IFC condemns Phi Delta Theta, works toward positive fraternity culture

| Editor-in-Chief

Following the permanent suspension of Phi Delta Theta, Washington University’s Interfraternity Council released a statement expressing its disapproval of the actions taken by Phi Delt members and advocating for further training for all fraternity members.

In the statement, shared with Student Life by IFC president and senior Peter Rakita Sunday, the Interfraternity Council (IFC) objects to Phi Delt’s behavior, from the fraternity’s initial temporary suspension for hazing to its violation of the suspension’s terms.

“By not respecting the terms of their suspension and violating those terms throughout the semester, [Phi Delt] showed a lack of respect for the school’s administration, the Greek community and the Wash. U. community as a whole,” the statement reads. “Their actions were unacceptable and have no place in fraternity life at Wash. U.”

Sophomore and IFC Director of Social Justice Carter Hirschhorn said that IFC chose to make a statement on Phi Delt’s permanent suspension both because of its direct impact on Greek life and because the fraternity’s actions highlight cultural issues within the Greek community.

“We found that it was something that we needed to address as a community, because while the firearm and the hazing and whatnot are two separate issues, they both address different overlying cultural issues that do occur on our campus,” Hirschhorn said. “In addition to speaking to those incidents, we wanted to also speak to the fact that these are issues we’re addressing outside and show people that this is something that we take seriously and something that we are trying to improve for the future.”

According to IFC, the governing body hopes to combat the “toxic and hyper masculine” culture of fraternities through initiating trainings within fraternities’ new member periods. IFC is partnering with the Relationship & Sexual Violence Prevention Center to bring Green Dot trainings into new member education and have Leaders in Interpersonal Violence Education trainings in chapters each semester. IFC also hopes to instate social justice chairs within individual chapters, as well as work with Teaching Racial Understanding Through Honesty, to establish trainings on masculinity and power for new members.

“We are taking more than just a statement…we are taking active steps to adjusting this issue,” Hirschhorn said. “Even though it was one specific fraternity, it affects different cultures.”

In addition to the IFC’s letter, Washington University shared more details related to Phi Delt’s permanent suspension. From late January through Feb. 16, the University received anonymous information—including videos and pictures—demonstrating that Phi Delt had violated the terms of its temporary suspension.

Based on this evidence—and separate from the discovery of a semiautomatic weapon in the fraternity house—the University made the decision to permanently suspend Phi Delt, which was announced Feb. 20.

“Essentially, there are two really distinct issues that we were considering. One was the violation under the temporary suspension, and [the University] had already determined that the chapter was in violation of the temporary suspension and for that reason was going to be permanently suspended when the gun was found in the house,” Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Jill Friedman said. “So for us, it almost becomes unnecessary to take disciplinary action because…the chapter was already going to be permanently suspended.”

Phi Delta Theta members declined to comment for this story.

Additional reporting by Danielle Drake-Flam