Editors note: A four-year suspension was handed out to the Delta Chi fraternity at Central Michigan University, finalized on Oct. 11 by Steven Johnson, vice president of enrollment and student services. Central Michigan Life submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the university for all documents used in the suspension case. A timeline of the violations that have taken place over the last 15 years has been added to the bottom of this story for further clarification.
Central Michigan University began an investigation of the Delta Chi fraternity stemming from an April 19 party that took place at the fraternity house on Main Street.
According to emails from Coordinator of Greek Life and Student Involvement, Erica Johnson, to the Director of Student Conduct, Tom Idema, a female student was drinking alcohol at a Phi Mu/Delta Chi party and blacked out shortly after midnight.
She woke up around 4:30 a.m. “with a man on top of her,” according to the email. The student said she could not recall anything that happened after midnight and she only had one drink at the party. The email states that similar events happened to four other women who were at the party.
The assaulted woman’s phone disappeared during the party, but it is unclear whether it vanished before or after she blacked out.
The phone was used to take nude photos of her and of male genitalia. The images were later emailed to the woman’s parents and posted to her Twitter account.
According to a Central Michigan University police report, when the student got her phone back, the photo sent to her parents was no longer on her phone.
The report noted that the Twitter post of the photo was deleted shortly after posting. Police contacted Twitter and was told photos deleted off someone’s account could not be recovered.
Initially, the fraternity received a punishment of no recruitment in the Fall, mandatory alcohol education classes, a Sexual Aggression Peer Advocates (SAPA) presentation to the Greek community and the house remain alcohol free indefinitely. They were also recommended to focus on educating the current Delta Chi members on university policies.
The fraternity filed for an appeal because they felt the sanction ordering Delta Chi to be a dry house indefinitely was “too loosely defined” and suspension of recruitment “is not a suitable punishment for any Greek organization.”
The appeals process
Members of the Delta Chi fraternity argued the punishment before the appeals board in September.
As a result, the board handed the fraternity a four-year suspension for violating the student code of conduct, specifically violating the alcohol policy, violations by Registered Student Organizations and violation of university regulations.
Delta Chi objected to the suspension, saying it was too extreme, there was no probation period placed on the fraternity prior to the suspension, the suspension was not consistent with punishments in other similar RSO violations and that, during the appeal, the Office of Student Conduct brought up incidents that occurred since 1998, which violates the appeals procedure.
Section 5.4.10 of the Student Code of Conduct states that the Appeals Board must make its determination based solely on the record of the student’s hearing, facts that are presented to the Appeals Board, and arguments before the Appeals Board and that no additional witnesses, witness statements, or other materials may be introduced during the Appeal.
Delta Chi’s past was argued before the Appeals board by the Office of Student Conduct, which is allowed by the third clause indicated in section 5.4.10.
In September, in a final appeal to the university, Delta Chi sent a letter to Steven Johnson, vice president of Enrollment and Student Services.
In the letter to Johnson, the fraternity does not deny the violations. Rather, it felt the case was handled improperly.
“This decision (the suspension) is not consistent with other decisions made by the Office of Student Conduct for similar alcohol violations of other student organizations,” Delta Chi wrote in its letter to Johnson. “This incident was not hazing, nor was there an injury due to alcohol. There was a small social gathering and the result was a four-year suspension. We feel the punishment far exceeds the crime.”
Delta Chi’s past
The Office of Student Conduct brought up violations that occurred since 1998, and Delta Chi’s long running history of misconduct. Its report included every violation that occurred over the 15 years, the latest being a roster violation in March 2012. The review argued previous corrective actions have had no lasting effect on the fraternity’s behavior.
“The fraternity has had a pattern of misconduct and has been on and off probation for years,” said Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, Tony Voisin.
Delta Chi recommended its punishment include no social functions for the remainder of the 2013-14 year on chapter property, members undergoing alcohol training, completing six hours of community service per member and the fraternity would become a role model for the community.
Failure to adheare to these policies would result in the removal of that person from the fraternity, according to the letter sent to Johnson for the final appeal.
The Office of Student Conduct appealed Delta Chi’s recommended sanctions, saying the fraternity faced similar violations since 1998 and the sanctions failed to have any effect.
“They have spent a majority of their time since 1999 on probation with the university, committing violations during (or) just after and significantly after their probationary status,” said the Office of Student Conduct in its appeal of the sanctions. “It is the belief of this office that the sanctions imposed by the hearing board will not be followed by Delta Chi.”
After reviewing the case, Johnson upheld the four-year suspension, cutting off the university’s recognition of the fraternity. Delta Chi will not be eligible to apply for recognition again until the Fall of 2017 and members of Delta Chi who were part of the fraternity previously are not allowed to be part of it, should the fraternity return to CMU.
Two weeks after the final decision was made by Johnson to uphold the suspension, the assaulted student and another woman reported to the Mount Pleasant Police Department that their car tires were slashed.
The students told police they have been having ongoing problems with Delta Chi and believed one or more students in the fraternity were responsible because of the initial April 19 complaint.
One of the women received a text message from the Delta Chi man under investigation that read, “thanks for ruining my life,” according to the police report.
Timeline of Delta Chi violations
March 1998: Alleged sexual assault during a party on Feb. 27.
October 1999: Place on probation until they achieved a “three star” award.
October 2000: A group of Alpha Sigma Tau women were led to the Malt Shop believing they were meeting alumnae, but were taken to the Delta Chi house and were pressured to drink alcohol from a common source. None of the women were of legal drinking age.
April 2001: A warn letter regarding hazing was issued to the fraternity by the Office of Student Conduct.
February 2002: Four fraternity pledges, all under 21, were abandoned in a field, each with a half gallon of alcohol and told their bottles should be empty by the time they got back to pick them up. Mount Pleasant police found the pledges and one was so intoxicated, he was taken to the county jail. He was later taken to Central Michigan Community Hospital and treated for alcohol poisoning.
November 2002: Several members of Delta Chi entered Carey Hall and assaulted residents of a room.
May 2004: Hazing violation. Circumstances unknown.
November 2005: During a recruitment event, the fraternity degraded other Greek houses on campus promoted drinking alcohol, violating RSO policy.
July 2009: Hazing violation.
April 2011: Hosted a pre-drink party at a location know as “The Alamo” promoted by social media with more than 400 people responding. Not charged with an actual violation due to lack of evidence.
October 2011: Delta Chi hosted a party with a common source of alcohol, no guest list and playing drinking games.
March 2012: Delta Chi failed to report an accurate roster of its members that is required by the university.
Editor’s note: A comment below, attributed to Tom Idema, has been removed after it was brought to our attention that the commenter’s identity was false.