SDSU Shuts Down Fraternity After Members Harassed Anti-Rape Marchers
San Diego State University and the national office of Delta Sigma Phi have shut down the local chapter of the fraternity, known as Gamma Alpha, after a string of policy violations, which included fraternity members reportedly harassing protesters at an anti-rape march.
The fraternity is also charged with hazing and alcohol misconduct issues. Members harassed protesters at a Take Back the Night March on Nov. 21. The individual fraternity members involved in the harassment will be subject to a Title IX and a student code of conduct investigation by the school.
The earliest date the fraternity could "re-colonize" is 2016.
In a statement released Tuesday the national Delta Sigma Phi office said:
“A series of incidents highlighted behavior inconsistent with the high standards that have been synonymous with the Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity at San Diego State University. After learning of widespread member misconduct issues, the National Fraternity determined it was not in the best interest of Delta Sigma Phi to continue operating Gamma Alpha Chapter. The Fraternity cannot, and will not, tolerate blatant disregard toward our policies and standards for members and chapters.”
Jordan Busse, a student activist who was at the anti-rape march and led campus protests to close down the school's fraternities, said she was encouraged by the news and the response from the national chapter.
"It validates what we've been saying and what happened to us that night," she said.
Busse said some students have accused her of "making up" her account of what happened at the Take Back the Night March.
The local Delta Sigma Phi chapter was new to the campus in 2014. It had roughly 90 members and a fraternity house on the edge of campus.
“There is no place in our campus community for the type of ongoing behaviors displayed by those involved with this fraternity chapter,” said SDSU’s vice president for student affairs, Eric Rivera. “We appreciate the willingness of the national office of Delta Sigma Phi to step in and address these issues and take action with us. We hope that through these actions, when the time is right, they will bring a chapter back to SDSU and be productive members of our community.”
The fraternity's house cannot be used as a fraternity house until the chapter is reinstated. Delta Sigma Phi is part of Fraternity Row on Hardy Avenue. Each fraternity has a front house, a courtyard and stacks of apartments. Students individually lease those apartments so the former Delta Sigma Phi fraternity members will remain in those spaces. The executive leadership that lives in the front house will also be permitted to reside in the space. "The students are not permitted to convene in the courtyard or in the common areas of the house" any longer, according to an SDSU spokesperson.
SDSU's fraternities voluntarily suspended all social activities days after the Take Back the Night march when protesters said they were harassed.
According to InterFraternity Council president Marc Hess, the suspension will be lifted after SDSU's Greek leaders feel their members are educated about sexual assault. On Monday, they announced that all fraternity and sorority members will be required to take an hour-long online course about sexual violence.