COLUMN: A lesson learned?
Family means sticking together, no matter what.
Then again, maybe there is an exception.
If there's a lesson to be learned from Delta Chi, it's when to exercise that exception. The unbreakable bond of brothers and sisters in the Greek community can also be its Achilles heel.
When the integrity of the entire group is in jeopardy, it's time to kick the trash to the curb or stink up the entire house – and in this case, the community as well.
Instead, Delta Chi never made the decisions it needed to avoid exile. It didn't take responsibility for its behavior. It didn't make a proactive effort to protect the organization.
It still hasn't – hence the reason for our investigation.
During this week's coverage, members took to social media to claim innocence and suggest the stories were fabricated. They attempted to hide the coverage by removing stacks of newspapers from newsstands and businesses around Mount Pleasant. Now their actions are receiving national attention.
Even more repulsive are the attempts to joke about a situation that stems from a sexual assault report.
I would like to offer an apology to the women who were negatively affected both by the Delta Chi violations and our continued coverage this week. What happened to you is inexcusable.
As for the "underground fraternity," society loves a sincere, honest apology. Such acknowledgement shows maturity and a dedication to improvement.
Instead, they continue to play the victim card. Members complain their punishment isn’t fair. They continue to reject the sanctions given to them by the university.
From the beginning, the fraternity has received bad guidance.
Their advisor, Todd Levitt, assured them they were victims in a broken, corrupt system. Their national chapter told them to keep quiet and lay low, avoiding any responsible effort to salvage the fraternity at Central Michigan University.
While members were fending off criticism alone, the opportunity to take responsibility for their violations, own up to their troubled past and offer a public apology came and went.
Although some Greeks stand by members of the exiled fraternity, many have distanced themselves in hope of moving past the negative attention.
Several groups have expressed appreciation for the public separation from those soiling the Greek name. They have requested their organizations be left out of stories involving Delta Chi to avoid affiliation.
So, can Delta Chi be a lesson learned at CMU?
Can it be the last member removed from the Greek family portrait?
The ousted fraternity does not reflect Greek life.
When I look at the Greek community, I see lasting relationships, tireless fundraising and young adults trying to make the most of their college years.
More than anything though, I see the ability to better CMU and the city of Mount Pleasant.
This year's Greek Week showed the amazing feat fraternities and sororities can accomplish when they work together. In a matter of five days, the group raised more than $30,000 for Special Olympics Michigan.
Meanwhile, Pi Sigma Epsilon was down in Florida claiming first place in a national sales competition for the second consecutive year.
Imagine a future where this is the only kind of news surrounding Greek Life. Where "Animal House" stereotypes take a backseat to professionalism, philanthropy and a fun, yet safe, community.
Take pride in the accomplishments of your brothers and sisters, but also take responsibility when someone steps out of line. Likewise, when you jeopardize your group's name, both on campus and nationally, take responsibility and any consequences for the sake of your family.
Initiative breeds transparency.
Transparency breeds trust.
Trust breeds community.