After appealing to the university to be re-recognized in January 2008, the Miami University chapter of Theta Chi is being allowed back on campus to begin spring recruitment efforts.
According to a press release, the chapter was initially sanctioned in April 2006 for having an unofficial gathering at one of their annex houses where alcohol was served to a minor. They were given the opportunity to appeal to the university to be re-recognized in January 2008 and it was then concluded that they would be allowed back on campus.
“Obviously we were very disappointed,” said junior Tom Semans, president of Theta Chi. “(The fraternity members) recognized this as a serious issue and the university took appropriate action. Nobody wants to hear that their fraternity is being sanctioned.”
While under suspension in November 2006, Theta Chi arranged an event at a university facility, despite rules stating this was prohibited. According to a previous article in The Miami Student, the chapter then faced a one-year probationary period until the time when they could appeal for recognition.
“They did not observe proper FIPG (Fraternal Information and Programming Group) Risk Management standards,” said Mike Mayer, associate executive director of Theta Chi’s national headquarters. He added the chapter then went through a membership reorganization process leaving some members on active status and others going to alumni status.
“When (national headquarters) conduct membership reviews, we interview each individual member and assess their contributions to the chapter,” Mayer said. “We’re really proud of the members who have stepped forward to this point and have helped to bring the university back up to good standing with the university.”
Mayer said after the initial sanction by the university, the headquarters decided to allow the chapter to remain on campus and they have been living in the house over the last two years, though they have been on probation.
“Probation means they go through a time period where if any group or individual is found guilty of violating the conduct code, they will be sanctioned even more severely,” said Chris Taylor, associate director of the Office of Ethics and Conflict Resolution in 2006 in a previous article by The Miami Student.
Upon their arrival back, Taylor said if any disruption happens again the consequences could potentially be worse.
Mayer said the fraternity plans to do things differently now that they are back.
“We’ve been working directly with the group throughout their term of suspension to better educate them on our policies and make positive changes,” Mayer said. “A lot of the changes we’ve made over the last two years have to do with the education of the chapter on our policies and how to become a better chapter. They’ve really stepped up to the plate and shown a strong commitment to being a well-run chapter of our fraternity.”
According to Semans, the chapter has come a long way in the past two years.
“(We’ve) learned an important lesson in accountability, and have made it our priority to being all of our standards and rules in line with those that are expected from us by Miami,” Semans said.
He said all of the members have been through alcohol awareness and risk management training. This is part of their new member education program moving forward.
Semans added that Theta Chi is very excited to be back on campus.
“(We’re excited) to participate in all of the events that are available through the Cliff Alexander Office that were not open to us throughout our suspension,” he said.
According to Mayer, it’s still to early to tell what their recruitment numbers will be like, though they are expecting a successful year.
“This experience has afforded us the opportunity to reflect on their fraternity values and ideals thus helping them to identify those same qualities in the new members they have recruited,” Semans said.