SJS examines Delta Tau Delta incidents

Student Judicial Services is investigating charges of a discriminatory remark and underage drinking in two separate incidents that happened outside the Delta Tau Delta house Friday night and early Saturday morning. The fraternity, which was placed on social probation last week, could face sanctions as severe as extended probation or suspension if the incidents are tied to the fraternity, SJS officials said.

Three GWPride members filed a report with University Police charging that a student in front of the Delta Tau Delta house yelled, “I hate fags” at them as they walked by the house after Friday’s Drag Show in the Marvin Center.

Freshman Ryan Anderson, who reported the incident, said he does not know if the student who made the remark is a Delta Tau Delta member. He said the student was sitting outside the fraternity house and directed the comment to the group.

“(The comment) was definitely made to us because, for one thing, he yelled,” Anderson said. “But also because when I turned around he pointed himself out.”

Senior Jeff Butler, a Delta Tau Delta alumnus who was present for both of the weekend incidents, said he thinks the student who made the anti-gay comment is unaffiliated with the fraternity.

Butler said the comment was part of a conversation between Delta Tau Delta members and the unaffiliated student, and it was not directed at anyone walking by.

“I feel bad for the kids that were walking by while the statements were being made,” he said. “At the same time, the kid who made the statement didn’t do anything wrong because he was just sharing his opinion. It was not something made toward (the students walking by) or about them.”

Anderson said this is the first time derogatory remarks have been directed to him at GW.

“I was just a little shocked,” Anderson said. “Part of the reason I came to GW is because it is a liberal campus and I expected a little more.”

University Police reported the incident as a harassment charge and sent the report to SJS, UPD Director Dolores Stafford said. She said the student who made the comment refused to cooperate with the UPD officer, but his name was obtained for the report.

“We got the information somehow,” Stafford said.

Delta Tau Delta President Bob Simon said his fraternity should not be held responsible for the remark, but he thinks SJS will charge the group anyway.

“We’re not responsible at all, and I know SJS is going to charge us and say, `well they were on your property and you should control it,'” Simon said. “People are free to say what they want.”

In the other incident, Stafford said an officer found three students drinking alcohol in front of the Delta Tau Delta house, and reported one for underage drinking after he tried to flee. She said the officer asked the students to go inside, but one student refused and yelled insulting remarks to the officer.

Butler, 24, said he argued with the officer after the officer charged up to the house’s porch and accused them of underage drinking. Butler said the officer had no reason to come on the property because no one was drinking alcohol.

Butler said he does not see how GW could charge Delta Tau Delta for either incident.

“When it comes right down to it, (GW) can’t charge the fraternity for either of these incidents because it didn’t involve the fraternity,” he said. “People are getting worked up about how this is getting thrown back at the fraternity.”

Assistant Dean of Students Mike Walker said GW reserves the right to hold fraternities responsible for what happens on their property, no matter who is involved or how many members of the group were present.

“If nothing else it was on this group’s property,” Walker said. “They have to have some responsibility for who’s on their property.”

The fraternity members said UPD and SJS are constantly looking for ways to charge their fraternity with rules violations.

“I don’t believe (University President Stephen Joel) Trachtenberg and the University have a vendetta against Greek life, but it does seem that (Student) Judicial Services and University Police do,” Butler, who was a Delta Tau Delta member from 1996 to 2000, said.

Simon said UPD officers patrol the area in front of the house more often this year than past years, and SJS officials are less open with him about investigations involving his fraternity.

“This year we’re actually following the rules, but now we’re constantly under the microscope,” Simon said. “In the past we’ve been a lot more reckless, but lately we’ve been getting in a lot more trouble.”

Stafford said UPD patrols G Street the same amount as it did last year. SJS Manager David Pine said his policies for contacting fraternities under investigation have not changed.

Delta Tau Delta is on social probation and a year’s censure for violating alcohol policies at a February party. Pine said the sanctions can weigh against the fraternity if it is charged with any other violations.

“A censure doesn’t say, `don’t do the same thing twice,” Pine said. “Everything is taken into account. We have to look at the whole picture.”

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.