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Editorializing the IFC Suspension

The Rollins College campus found out last week that all six fraternities would be temporarily suspended pending investigation of “high risk behaviors” and that Greek Week would be replaced by a series of summits with the aim to “align organizational values and behavior with the College’s mission,” per Dean of Students Dr. Meghan Harte Weyant.

The newspaper would like to take this opportunity to commend the college on their swift response to risky behaviors. Many other universities might simply have ignored the issue or tried to diminish its importance, but the alleged actions deserve nothing less than a suspension of activities. As a fellow organization with many members and regular contributors from different areas of the campus community, The Sandspur does not find it acceptable to engage in any behaviors that might cause injury or death.

Because all negative actions must have repercussions, we hope that the fraternities will take this time to seriously consider what it means to be responsible organizations on Rollins’ campus, and, eventually, responsible global citizens. We sincerely hope that the suspension and the upcoming summits will help the fraternities recognize their recent actions, as well as re-evaluate their overall culture. Obviously, something needs to change.

In order to effectively and comprehensively cover the events of last week, our Production Manager, Micah Bradley, reached out to Dr. Harte Weyant, Jazmine Rodriguez (Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life), President Grant Cornwell, and SGA for information on different areas of the ban. We have also decided to run an op-ed piece co-authored by Dr. Harte Weyant and Dr. Mamta Accapadi (above). Last week, we also published a short piece online, written by staff writer Ellie Rushing, in an attempt to provide news on the suspension as quickly as possible. In order to give everyone a chance to share their side of the story, we also reached out to every fraternity to ask for comments on the events, the suspension, and their plans for the future. We only received a response from Phi Delta Theta, which we have published below.

In the future, we hope to engage with different organizations and individual members within the Greek community, though this can often be difficult due to the secretive nature of Greek Life and the need to go through many chapters’ national organizations to get even a simple comment. We hope that the Greek community, both the sororities and the fraternities, will be as open as they can with student media moving forward.

As the semester continues, The Sandspur will strive to provide unbiased reporting on the events that have transpired and their consequences, as well as providing opinion pieces from different voices from around the community about Greek Life and its role on campus. As a newspaper, The Sandspur takes issues that affect our campus community this deeply extremely seriously, and we will do our best to cover them in a way that reflects this.

A message from Phi Delta Theta:

Earlier this week, Meghan Harte-Weyant, the Dean of Students, announced that the college was suspending all 6 campus fraternities over unspecified “high risk behaviors.” Over the past several days, the media has focused its energies on identifying the specific behaviors to which Dean Weyant refers. I understand the voyeuristic curiosity that feeds this investigation, but I also believe that by obsessing over the details of where we collectively fell short, there is also a missed opportunity to recognize the opportunities that are created by a community-wide reevaluation of fraternity life on campus. A suspension doesn’t have to be read only as a kind of punishment; I see it as an opportunity.

Members of my organization recognize that the landscape of fraternity and sorority life across America is not where it needs to be, and we do need to take an honest assessment of what the media-driven world has labeled us as and let that motivate us to be at the forefront of improvement and change. While this suspension will bring challenges to all fraternity organizations and their new members, it also provides us with a collective opportunity to pause, reset and pivot in deliberate and self-conscious ways away from stereotypes. Over the next few weeks, members of the fraternity community at Rollins will be working together to align our missions and goals and find ways to build community and strengthen brotherhood bonds within our own individual organizations as well as the fraternity community at large. I speak for Phi Delta Theta when I say that we are excited about the prospect of being on the front lines of this initiative. My hope going forward is that the conversation about fraternity life at Rollins doesn’t push us backward, but rather forward. Opportunity is a great thing and without it, we won’t be able to achieve the kind of unity that we all want.

TJ Stevenson

President, Phi Delta Theta – Florida Beta Chapter

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