News / University

COLUMN: Guilty of silence

At one point, the name Delta Chi meant freedom, character, justice and education. Today it carries a bit more baggage at Central Michigan University.

Throughout this week, Central Michigan Life will publish stories regarding both the fraternity and the Greek community.

Although some might interpret the series as the newspaper resurrecting old news, we haven’t stopped reporting on this controversy since September 2013.

The delay in follow up is due to a continued lack of cooperation, mostly from members of the fraternity formerly known as Delta Chi.

CM Life hosted several meetings with members, the majority of which were off the record at their request. Several answers given by those members, however, contradicted those given by other members and university officials.

Getting the story straight has been a challenge.

Ignoring it would mean failing to inform the community that the student charged by the university with an alleged sexual assault was suspended from CMU for a semester, has since returned to campus, and remains a member of Delta Chi.

It would allow people who claim to have “inside information” to continue misleading the community.

It would allow liars to paint prettier pictures than reality would suggest.

Delta Chi was suspended for code of conduct violations involving alcohol. Its pattern of trouble dating back 15 years provided evidence of failed past sanctions and led officials to ask for a more severe punishment.

I understand the violations might have been at the hands of a few, and a group has been punished for those actions. That same group, however, hasn’t publically taken responsibility for the actions of their brothers and continues to defy the university.

No matter how many tantrums lawyer Todd Levitt throws on Twitter, members of Delta Chi are not victims.

They have, however, failed to salvage respect on campus. The group hasn’t taken much initiative beyond a letter appearing in CM Life.

Regardless of suggestions that a rape never occurred, one fact is clear: An incapacitated man or woman is incapable of giving consent for sex.

Period.

As a fraternity, Delta Chi was found guilty of an alcohol violation. It is guilty of a troubled past and a failure to learn from previous sanctions.

It is also guilty of silence.

Taking responsibility could have gone a long way to regain trust from the university.

Instead, members of the “underground fraternity” refuse to communicate with the campus community, hiding behind no-comments and their national chapter.

President Zach Ernat met with CM Life staff several times, assuring us of missing details that paint the fraternity brothers as the victims, though he never backed his comments with fact.

He denied the students involved in the sickening April 19 accusations were even members of the fraternity – points later denied by university officials and another Delta Chi member.

Members of the group continue to act selfishly. They refuse to acknowledge the sanctions given to them by CMU. They continue to recruit. They complain about having to take down the letters from their house.

I will credit senior Jeff LaHaye for his forthright honesty and willingness to go on record regarding our series.

As the only brother willing to address the fraternity’s problems, he represents a hope that some members do want to do right, but fear the response they might receive.

We would have preferred a one-and-done story in January. Instead, we chased leads and questioned sources, reaching out several times only to have been pushed away.

In this case, the actions of a few have dragged a pair of letters, several brothers and an entire community through the mud, and continue to do so.

29 Comments

  1. Guilty of silence? You personally are dragging the name of Delta Chi through the mud. You have no idea what is going on. They don’t respond to you because they know that you will just twist their words like you’ve done ever so eloquently. You even twisted their silence into tailor made lies. You sound like the judge, jury, and executioner. This is America. That isn’t supposed to happen in our system of justice. We have something called due process of law that is clearly being ignored by greek life officials who have a personal agenda. If I didn’t know any better I would say that Tom Idema personally wrote this article and told you you could have the credit for it.

    -GFY

    • Annoyed Chip says:

      Why can’t you get it through our thick skull that there is a difference between a legal proceeding and university disciplinary hearing!!!?!?

  2. Who cares??? I don’t understand why cmlife keeps bringing up old news that doesn’t matter. It clearly states that no sexual assault happened. To me, it looks like cmlife is trying to recreate a story in order to get more views for their website to create more ad revenue. This is ridiculous.

    • Rumors of a sexual assault don’t matter? What is wrong with you? If there’s even rumors of it, then it most likely happened. Being drunk = not being able to consent. False reports are a statistical minority as well.

  3. The only reason that CM Life continues to go after Delta Chi is because they have a shred of “evidence” that gives them the ability to, once again, shame Greek Life. Our entire community has moved on, and you people are the only ones dragging our names through the mud. Our community would appreciate it if you kindly drop this, since there is no other information that is going to come of light by writing articles for a three day series. All you’ll gain from that is backlash. Not to mention that non-greeks commit these same allegations all the time, and are not reprimanded. We understand that we stand for higher morals and are a part of something bigger, but it does not mean that our groups should be put on a pedestal and punished more heavily. Seriously, no one wants to hear about this anymore. Stop.

  4. I am very pleased CMLife has not let this issue be swept under the rug.

    Campus leaders are people who acknowledge their faults and actively try to change them. Campus leaders don’t cower behind technicalities of suspension or try to point the finger elsewhere. You can deny “allegations” but you can’t deny your reputation. If it’s not deserved, why not prove it instead of whine about it. Actively try to change it, prove that you’re the leaders or “true gentlemen” you claim to be. I honestly have been greatly disappointed in the silence of the whole Greek community. This is an issue that could have been a turning point for them all, instead of enforcing their stereotype.

    • “Turning point for them all”

      Thank you for lumping all greeks into one.
      It’s like we’re not even individual organizations, much less individual people.

    • Broaden_Your_Mind says:

      “a turning point for them all”

      Thank you for lumping all Greeks together.
      It’s nice to know that by joining a Greek organization we lose all right to individuality.

      FYI; there are different types of greeks such as Multi-Cultural Greek Organizations, Academic Greek Organizations, Honorary Greek Organizations, and yes even Social Greek Organizations.
      There are also different chapters of those organization. Just because all you see are letters of the Greek Alphabet doesn’t make all Greeks the same, nor does it lump us all together.

