Delt president bemoans administration brushoff

Chris Phelps

My duty as president of my fraternity, Delta Tau Delta, has from day one been to act as a central figure through which all important communication between university administration, the national fraternity, my brothers, and the Lawrence community can be channeled.What I want to disclose is not an allegation of wrongdoing, but rather to vocalize ongoing frustrations that I have felt over my term as president. I need to express that everyone that I have had dealings with, without exception, has acted wholly on the belief that their actions were in line with what was best for Lawrence University and without any malcontent or indiscretion. My dealings with Lawrence University officials and administration has been one of the most uncomfortable situations I’ve been involved with in my entire life.

From Formal Group Housing negotiations, to meetings with the President and Deans, their level of professionalism leaves me alienated and frustrated. Compared to these persons as a young and oftentimes hasty college student, I am left in the dust when it comes to communicating the right words or having a say in important matters.

I feel that the students of Lawrence should be the number one priority of the president and dean of this institution, yet this has been made clear to me that it is not the case. In my last meeting with the president, which consequently took over five weeks to arrange, I was told straight to my face that not only was he apathetic that we hadn’t spoken in such a long time, but he also did not want to have any more meetings with me in the future. I was absolutely in shock to hear these words coming from the president of my university. The dean of students has told me time and time again that the purpose of punishment must be educational in that it needs to evoke a change for the better rather than be arbitrary in nature.

My fraternity is presently serving out its probation for the reckless act of three now-alumni a year ago. To Beta Theta Pi, I hope everyone in your house understands how deeply sorry all of our members are that this happened and what an awful situation it was. At the same time, the university, inconsistent with its desire for educational reprimand, deemed that a four-term probation was in order for the acts of three members that would graduate only halfway through that period. Now, the university has extended that probation yet another term, for an alleged probation violation at a brotherhood event last December, the nature of which I have time and time again reported as not occurring.

I stated, and continue to state, that on that night there was no alcohol involved in a chapter function, yet I am told it is so. In essence what I have been told is that I am neither correct nor does what I say have any bearing on the decisions made by the administration. Thus I have no voice with which to speak for my house and cannot perform the duties of my position.

The additional term of probation is a cut and dry instance of an arbitrary punishment handed down. Four terms or five? It does nothing more than demoralize the younger members of the house and it is a huge slap in the face to seniors, who have been some of the biggest driving forces in trying to make positive changes and influences with the fraternity and consequently will have served their time at Lawrence 7 of 12 terms on social probation; they will never again host a college social event.

I’m not here to try and pick on someone or to change the events that have happened. What I want to accomplish is to verbalize my frustrations and let the Lawrence community draw its own conclusions. I could not be more proud to have served as president for my chapter. My only regret is that as a fraternity we have not been vocal about ourselves, both the good and the bad. I have a feeling that mistake will not be repeated in the future.

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