Alpha Delta fraternity’s derecognition appeal denied

by Parker Richards | 5/10/15 7:29pm

The College has denied Alpha Delta fraternity’s appeal of its derecognition, College spokesperson Diana Lawrence wrote in email on Friday.

AD had until Monday, April 20 — the same day its derecognition came into effect — to appeal the decision. The appeal came before provost Carolyn Dever, AD alumni advisor John Engelman ’68 said. Dever denied the appeal after reviewing it for roughly three weeks.

According to Lawrence, the appeal process included “careful consideration” by the reviewers.

The future of the fraternity is uncertain for the moment, former AD president Ryan Maguire ’16 said. The Town of Hanover contacted AD in relation to possible zoning violations at the house, and a hearing to resolve the issue is set for May 28, Maguire said, adding that “so much is up in the air.”

Engelman said that the house is “absolutely” considering the possibility of continuing to operate as an unrecognized organization, as Zeta Psi fraternity did for part of its 2001-2011 period of derecognition.

“When the College revoked AD’s recognition, they thought that the 105 members of the fraternity were somehow going to scatter to the fringes of the campus and fade into the background, and they didn’t really understand the nature of a fraternity or a brotherhood,” Engelman said. “I think it’s going to continue to exist as long as it can, as long as it meets the needs of its members, and as I say, it can continue either as a recognized fraternity or as a derecognized fraternity.”

Both Engelman and Maguire said they hope that AD will eventually be re-recognized, as Zete, Beta Alpha Omega — formerly Beta Theta Pi — and Phi Delta Alpha fraternities were after periods of derecognition ranging from two to 12 years.

“I think it is in the best interests of the College for the fraternity to be recognized, and quite frankly, I think it’s in the best interest of the fraternity for the College to recognize it,” Engelman said.

It is not clear if AD will attempt to form a class of new members in the fall. Engelman said the fraternity would like to have new members, although the matter will not be decided until other issues are resolved.

“We fully expect that by that time, we will have a better answer of what we’re going to be doing moving forward,” Maguire said.

A likely issue at the fraternity’s May 28 zoning hearing could be the number of people currently residing in the house. While the College gave members of AD until April 20 to move out of the house, many elected not to, Maguire said.

“Some of the brothers who were living in the house have moved out, but there’s still a substantial number living internally within the house under the advisement of our zoning and land use attorney — in the meantime until we clear up whatever issues we may have with town zoning laws,” he said.

The zoning hearing will also help determine if AD will be able to house members over the upcoming summer term, Maguire said.

AD’s derecognition followed allegations of branding new members, first reported by the news and gossip website Gawker in late March, which prompted the College to confirm its extension of the fraternity’s suspension, which was due to expire this term.

In addition to the branding incident, vice president for public affairs Justin Anderson highlighted a three-year history of disciplinary violations — including hazing, serving alcohol to minors and hosting unregistered parties — along with the announcement of the extension. The fraternity’s suspension began last September in relation to incidents during the winter and spring of 2014.

AD’s appeal focused on a variety of issues both with the initial charges against the house and with the adjudication process surrounding derecognition, Maguire and Engelman said.

The fraternity included numerous supporting documents in its appeal, Engelman said, including a complaint about one member of the Organizational Adjudication Committee, which initially heard the case, who the fraternity felt was “biased against the Greek system in general,” Engelman said. Engelman said he did not recall the committee member’s name.

Additionally, the fraternity’s appeal documents included information about its path going forward and a series of emails between Maguire and the office of judicial affairs.

“We spoke mostly about how we felt that the sanction of derecognition was not appropriate,” Maguire added.

Since derecognition, AD has been focusing on its philanthropic efforts, Maguire said.

AD raised $20,644 for cancer research as part of the Relay for Life campaign, the highest amount raised of any group. Alpha Xi Delta sorority, the next largest fundraiser, raised $5,690.

“I think that’s adding value to the Dartmouth community,” Engelman said.

While some alumni have considered withholding donations from the College due to the derecognition, Engelman said the fraternity does not support that stance.

“Most of the AD alumni I know have a strong commitment to the College and a strong commitment to the fraternity, and none of the people I’ve talked to are inclined to change those commitments,” he said.

Engelman also said many AD alumni have increased their donations to the organization to support its current efforts following derecognition.

AD’s attorney George Ostler ’77 did not respond to requests for comment.