The first of two presentations by interested fraternities, as part of the college’s new Greek
organization application process, began last Monday with the Chi Phi Rho Chapter.
The group presented in front of the 18-member Lafayette College Recognition Committee for
over an hour and 15 minutes, including the question and answer part.
The committee consists of faculty, administrators and students both affiliated and non-affiliated
with Greek Life, and will submit a recommendation to Vice President of Campus Life Annette
Diorio next Friday.
Delta Tau Delta, the other interest group formed at the college, will present on Monday. The
committee’s recommendation will be to either accept one of the groups to become a
“colony”—the next step in the application process to be recognized by the college—or none.
During the first part of the night, the group spoke about their commitment to being “true
gentlemen” and the values of their organization, along with their goals to be recognized by the
college, to return to their house, Vallamont, to contribute to the Lafayette community and do
community service, as well as to carry out their unique three-day member education program.
Questions after the presentation were asked about the group’s three-day member education
program, for clarity on what it means to be a “true gentleman,” and the group’s commitment to
After the questions, the committee went into a closed-door meeting.
“We discussed our impressions and reactions to the presentation itself,” said Associate Director
of Residence Life and Advisor to Fraternities and Sororities Dan Ayala, a member of the
committee. “So, highlights of things that we heard that were of interest, positive points, things
that were of concern, things that the organization can improve upon.”
He added that the rest of the time was spent so the group could fill out evaluation forms on the
presentation. The closed-door session lasted for over an hour, he said.
The presenters agreed that one of the toughest questions of the night was Dean of Intercultural
Development and Campus Life representative on the committee John McKnight’s question about
He read a section of Chi Phi application to the committee on diversity, “While Chi Phi’s
eligibility standards seek to attract the best and the brightest students, the standards will
periodically be reviewed to determine if any of these standards are diminishing the success we
seek in the realm of diversity.”
McKnight then asked, “I’m just wondering why you think of those as being at odds…the idea of
diversity maybe meaning that the standards have to be diminished in order to get the best and
In an interview, President of Chi Phi Rho Chapter and one of the leaders in the presentation
Michael Altman said Chi Phi’s members are diverse in their interests, backgrounds and the
different places they come from. He listed members that come from single-parent households
and two-parent households, socioeconomic diversity, the range of places across the country their
members come from and different interests from art to football.
College liaison and Chi Phi Rho Chapter advisor Jerome Blakeslee ‘70 added in an interview
that when deciding who can join the fraternity they look for “the character of the individual.”
“The heart and soul of my question was to sort of access their willingness to engage in that
dialogue with me about how to see diversity as a benefit,” McKnight said in an interview.
McKnight would not comment specifically on whether or not he was satisfied with the group’s
answer to his question, but did say he felt like they did a good job in talking about different
forms of diversity in the presentation other than the “Big Eight” (ability, age, ethnicity, gender,
race, religion, sexual orientation and socio-economic status), like having a mix between athletes
and non-athletes in the group.
McKnight could not comment on the closed discussions of the committee.
According to Ayala, one of the main things that the committee is looking for in a national
organization that wishes to colonize on campus is that their policies on diversity, inclusion and
non-discrimination are in line with the college’s policies.
Although still attempting to be recognized by the college after being kicked off in 2005 due to
alcohol violations, Chi Phi Rho Chapter is recognized nationally. The group currently has 24
members and 11 new members.
Both Diorio and Blakeslee confirmed that Chi Phi will be given their old house back if they
receive recognition as a colony by the college.
The contract with the college to use the house is up by the end of this semester. If Chi Phi does
not pass to the next step of the process next Friday, Blakeslee said the organization still plans to
work out another arrangement with the college to use Vallamont.
President of the DTD interest group Dan Lupia ‘16 (Full disclosure: Lupia is our copyeditor, but
he did not copyedit this article) said the 28-member group is preparing for their Monday
Lupia said that he does not feel there is animosity between the Chi Phi and DTD interest groups,
although only one of them, if any, will be allowed, can move forward in the Greek life
reapplication process at this time.