Brooks: Clearing The Air

by David Brooks | 11/13/13 3:11pm

Recently, the College announced a series of sanctions against Theta Delta Chi fraternity. I am a brother at this fraternity, and I have heard conjecture as to the nature of the allegations against the fraternity. I will address the exact allegations and hopefully, dispel any rumors as to their nature. My goal is to release the facts as they stand in order to allow the greater community to understand exactly what was alleged in light of College spokesperson Justin Anderson’s allusions to high-risk drinking.

The first charge is related to two noise complaints issued against the fraternity on the night of May 2. After telling the house to control the music volume, Hanover Police returned and issued a ticket for the noise. I personally received the ticket for the fraternity. The officers thanked me for handling the situation. Theta Delt paid the ticket, and we have had no further issues with noise.

The second charge stemmed from a Good Samaritan request on May 17 of Green Key weekend. Two brothers requested the assistance of Safety and Security for an intoxicated student. The student did not attend Dartmouth and was not allowed into the fraternity.

The third charge came from the night of May 18 during Green Key weekend. There was water in the basement of the fraternity, and Safety and Security responded to a student outside who needed assistance for intoxication.

The fourth charge stemmed from the response to a fire alarm during the night of May 19. The fire alarm was alleged to have sounded due to heavy marijuana smoke on the third floor of the fraternity. The fraternity had not registered a party that night. No drugs or drug paraphernalia were found, and no students were charged.

The final charge was for distribution of alcohol to an underage person. On Sept. 23, 2012, Hanover Police took a brother of the fraternity into custody. He was driving with a postgraduate student, and a receipt for a bottle of vodka was found in the backseat. The brother later pled guilty to reckless driving. A Safety and Security officer stated that earlier in the night, he had seen the same brother in the basement of Theta Delt with an open beer can. The officer never saw the brother drink and said that the brother did not appear to be intoxicated at that time. The fraternity pled guilty to a violation (not a misdemeanor or any other criminal charge) of accomplice to underage possession in order to avoid the costs of going to trial.

I hope that clears the air surrounding what exactly Theta Delt was charged with. The fraternity was not found in violation to the charges stemming from either of the Good Samaritan requests. Theta Delt was found in violation of the College Standards of Conduct for the rest of the violations.

The Undergraduate Judicial Affairs office had been building this case for over five months with charges stemming from a time period of over a year. When the fraternity was presented with the charges, we were given one week to respond to the allegations. The packet contained over 50 pages. When we asked for an extension to respond, we were given one day.

At the hearing, Theta Delt admitted that the fraternity had made mistakes. We provided examples of concrete changes we hoped could be instituted to increase the safety of the fraternity social scene and to educate new members. We asked the committee to work with us to institute these and other changes that would allow our fraternity to avoid any future problems.

In the end, the committee decided on a combination of suspension and probations to extend through the end of spring term 2016. There was also a list of actions to be completed by the fraternity. These charges and this decision have come at the end of the term, when finals are approaching. Although the terms of our suspension make it impossible to hold charitable events and guide new members, we still hope to have the opportunity to work with the College in bettering our fraternity as a whole.