Committee delays final decision
After members of the Delta Tau Delta interest group presented to the college on Monday, the committee in charge of deciding whether they can come back to campus found they needed more time to make a decision than was originally planned.
Some members of the 18-member committee pushed for the delay to be able to adequately address concerns with the process.
DTD’s presentation was the second in the college’s first year of the new recognition policy that aims to evaluate fraternities that wish to establish a colony on campus. The decision whether DTD or another applying fraternity, Chi Phi, or neither, would return was expected to be announced today.
At press time, another meeting of the Recognition Committee is in its planning stages. They are expected to meet next week.
“Given that we just heard the presentation from DTD this week, I just think that the deadline to try to make a decision by Friday is really condensed,” Advisor to Fraternities and Sororities and member of the committee Dan Ayala said. At press time, members of the committee are struggling to find a third time to meet, which was not originally planned, according to committee members.
Members of the DTD interest group presented to an open meeting of the Recognition Committee, articulating the policies and ideals of their intended national organization and alignment with Lafayette standards.
After talk about the national DTD organization, they answered questions from the committee on inclusiveness, member strength and why they chose DTD. The committee went into closed session and discussed the presentation after the questions.
Ayala said the intent of delaying the decision was to ensure the decision could be well thought through.
“If we were to put [a fraternity] forward, we want to be able to say, ‘Alright here are the reasons of why the college is going to support the decision,’” Ayala said. “At the same time we want to be able to provide the one that wouldn’t be selected with the same kind of rationale, so that that is good constructive feedback.”
If a fraternity does not succeed in this application to recognition by the college, they will be put on a waitlist and can reapply next year. President of the DTD Interest Group Dan Lupia ‘16 (Full disclosure: Lupia is our copyeditor. He did not edit this article) said the delay was unfortunate, but he and Chi Phi President Mike Altman agreed with the rationale.
“I’m pretty disappointed,” Lupia said. “You want to get an answer a soon as you possibly can, but I think it’s great that the school is taking its time.”
“It as a good thing that they need more time,” Altman ’16 said. “It means they’re going to make an informed decision, get everyone together in the same room and have a conversation about it.”
The recognition committee is meant to judge whether the applicant groups have adequately met Lafayette’s requirements as set for in the recognition policy of last year. Of the 18-member of the committee, there are five faculty or staff members, 12 Greek-affiliated students and Barker Carlock ‘17, a representative from Student Life.
Ayala, who was on the committee that created the recognition policy established last year, said it’s impossible to remove all bias from the members, but encouraged members to approach the decision objectively.
“I think it’s important that there are representatives from all different areas of campus, because obviously this decision is going to affect all parts of campus,” Ayala said. “I think everyone should have a seat at the table to help determine this.”
John Walker ‘17 participates in the committee as the student government representative, and is also in a fraternity. He said he found that the committee may not fully represent what it is meant to.
“It’s interesting to see how it’s not more student involvement,” Walker said. “I understand why they have the Greek presidents and Inter-fraternity council president and Pan-Hellenic Council president, and Barker and I, but the fact that there’s no expansion beyond that sort of boggles my mind.”
President of fraternity Phi Kappa Psi Corey McKenna ’16, a member of the committee, declined to comment on the composition of the committee. Vice President of Campus Life Annette Diorio said that the purpose of the committee is to be able to sufficiently judge the potential new fraternities, and that because of that it was not representative of the student body.
“Most institutions that [the recognition policy makers] looked at, that process was really governed by the Inter-Fraternity Council and Pan-Hellenic groups,” Diorio said, noting that Lafayette’s policy broadened the student perspective compared to their policies.
In the closed session after each group’s presentation, the committee filled out an evaluation form that judged the groups on factors relating to their national organization’s policies.
“[The evaluation form] assesses I think the ability of organization to articulate the requirements that Lafayette expects and articulates what the national group represents and how it would basically act if it were to be recognized,” Ayala said.
Walker said he is concerned that the evaluation forms may not have addressed the criteria that he thought should be judged in an incoming fraternity.
“In all honesty, I did not expect [those factors] to be on the evaluation,” Walker said. “I expected it to be more focused on what they could bring to campus. The evaluations were more focused towards what their national does, rather than their potential additions to campus.”
Carlock shared similar concerns that no one on the committee really knew what the criteria for evaluation were, adding that the committee first met an hour before the first presentation.
Walker noted that he gives credit to those who spent time a year ago deciding upon this recognition process by seeing what other schools do in this, also adding that he sees this as a learning process. McKenna said the evaluation was what one would expect of such a measure.
“[The evaluation form] is more about what the group is like,” McKenna said. “You could even make yourself a list of things you feel Greek life should do. If your wrote those things down, I bet that would be pretty stinking close to what the form is going to hit.”
According to Ayala, this next meeting will encourage discussion comparing each applicant group, whereas previous meetings attempted to discuss each grow independently. Ayala hopes a fraternity will come out of this process, but notes that nothing, including accepting no fraternity, is off the table.
“I really wished that it wasn’t us versus Chi Phi … because I think pitting us against each other didn’t really help. I think we’re both great organizations anyway. I think it…just makes everything more tense on campus,” Lupia said.
If a fraternity is recognized by the college in this process, it will be the first addition of a fraternity to Lafayette’s campus since 1993, when Delta Upsilon returned.