IFC board sanctions fraternity for hazing

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Phi Delta Theta is looking to the future and trying to learn from a mistake that sent one member to the hospital three weeks ago.

The interfraternity judicial board announced earlier this week that it finished its investigation of Phi Delt and made a final ruling concerning the September incident, said Brandon Harder, Interfraternity Council president and senior in animal sciences and industry.

According to a Sept. 22 Collegian article, an 18-year-old freshman male was found unresponsive and taken by fraternity members to Mercy Regional Health Center on the night of Sept. 20. It was determined he had severe alcohol poisoning.

The IFC determined that the chapter was responsible for hazing and misuse of alcohol; they imposed sanctions on Phi Delt and will monitor the fraternity until Sept. 1, 2011, Harder said.

“[The IFC] focuses on education and being proactive,” he said. “These sanctions are designed to be educational and helpful, not a punishment.”

Sanctions include suspension, fines and educational programs for the leadership and membership. The chapter will not be allowed to host social activities, and any violations will result in instant expulsion. The sanctions prohibit any events involving alcohol until February 2011, Harder said.

Pat Bosco, vice president of student life, said the university will do all it can to help Phi Delt meet their goals and stick to the sanctions.

“I think our IFC, student leaders, alumni volunteers and local fraternity chapter did a reasonable job of establishing expectations that are going to be attainable,” Bosco said. “We can grow from what could’ve been a tragic experience.”

Phi Delt President Brad Richardson, senior in mechanical engineering, said the fraternity is implementing new regulations and focusing on important issues to move the chapter past this incident, including risk management, judicial affairs and overall culture. He also said Phi Delt is specifically honing its pledge program to incorporate more alcohol awareness for all incoming pledges.

“We’ll be going over this all as a house to make sure students are aware of all the rules of the university, the IFC and even Riley County,” he said. “A lot of these pledges are just 18-year-olds who come in and have no idea of the rules, so we’re going to work on that.”

Richardson said he has received positive feedback from Phi Delt members on the fraternity’s future and they are prepared to face any repercussions from the incident and sanctions.

“Yeah, it’s going to hurt us a little, there’s going to be some adjusting,” Harder said. “And we might lose some guys we otherwise could’ve recruited, but I think that for the type of guys we want, it won’t be a problem.”

Brandon Cutler, assistant director and fraternity advisor for Greek Affairs, said he supports the decision the IFC made to sanction Phi Delt and respects the way the fraternity has cooperated with authorities throughout the process, even working with local alumni.

“They have a lot of work ahead of them, but they have quality members and an opportunity to grow and improve their chapter,” he said. “The future of their fraternity depends on the work they put into the areas they need to improve, and this is definitely a chance to grow.”

Richardson said he has seen this incident bring strong leaders out of the woodworks, including many new, young members, who have stepped up and looked into ways to improve the fraternity.

“It does us no good to implement these changes if there’s no buy-in with future members,” he said. “These younger guys are the ones who are taking over and really shaping the chapter into what it will be down the road.”

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