Gamma Delt on one-year probation

by Mark Bubriski | 11/23/99 6:00am

Gamma Delta Chi fraternity was slapped with a $200 fine and has been put on probation until December 31, 2000 for an alleged "panty raid" in two sororities by a group of their pledges in October.

Three or four unidentified members of the pledge class at Gamma Delt climbed up the fire escapes of Alpha Xi Delta and Kappa Delta Epsilon sororities after a house meeting on the night of Oct. 13 and entered the women's rooms. They stole a significant amount of clothing, primarily underwear, and damaged an unspecified personal item.

"This was not a new member mission, no one was responsible for the ones who committed the offenses except the ones who did them," Gamma Delt President Matthew Schroeder '00 said in a BlitzMail statement to The Dartmouth last night.

Although he stressed the independence of the perpetrators and that no Gamma Delt brother instructed the pledges or implied they should do so, he said, "still we recognized that it was a house problem since they represented [Gamma Delt]."

Dean of Residential Life Martin W. Redman, as Hearing Officer of the College, wrote in a letter to Schroeder that he found the fraternity in violation of two College policies. Gamma Delt was charged with violating four policies based on the panty raid.

Redman found Gamma Delt guilty of breaking and entering, theft, damage to personal property and misuse of fire safety equipment which violates Standards II and VII of the Dartmouth Community Standards of Conduct.

Standard II prohibits students and student organizations from threatening the safety, security, or functioning of the College, its members or others. Standard IV requires students and student organizations to abide by College rules and regulations.

Schroeder said that the property was returned to KDE and the apology were made before the sorority knew of the situation and Safety and Security became involved only after the property was returned.

"[Safety and Security] mistakenly but not maliciously gave KDE President Anne Mullins ['00] the impression that the people who took the property intended on keeping it and [Gamma Delt] planned on shielding them, not knowing that the items had been returned," Schroeder said.

He also said the executive committees of the houses involved met on October 20 to voice concerns and opinions about the issue.

Gamma Delt was found not guilty of pledge violations.

Redman told The Dartmouth that he felt the pledges involved acted of their own accord and not by the fraternity's mandate.

However, Redman also said, "[The pledges] were probably thinking, 'Hey, we're going to be really good new members. But the problem is that obviously they had this feeling of 'we have to show them how good we're going to be,' and that, by doing what they did, was proving this."

When asked about the repercussions of the incident on the Greek system as a whole, Redman said, "Many are going to look at this and say 'this is no big deal -- it happens all the time.' For others, they're going to look at this, and think, 'here we go again.'"

Redman placed the fraternity on College Probation until 2001. He said that another similar occurrence of theft or breaking and entering in the next year would most likely result in the chapter's separation from the College. He also said that a pledge violation or several alcohol violations could result in the same.

Redman also mandated that Gamma Delt restructure its new member education program which he said was partially suggested by the fraternity itself. He said he included this in his sanctions in order to "hold them to it."

In the letter to Schroeder, Redman wrote, "The fact that these men felt they needed to impress the brothers certainly sets a tone of competition and a sense of needing to prove oneself worthy of membership when [the fraternity] already invited [them] to join presumably for what they had to offer," in validation for the new member program revision requirement.

Redman told The Dartmouth, "There was a flaw here, it appeared to us a group, with their new member program. We wanted them to come up with new policies to help their new members understand what it means to be in an organization, which I think is a problem throughout the system -- and to bring this as a topic for discussion to the [CFSC] to see if the system-wide problem can be rectified."

"I have reprimanded my new member educators for not making it clear to the new members what behavior is not allowed on campus and explaining to them that they represent us at all times," Schroeder said in his statement.

"Upon hearing how good Sig Ep's new member education plan is I have contacted their President and plan on bringing their balanced man program to our house," Schroeder continued.

Redman's final sanction requires that Gamma Delt propose a policy prohibiting "the common practice of entering another organizations' rooms, private or public, and taking property belonging to that organization or individual members... under the guise of pranks and typically occur as 'panty raids' or as part of new member activity or as retaliation for some prior event."

Many of the items were returned and an agreement was made among the houses involved which included monetary restitution for lost or damaged items. The agreement also requires Gamma Delt to assist the sororities with work at Hannah House, a residential program in Lebanon that helps pregnant and parenting teenagers.

The $200 fine issued in compliance with safety regulations on climbing on fire escapes (covered under Standard VII -- $100 for the violations at each of the two sorority houses) also will be paid to Hannah House.

Redman's sanctions include the requirement that neither the fine nor any work Gamma Delt does at Hannah House in accordance with the agreement with KDE and Alpha Xi be listed as community service or involvement.

Schroeder ended his statement by saying that he believes the "punishment fits the crime" and that his house is "very sorry about what occurred that night."

Mullins declined to comment to The Dartmouth. CFSC President Jaimie Paul '00 and Alpha Xi President Kristin Garro '00 could not be reached for comment.

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