Members of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity received sanctions ranging from disciplinary probation to suspension after the University learned the group was hazing students, Student Judicial Services officials said.
SJS Director Tara Woolfson said Delta Tau Delta members’ charges included serving alcohol to minors and hazing. She said students who voluntarily participate in activities can be charged with hazing, which can occur “with or without consent” of the participants.
National Delta Tau Delta officials removed recognition from the GW chapter Feb. 11 after allegations of hazing. National officials have also declined to release details of the alleged incidents.
Hazing is defined as “any action taken or situation created, intentionally, with or without consent, whether on- or off-campus, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment or ridicule,” according to the University Code of Conduct.
The University learned of possible hazing of fraternity members from “several sources,” Woolfson wrote in an e-mail.
“The goal of the University is to protect its students from situations that may be physically or mentally harmful, as well as to educate students about their responsibility when faced with a choice to engage certain behaviors,” Woolfson said.
A member of the fraternity who wished to remain anonymous said SJS charged pledges with underage drinking. He said members were unhappy with the way the University handled the hazing allegations, about which he declined to give specifics.
“Outwardly, the University says they’re about promoting Greek life, but in reality they’re only promoting the Greek life they can control,” the fraternity member said. “The fraternities that aren’t renting or owned by the University aren’t getting in as much trouble.”
Clifton Coffey, president of the recently suspended fraternity, failed to return several phone calls this week.
Woolfson said if members of the fraternity act as an unrecognized organization it may hinder their chance of regaining recognition on campus.
Members of the GW Alpha Epsilon Pi chapter, which lost recognition in 2001, currently recruit and operate as “Apes.”
Alpha Epsilon Pi returned to campus last fall with a different group of students. Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Alpha Mu and Kappa Alpha Psi also operate as unrecognized fraternities, according to the Interfraternity Council Web site.
Despite Delta Tau Delta’s departure and the social probationary status of three fraternities and one sorority, Greek-letter life is still thriving at GW, said University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg.
“Greek life is alive and well at GW and serves a part of our student body well,” Trachtenberg said. The University currently recognizes 12 IFC fraternities and eight Panhellenic Association sororities, in addition to seven multicultural Greek-letter organizations.
Trachtenberg said he was not familiar with the circumstances surrounding Delta Tau Delta’s dissolution but added that the University would be receptive to allowing the fraternity back on campus in a few years. The earliest that Delta Tau Delta national will allow the group back on campus is in 2007.
“I’m a great believer in redemption,” said Trachtenberg, a member of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity during his undergraduate years. “I presume they didn’t kill anybody or do … something heinous.”
GW would most likely wait until Delta Tau Delta’s current members graduate until it considers letting the fraternity re-group, Trachtenberg said.
He said, “The Delta Tau Delta that would come back would not be the same people.”
-Michael Barnett contributed to this article.
Delta Tau Delta Timeline
Feb. 2001: Metropolitan Police arrested at least 10 people at a Delta Tau Delta-sponsored party for SA candidates.
April 2001: The University placed the fraternity on social probation following two charges of underage drinking and a discriminatory remark against gay students.
Feb. 2004: GW chapter loses its national charter for hazing. Members are sanctioned by Student Judicial Services for serving alcohol to minors and hazing.