  5. I’m ashamed to say CM life is my universities newspaper. You’ve done nothing but been bias the whole time you have “covered” this issue. All you’re doing is feeding lies to students on campus and people give into it because you’re giving out what you think is “believable” information. Maybe none of delta chi wants to talk to you because all you have been doing is beating a dead horse, some are trying to graduate and start their lives and enjoy their last couple of weeks at CMU but they can’t because whats suppose to be a “supportive community” is constantly bashing them. Grow up. Write about something positive for once.

    • You clearly don’t understand the point of a newspaper. They are there to inform the community about happenings going on in said community. As much as they would love to be in a community in which all there is to report is good news, unfortunately, Mount Pleasant seems to spit out nothing but negativity. And when negative things happen, those are the stories that are most important to have coverage of. What if nobody had bothered to cover the professor last year who was found with child porn and had instead reported about how well the baseball team was doing? It just doesn’t make sense.

      • Stellar idea! Let’s all put the blinders on, think nothing but happy thoughts and wish the bad stuff away—Always the best strategy for resolving problems.

        Hey, Peter Pan, Never Land is calling…

      • The point of the newspaper is not to harass fellow CMU students either.

  6. Harassment, intimidation, break-ins leading to a security system installment at the Phi Mu house, and being told not to speak out—are just a few of the situations Phi Mu dealt with and continue to deal with because no one wants to wreck their good time with the truth—let’s blame the victim, that’s much easier and then no one has to sprain their brain thinking about anything remotely serious. And CMU Life could have worked harder to bring both sides too light earlier this year instead of adding to Phi Mu’s problems. Either way, you’re too little, too late.

  7. It is very brave of CM Life to address this whole affair that HAS NOT been clarified or very well documented, especially since Delta Chi’s lawyer/advisor uses legalese scare tactics to keep people from asking questions.

    You don’t need a lawyer to know the difference between what is right and wrong. Delta Chi as a whole behaved badly, through their actions AND through their silence. They don’t deserve those letters anymore, they’ve tarnished their reputation and have no one to blame but themselves.

    • Trying to say nobody needs a lawyer to tell from right or wrong is the complete opposite approach our country tries to have. INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.

      • Annoyed Chip says:

        This. Was. Not. A. Legal. Case.
        It was a disciplinary hearing. If you got suspended in high school did you get to hire a lawyer to represent you to the school board? No.
        Same goes for university.
        Why is this so hard for people to understand.

  8. For the record, not all of our interviews were off the record. For legal reasons I asked you for permission to record our meetings, and you gave me permission willingly. Those interviews are on record. Those interviews will be exposed at a later date.

  9. Column: Silence is Golden A proverbial saying used in certain circumstances where saying nothing is the most preferred choice. Perhaps Delta Chi’s alleged silence is a result of the badgering and irresponsible reporting done by cmLife that continues to “drag a pair of letters, several brothers and an entire community through the mud.” cmLife prints in the gray area were rhetoric is riddled with opinions in the guise of hard news. Is this because the Delta Chi community does not respond in the fashion that cmLife thinks it should?

    This article, in addition to previous articles, reads more like the justice department and not a newspaper that embraces a journalistic code of ethics. Perhaps getting “the story straight has been a challenge” is not due to the presumed silence, but has more to do with cmLife’s inability to embrace journalistic principals such as truthfulness, accuracy and objectivity than Delta Chi’s voice.

    To refer to some members as liars and misleading the community, and referring to the past to state that Delta Chi has not “learned its lesson” borders on defamation. It sounds more like a personal vendetta the writer and Greek life officials have against Delta Chi. Instead of repeated executions, be responsible and move in the direction of healing for Greek life. This needs to take place to make Central a better place for all.

    • the greek life office has nothing to do with this. student conduct was responsible for this decision, not the greek life office. they are two different offices.

  10. The only thing sickening about this situation is CM Life’s pathetic attempt to keep this story alive. You’re bias to this issue is so blatant that your newspaper lost any semblance of credibility you had left after the first three articles.

  11. So this is what CM-Life has come to. Is there really nothing else to report on besides a story that has been long dead. It’s in the past. Frat on Brothers

  12. Frat on!

  13. What is happening is against the laws our country created. CMlife continues to harass the brothers at Delta Chi about a accusation that had no legal structure. No evidence and no investigation clearly shows there was not such a crime committed. Now CMlife looks like a student ran newspaper trying to gain publicity and beat a horse that is already dead, and in the grave. Quit making Tom Idema’s vendetta against the Delta Chi boys a thing. How sad is it that the person in charge of greek life was never even involved in a Fraternity while he was a student. The accusations are false in every sense of the legal world. Nobody can be prosecuted for matter of opinion… not what our country was built on.

    • I wish people would realize that Tom Idema is not in charge of fraternities and sororities. There are two dedicated people who work within the Student Activities and Involvement office (Scott Courter and Alex Kennedy) who work to IMPROVE our community. Tom hasn’t worked with Greeks for nearly two years. The Student Conduct Office is also completely separate from the SAI and the FSL Department.

  14. If you don’t want your name shamed don’t do shameful things or don’t even give reason to suspect you of those acts. Sexual assault is a huge thing that needs to be addressed and I’m so tired of listening to Delta Chi complain that their “image” has been compromised by CM Life. No…you all did that to yourselves.

  15. An organization’s Nationals can influence whether or not a certain chapter will speak with press or not. If Delta Chi’s Nationals suggested that it’s members reply with no comment to the press, including cmLife, then that’s what they’re probably going to do. Just because you’re the University’s paper doesn’t give you full rights to report on the details of every student organization, much less every student.

    I don’t believe that what was done last April was just or right, however, it’s been over a year. There’s definitely more proactive ways to bring light to topics such as excessive alcohol consumption and sexual assault.

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