Phi Delta Theta violates suspension
Fraternity under WU investigation for hosting unallowed social events
Washington University has launched an investigation against Phi Delta Theta for violating the terms of its deferred suspension by hosting unsanctioned social events.
The fraternity was placed on a year-long deferred suspension—which gave the chapter the opportunity to work with Washington University to avoid losing official University recognition—in December 2017 following a separate investigation surrounding allegations of a hazing incident that occurred in spring 2017.
Multiple sources confirmed to Student Life that Phi Delta Theta hosted social events throughout the semester, both in the chapter’s on-campus house and at off-campus locations, which violates the terms of the fraternity’s suspension. Events detailed include a Mardi Gras event in the Phi Delta Theta house and various “pregame” events, including renting party buses to go off campus, which some claim took place as often as once per week.
Additionally, students posed in front of the Phi Delta Theta house wearing sweatshirts sold by members of the chapter that say “we’re not suspended; you’re suspended,” a reference to a statement students made to reporters after a fraternity pledge died following a Florida State University hazing incident.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Rob Wild confirmed multiple, anonymous sources have raised similar concerns regarding Phi Delta Theta’s violation of its suspension with the administration. However, in order to preserve the integrity of the process, he was unable to comment on a timeline or on details of the investigation.
“It’s important that we investigate everything thoroughly to understand the full scope of the incident,” Wild said. “The University takes this matter—and the information provided to us—very seriously, and we are currently reviewing the information that has been brought to our attention.”
Sanctions levied by the University at the time of the December 2017 suspension prohibit members from participating in any chapter, fraternity or University events as representatives of Phi Delta Theta, including hosting social events, engaging in philanthropy activities, intramural sports, new member activities, chapter meetings or recruitment processes. Assistant Director of Sorority and Fraternity Life Austin Sandoval-Sweeney communicated these terms to all Washington University sorority and fraternity presidents in a December 2017 email.
While Phi Delta Theta appealed the results of the investigation—including both the investigation’s findings and the sanctions imposed by the Office of Conduct and Community Standards— after winter break, the results of the appeal are still pending.
Some students expressed concerns with the University’s investigation process, including its lack of transparency and slow-moving approach.
“I just don’t understand why nothing is happening yet. I feel like the University has a lot of evidence and enough information to do something about it,” a student familiar with the situation said.
Sandoval-Sweeney, however, encouraged students who are concerned about the process to start a dialogue with the University.
“If students have questions about the process, I encourage them to reach out. And if I don’t have the specific and detailed answers, I will work to get those answers.” Sandoval-Sweeney said. “It’s so important that information is just out there and students feel like they know what’s going on with this topic on our campus.”