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Dartmouth Frat Suspended

  • Theta Delta Chi fraternity at Dartmouth College has been placed on probation following allegations of misconduct. The Theta Delta Chi house is on West Wheelock Street in Hanover Friday, November 15, 2013.<br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Theta Delta Chi fraternity at Dartmouth College has been placed on probation following allegations of misconduct. The Theta Delta Chi house is on West Wheelock Street in Hanover Friday, November 15, 2013.
    (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Theta Delta Chi fraternity at Dartmouth College has been placed on probation following allegations of misconduct. The Theta Delta Chi house is on West Wheelock Street in Hanover Friday, November 15, 2013.<br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Theta Delta Chi fraternity at Dartmouth College has been placed on probation following allegations of misconduct. The Theta Delta Chi house is on West Wheelock Street in Hanover Friday, November 15, 2013.
    (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Theta Delta Chi fraternity at Dartmouth College has been placed on probation following allegations of misconduct. The Theta Delta Chi house is on West Wheelock Street in Hanover Friday, November 15, 2013.<br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • Theta Delta Chi fraternity at Dartmouth College has been placed on probation following allegations of misconduct. The Theta Delta Chi house is on West Wheelock Street in Hanover Friday, November 15, 2013.<br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

Hanover — Dartmouth College officials have suspended Theta Delta Chi fraternity through the rest of the school year and placed the organization on probation until June 2016 because of alcohol and drug violations.

The probation was announced earlier this week, just days before Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon is scheduled to talk Monday to the faculty about campus life, including issues such as student safety and expanding social opportunities, according to a letter he sent to professors last month.

Theta Delta Chi’s suspension came a month after Dartmouth’s Beta Alpha Omega fraternity was placed on “immediate temporary suspension” after internal fraternity emails were leaked to Gawker, a news and gossip website.

During Theta Delta Chi’s seven-month suspension, the fraternity must cease all activity, such as chapter meetings, social events and new member activity, Dartmouth spokesman Justin Anderson said.

Students can still live in the house, which is on West Wheelock Street near the Dartmouth green, but they cannot host parties. The only activities the organization can participate in is educational requirements imposed by the college, such as revamping the fraternity’s mission and goals and ensuring it is in compliance with the college’s safety policies.

From June 2014 to June 2015, the fraternity will be placed on social probation, which means that the organization can resume many of its activities, including new member recruitment, but it cannot host parties where alcohol is served.

A year of “college probation” will follow through June 2016, which means the fraternity can participate in all activities, including hosting parties, but if the fraternity runs afoul during probation, it is more likely to receive a harsher sanction from the college than if it was not on probation.

Anderson would not elaborate on the fraternity’s misconduct, except to say that the violations were related to the college’s alcohol and drug policy, as well as a neighborhood noise complaint that was addressed by Hanover police.

David Brooks, who identifies himself as a Theta Delta Chi brother, wrote a column in the college’s student newspaper, The Dartmouth, that outlined the infractions committed by the fraternity.

Brooks column says that one charge was for the distribution of alcohol to an underage person. The fraternity pleaded guilty to a violation of accomplice to underage possession, according to Brooks’ column.

Theta Delta Chi was indicted by a Grafton County Superior Court grand jury in June for allegedly serving alcohol to a 20-year-old minor. The case is now closed.

Anderson would not comment about whether the suspension was related to this charge.

Another allegation, Brooks wrote, was connected to a fire alarm activation, which allegedly went off because of “heavy marijuana smoke” on the third floor.

Also at issue was a noise complaint on May 2, Brooks wrote. Hanover police asked the house to control its music volume and later returned and issued a ticket for noise.

The Dartmouth sanctions against the fraternity were determined following a hearing by the Organizational Adjudication Committee, which is made up of three students, two faculty and two staff members, Anderson said.

Dartmouth has 17 fraternities, 11 sororities and 3 co-ed frats.

Theta Delta Chi and Beta Alpha Omega are the only fraternities currently suspended, Anderson said. And while he noted that it is unusual to have two suspensions so close together, he said this process of investigating organizations is common.

“What is normal is that whenever there are allegations of violations, we will investigate, and we have a standard process for all of these instances,” Anderson said.

The president of Theta Delta Chi did not respond to a request for comment, and no one answered the door of the fraternity on Friday afternoon.

The fraternity is a three-story brick building that sits next to the St. Thomas Episcopal Church. A few Keystone Light beer cans were scattered along the side of the building.

Beta Alpha Omega, the fraternity that was put on temporary suspension in October, is still under the sanction , Anderson said, pending the outcome of a hearing by the Organizational Adjudication Committee.

In October, Anderson said college administrators did an initial review of the emails that were obtained by Gawker, and the college suspected that fraternity members might have participated in behavior that threatened physical harm, engaged in hazing and provided alcohol to minors.

Hanlon, who was a member of the Alpha Delta fraternity when he graduated from Dartmouth in 1977, has made a point since he took his post this summer to emphasize the need for campus safety. At his inauguration, he took a firm stance against sexual violence and high-risk drinking and spoke about the need to have a safe, inclusive community.

Ismael Vallejo, a senior and a member of Zeta Psi, said his fraternity hosted Hanlon this week for a discussion, and he said Hanlon didn’t seem like the type to “drop the hammer” on the Greek system, but he did emphasize concerns about hazing.

“He advised us if there is hazing going on, to try to shut it down immediately,” Vallejo said.

Many students on campus Friday said they didn’t know enough about Theta Delta Chi’s suspension and the nature of the offenses to judge whether the punishment was fair.

But Vallejo said he thought the sanctions are unfair and unjustified, and that the college is trying to send a message to other fraternities.

“I feel their probation is a little excessive, and it seems they are trying to make an example of (Theta Delta Chi),” Vallejo said. “If one person was acting out, then I don’t think the whole fraternity should suffer until 2016.”

Sarah Brubeck can be reached at sbrubeck@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.