College overturns Heorot derecognition

by Ithan Peltan | 5/29/01 5:00am

Chi Heorot fraternity will endure three terms of social restrictions for failing to meet two of the College's Minimum Standards during their Winter term review, the final results of which were released on Friday.

The punishment, however, comes only after the fraternity's successful appeal of the review board's initial recommendation that the house be derecognized based on a finding that the house was in non-compliance with four of the standards.

Miscommunication between the Office of Residential Life and Heorot officers prior to and during the original Winter term review resulted in the widely divergent decisions, both Heorot President Michael Salice '02 and review board member John Engelman '68 said.

"Through our reconsideration we were able to refute many of the points outlined in the original report" by presenting information previously unavailable to the review board during their May 15 reconsideration hearing, Salice said.

Under the decision handed down by ORL, Salice said alcohol is prohibited from the common areas of the Heorot physical plant through the end of next Winter term, but the house is allowed to continue to host registered parties at which alcohol is served.

"We were surprised by getting over three terms of social probation, but we couldn't be too disappointed with anything less than derecognition," he said.

Although the decision was issued by Dean of Residential Life Martin Redman, he said that he did not alter the revised recommendations given to him by the review board, with which Engelman said he "very comfortable."

The review board concluded that Heorot was in compliance with the membership and budget standards where it had previously failed, Salice said. However, the house still fell short in the areas of leadership and behavior.

Failure of the behavior standard resulted from a series of 12 keg registration violations adjudicated during the period covered by the review -- Winter to Fall terms of 2000 -- resulting in $1800 worth of fines.

However, Salice noted that five of the incidents actually took place during the fall of 1999 and were adjudicated during the winter.

In terms of leadership, Salice said the final report found that the house's officer manuals "needed to be updated and cleaned" and that officer orientation was not "up to par."

When the review first took place, the fraternity's interim president had medical problems, and that contributed to the problems of communication, Salice and Engelman said.

"Some of the information kind of got lost in transit," Salice said.

Other aspects of the decision include a requirement that the house pay off its outstanding debt by the end of next Winter term and undergo a Minimum Standards review each term during that time period. The report also strongly recommended that Heorot update its internal documentation, in particular its constitution and records pertaining to its new member programs.

While Engelman believes the termly reviews will be more like "conversations" than full reviews, he said that the review board will still sit down and go through each of the six Minimum Standards in detail with the house officer. "It'll keep their feet to the fire," he said.

While Salice's criticism was muted by a sense of relief that his house was not derecognized, he did fault aspects of the review process.

"I just still feel that a lot of points that we made during our reconsideration were not well received and were not taken into consideration as much as they should have been," he said. "I think there's an inherent problem with the appeal being heard by the same people who handed down the original decision."

He also noted that there was no student member of the review board as mandated by the Minimum Standards guidelines, a common problem during reviews.

In such cases, houses are given the chance to postpone their review until a student can be found to join the board, but Heorot chose to go ahead with their review anyway, Redman previously told The Dartmouth.

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