College reinstates housing policy regarding derecognized facilities, likely to affect AD

by Michael Qian and Priya Ramiah | 6/25/15 7:02pm

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Under a reinstated College policy, former members of Alpha Delta fraternity can no longer live in the facility.

Dartmouth students may not live in a Greek Letter, undergraduate or senior society facility that is not recognized by the College, Interim Dean of the College Inge-Lise Ameer wrote in a campus-wide email announcing the reinstatement of a policy that had been in place until 2011. Announced on Monday, June 22, the policy went into effect on Thursday, June 25, the first day of summer term.

In the campus-wide email, Ameer cited concerns over student health and safety as primary reasons behind the policy’s reinstatement. Ameer said that this reinstated policy was previously in effect for many years prior to 2011, when it inadvertently ended as the College transferred residential life information from print to online.

Ameer said in an interview with The Dartmouth that she currently does not expect the policy to affect any facilities besides Alpha Delta fraternity.

The College derecognized Alpha Delta fraternity as a student organization in April, following allegations that the fraternity branded new members. The College did not find the fraternity responsible for hazing, but did find the organization to be in violation of the code of conduct. The allegations occurred when the fraternity was already on probation for alcohol violations.

“I want to make clear that we’ve been trying to talk to the AD brothers about moving out, and when Dartmouth previously derecognized organizations, what became [Beta Alpha Omega fraternity] and what became [Phi Delta Alpha fraternity], they all had to move out too,” Ameer said. “I know people feel like it’s a big deal, but it’s happened before, and I’m just worried about a derecognized organization, and they were derecognized because of very bad behavior.”

Ameer said that she knows many students affiliated with AD see the policy announcement as a surprise, but added that she does not view it that way.

In April, the College notified AD of its derecognition and stated that members living there would have to move out to comply with Hanover ordinances, which state that no more than three unrelated people may live together in the same building. Prior to derecognition, the fraternity was exempted from this ordinance as a College-recognized facility.

In May, former AD president Ryan Maguire ’16 said that while the College gave members until April 20 to move out of the house, many elected not to do so.

Also in May, John Engelman ’68, AD alumni advisor up until its derecognition, 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.

Ameer said if students do not abide by the policy, they would be subject to the College’s standard judicial review process. She said, however, that she would hope to first talk to the involved students and encourage them to move out.

“I don’t want to go down this path, those particular students have had enough of all that, but at their own creation,” she said. “I’d rather them do the right thing and live in the residence halls, which the majority of them are doing, and I’m grateful for that.”

Engleman said that because the property and facility are not owned by the College, the organization will still be able to use the building for meetings and social events despite not being able to live there.

Engleman said that AD recently appealed to the Hanover Zoning Board for an exemption from the ordinance despite not being recognized by the College, but that this effort was denied in May. He said that AD plans to appeal this decision, adding that Hanover would allow members to continue living in the facility until the entire process concludes.

He said that the organization’s zoning appeal would likely be rendered moot by this new change in policy, which prevents students from living in AD regardless of the town’s appeals process.

Engelman added that he believes the rationale of concern for students’ safety does not make sense. Many apartments and houses where students choose to live off campus, he said, are not equipped with essential safety features that he said are present in AD.

“If the administration were really concerned with health and safety, they should take a look at some of these places,” Engelman said. “We are very concerned with health and safety and the Alpha Delta house is equipped to take that seriously.”

Engelman also criticized the timing of the announcement, which was made the Monday following the conclusion of Reunions and the reunion giving program. Many AD alumni, he said, played key roles in organizing the Reunions program and provided leadership for the giving programs.

“It’s clearly not a decision they made overnight, but they still waited to announce it,” Engelman said. “I don’t think, necessarily, that alums would have withheld donations, but it seems with the timing that the College was thinking that way.”

Former AD member Gordon Driscoll ’17 said that while the former members expected they would have to eventually move out of the house, they did not expect the decision to come so close to the start of summer term.

“The thing is, we found out three days ago,” Driscoll said. “They’re taking our home from us, almost.”

As of Thursday, those initially planning on living in the house over the summer had obtained either on- or off-campus housing and had moved out in compliance with the new policy, Engelman said.

Driscoll said that members will still utilize the space, and that he did not expect the ruling to affect former organization’s sense of brotherhood. He said that while the space held significance, it did not define the fraternity.

“The College doesn’t have the power to tell us not to hang out there,” Driscoll said. “You’ll see us on the porch, on the lawn, but we’ll definitely be abiding by the ruling.”

Several Greek houses that are currently recognized by the College have been derecognized in the past. In 2001, the College derecognized Zeta Psi fraternity for the publication of sexually explicit internal newsletters. Beta Theta Pi fraternity was derecognized from 1996 until 2010, when it re-emerged as the current Beta Alpha Omega fraternity.

Phi Delta Alpha fraternity lost recognition from 2000 to 2004 due to a series of infractions involving substance use, theft and an unapproved rush process. The College, however, formally acknowledged Phi Delt as a “colony” starting in early 2003. Colony status grants a probationary period during which a house must show that the it can meet College expectations.

In 2003, though still formally unrecognized, Phi Delt was allowed to hold a rush process and host social events. Students, however, could not live in the house.