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UA News
Dean pulls Delta Chi recognition

By Cyndy Cole
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday August 26, 2002

Dean of Students Melissa Vito stripped UA recognition from Delta Chi fraternity in May for numerous hazing activities reported last August and September. The violations included paddling, furnishing of alcohol to underage students, "Roman Chair" calisthenics in which pledges were made to squat in the position of chairs for extended periods of time and yelling at and ridiculing pledges.

With loss of UA recognition, Delta Chi cannot participate in homecoming or recruitment during rush and cannot co-sponser activities like Spring Fling until at least 2004. The fraternity is no longer listed among fraternities on UA Web sites or recruitment literature and cannot participate in awards ceremonies, Vito said.

"We really have a zero-tolerance policy for organizations that haze," Vito said. "It puts students at risk physically and emotionally. In this particular case, non-recognition was what we had to do."

An act that contributes to substantial risk of potential physical injury, mental harm or degradation, or causes physical injury, harm or degradation is considered hazing under the university's hazing policy. The policy was strengthened under a state law making hazing illegal, which was passed last year.

Delta Chi fraternity had it's own hazing officer of sorts, Vito said.

Delta Chi owns its house, which UA cannot close, though associate dean Veda Kowalski pushed to remove the house's recognition for five years, said Delta Chi president Sean Harding.

Harding declined to comment on the dean of students' report about the hazing activities that had reportedly taken place in August and September 2001.

Vito also suspended Pi Kappa Alpha last fall for reported fights involving members of the fraternity.

Anonymous complaints of Delta Chi hazing were investigated for two semesters before the recommendation to pull UA recognition was made, Kowalski said.

The fraternity lost its recognition and was declared inactive by its international chapter in 1994 for "safety violations."

Vito said the 1994-1995 violations also included hazing.

A female student reported that she was raped by a Delta Chi member in the fraternity house in 1994. Another female student reported she was raped in by a Delta Chi member in 1991.

Between this August and last, the fraternity has cleaned house in a major way, throwing out 25 members who either did not complete an interview regarding hazing or did not want to be part of the change to stop hazing, said Michael Woolbright, president of the Tucson Delta Chi Alumni Board Inc. and international treasurer.

"We had a lot of bad apples in the house and we had to get rid of those guys," Harding said.

Some of the dismissed members repeatedly came home drunk and broke things, Harding said.

Woolbright said the hazing amounted to "some yelling at the guys and some stupid stuff," including pledges who had food thrown on them, but added that these claims were not substantiated in his investigation of the fraternity.

"The big issue is in Delta Chi's mind is not what happened, but how to prevent it from happening again," Woolbright said.

By early October, when UA called Delta Chi, 25 of Delta Chi's approximately 100 local members had been asked to leave the fraternity and go on inactive status. They may return as alumni, but not as students.

"Delta Chi does not tolerate hazing," Woolbright said. "There is zero tolerance. If you disagree with it, here's the door."

Woolbright defines hazing as anything you wouldn't do to your mother.

But the bigger problem, Woolbright said, is that hazing is accepted at UA.

"We weren't the only house to be brought up on hazing charges," Harding said. "We were the only one to lose recognition."

A mother of one of the boys that Woolbright interviewed last fall and took part in dismissing defended hazing, saying that it helped make her son stronger.

While that mother may have been an exception, Woolbright said hazing was widespread at the UA.

Woolbright said his isn't the only fraternity who engaged in hazing just the only one that engaged in hazing, got caught and is committing unlimited resources to stop hazing ,like the creation of an alumni board of trustees, a parent's club and strong student-alumni ties that help Delta Chi members get jobs after graduation.

"Delta Chi is going to change the culture of the greek system. We're going to show all the other fraternities that you can have a successful fraternity without hazing," said Woolbright.

The Interfraternity Council did not return phone calls.

Delta Chi can reapply for UA recognition in 2004, but would be on a probationary period if the fraternity was re-awarded recognition, Vito said.

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