The college has confirmed that two sororities on campus are under investigation for hazing allegations. Public Safety’s crime log shows three separate reports of alleged hazing this week. While the location of one incident was not specified, the other two incidents were reported at the locations of the Delta Delta Delta (Tri Delta) and Delta Gamma houses.
While the incidents were not witnessed directly by authorities of the college, the investigations come following complaints received against the two chapters. The report against Tri Delta was filed on Sept. 14 at 4 p.m and the report against Delta Gamma was filed on Sept. 13 at 4 p.m. The incident at the “On Campus” location was reported on Sept. 13 at 10 a.m. As of Wednesday evening, all three investigations remained ongoing.
Although Advisor to Fraternities and Sororities Dan Ayala recognized the ongoing investigations in an email, he declined to comment on the matter until the investigations have closed. Chapter president of Tri Delta, Nia Burrell ’19, and chapter president of Delta Gamma, Niki Stanton ’19, both declined to comment. However, the national executive offices of both sororities have acknowledged the hazing allegations.
“Delta Gamma is aware of the serious allegations facing Epsilon Xi chapter at Lafayette College. Immediately upon learning of these allegations, Delta Gamma placed the chapter on Temporary Chapter Restriction Status (TCRS), limiting the chapter’s functions until the [college] concludes its investigation,” said Lisa Dodge, Director of Marketing and Communications for Delta Gamma, in an email.
Karen Hughes White, Chief Executive Officer of Tri Delta, also commented on the allegations.
“As a premier women’s organization, Tri Delta holds itself to high standards and ideals. Recently, Tri Delta has been made aware of allegations at Lafayette College that our chapter may not have lived up to those standards and ideals,” White said in an email.
Both White and Dodge confirmed that Tri Delta and Delta Gamma national organizations will be working closely with the college for the duration of the investigations.
While Vice President for Campus Life Annette Diorio declined to confirm the investigations herself, she did clarify that by nature, investigations are “a very preliminary look at an issue.”
“It does not imply that there is any violation of policy. My sense is that when people discuss or write about investigations, they are typically assuming that we will ultimately file conduct charges and that is not always the case,” said Diorio in an email.
During the investigations, the new members of both Tri Delta and Delta Gamma are not permitted to communicate with current members of the sororities.
“It’s hard to get factual accounting when students have gotten together and talked about it,” said Diorio, speaking generally about communication between members of organizations under investigation. “It’s just for the duration of the investigation so we can get a good account of what’s going on,” she added.
The college’s student handbook broadly defines hazing as “any activity that intends to or actually degrades, humiliates, ridicules, embarrasses, or intimidates another person” but also includes a list of specific activities such as pressuring, urging or encouraging anyone to consume alcohol or drugs.
According to Director of Public Safety Jeff Troxell, the two investigations are occurring simultaneously. However, Troxell does not know how long each investigation will take.
“At this point, you have to follow your leads and sometimes one lead might take you to many others. It’s hard to put a timeline on it, but we’re working as efficiently as we can… It could range from a couple weeks to months, it depends on the complexity,” Troxell said.
Troxell also noted that the third hazing allegation, for which the incident’s reported location is “On Campus,” the location is not specified because “if we were to provide a general location of that it would affect our investigation.” Chief of Police Jim Meyer said that revealing the location of this third incident could potentially deter current or potential witnesses, subsequently harming the investigation.
While declining to comment on the hazing allegations, President of Lafayette Panhellenic Council Amanda Baildon ’19 addressed concerns on behalf of both the Panhellenic Council and the Interfraternity Council.
“Our councils want everyone to feel safe in the communities they choose to take part in. Whether it be a Greek chapter, or any other group on campus, we hope members feel a sense of belonging and are empowered to act when they feel something is not right,” Baildon said in an e-mail.
President Alison Byerly and Dean of Students Christopher Hunt both declined to comment on the issue.
Disclaimer: This article was edited by Morgan Sturm ’19, who is a member of the Greek organization Kappa Kappa Gamma. Although neither contributed reporting, writing or editing, News Editor Claire Grunewald ’20 is a member of Delta Gamma and Editor-in-Chief Kathryn Kelly ’19 is a member of Delta Delta Delta.