight
members. The fraternity has
struggled over the past couple of
years to attract new pledges. Casati
believes Phi Delta Theta’s decreasing
membership correlates with
Lawrence’s now defunct wrestling
program.
“As the wrestling program
started getting smaller and smaller
and was then suspended last year
due to low interest … that hurt
us a lot,” Casati said. Similarly,
Phi Delta Theta used to recruit from the football team, but that source “dried up” as well, Casati added.
Phi Delta Theta members also struggled to maintain the grade point average required by the national chapter. Difficulty with transfer credits and members withdrawing from classes are among the reasons that Casati believes the group was having difficulty maintaining the necessary 2.5 GPA.
Fraternity members did not receive any warning about their chapter’s potential dissolution until it was too late. “All our members were really shocked by the decision,” Casati explained. “Although we knew we were a small chapter, we thought we were at least making progress and heading in the right direction.”
Because Phi Delta Theta members live in formal group housing at 738 E. Boldt Way, the terms of their residence will change spring term. No longer considered a formal group, former Phi Delta Theta members can no longer take part in the formal group housing meal plan, which allowed them to eat half of their meals together in the house. Next year, the group will be ineligible to apply for formal group housing.
Although disappointed by his fraternity’s revoked charter, Casati remains optimistic for Phi Delta Theta’s future at Lawrence. In 2009, the fraternity celebrated its 150th anniversary at Lawrence and boasted one of the longest continually open chapters of Phi Delt.
In fall 2012, Phi Delta Theta recruiters plan to return to Lawrence to attempt to reestablish Lawrence’s charter. Casati notes that when the Monmouth College Phi Delta Theta chapter faced similar circumstances, the college was able to successfully rebuild the fraternity and has had 97 members join in the few years after their charter was reestablished.

Former Phi Delta Theta members will no longer qualify for formal group housing. (lauren mimms)

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