Originally published in the Los Angeles Loyolan. For original, please refer to: Greek groups reflect on probation – Los Angeles Loyolan.
Three Greek organizations have recently come off social probation, while a fourth remains on probation indefinitely.
Lambda Chi Alpha, Sigma Chi and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternities were on probation from the beginning of the academic year until the first of this month, according to junior political science major Michael Hanover, Sigma Phi Epsilon’s chapter president.
According to sophomore political science major Alex Petosa, a member of Alpha Phi sorority, these suspensions came about because of the same event last semester that put Delta Gamma sorority on a still-continuing social probation.
“It was an event involving the introduction of new Delta Gammas to members of fraternities,” Hanover confirmed. “As far as I know, somebody got sick [for alcohol related reasons] and everybody there was held accountable.”
In a statement released to the Loyolan through Chapter President Libby de Leon, a senior history and screenwriting double major, Delta Gamma confirmed that their chapter did indeed receive sanctions from the University and the national Delta Gamma Fraternity for “behavior that did not align with our mission.”
The organizations were held accountable in a process outlined in LMU’s Community Standards, according to Assistant Director of Student Leadership and Development and Greek Adviser Dan Faill.
“In any organization, as with being human in general, people make mistakes,” Faill wrote in an email to the Loyolan. “If people make mistakes at organization-related activities, the organizations will be held accountable. … It’s my job to ensure a safe and fun Greek experience; sometimes that comes with holding sorority [and] fraternity members and organizations to a higher standard.”
“Traditionally, if you look at any other school, everyone does that kind of stuff,” Petosa said regarding the difference between LMU and other universities’ Greek life. “It’s a conflict between LMU’s ideals and what Greek Life is. … We go to a Jesuit university, and so Greek Council and Dan Faill have a standard to uphold. And they have to uphold the school’s mission statement.”
According to senior psychology major Lisa Flanigan, president of Kappa Alpha Theta, Delta Gamma remains on probation.
“They were definitely put up as an example,” Petosa said of Delta Gamma’s longer probation. “I think it’s the historical example that no one’s perfect. … It’s just too bad it had to happen. … They had to be upheld as an example. They violated the rules, and rules are rules. That’s in LMU’s standards.”
As part of the probations, each chapter was delivered sanctions by the University’s Judicial Affairs department. For Sigma Phi Epsilon, the sanctions included “education on risk management, how to conduct safe events and not make stupid mistakes,” according to Hanover. The organization was also prohibited from hosting any events with alcohol.
“I think that the sanctions that were levied upon us were very reasonable and educational,” Hanover said. “They were all directed towards teaching us how to keep our members safe and conduct themselves in a way that was more healthy and conducive to development in the future.”
The terms behind social probations are determined on a case-by-case basis. According to Faill, they depend on the group and any alleged violations.
Just three semesters ago, Kappa Alpha Theta was placed on social probation as well.
“We had an event where girls were drinking alcohol on campus. It was a dry event,” Flanigan said. “The school found bottles of alcohol … in a bathroom.”
Like Delta Gamma, Kappa Alpha Theta received sanctions not only through the University, but also through the national organization. According to Flanigan, her chapter had a number of sanctions levied upon it.
“I don’t remember everything that we had to do – we did a bunch of things – but one of the things that we did recently for LMU was an educational program for the LMU community about drinking and driving,” Flanigan explained. The program involved bringing a smashed car from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Additionally, Kappa Alpha Theta held a service day for workers at LMU.
Kappa Alpha Theta’s probation wound up lasting for a semester, something that Flanigan said is not common. The time was spent bonding as a chapter and making up for their mistakes.
“We always say that we think being on probation really helped our organization become even better, because we were able to take a step back and look at our true values and morals of our organization, where we were and where we needed to be,” said Flanigan.
In its statement, Delta Gamma echoed that sentiment, saying that its chapter is “appreciative for the learning opportunity and [we] look forward to continuing to work with the University and various groups on campus to build awareness about safety, risk management and social responsibility.”
“I think this whole thing was a culture shock for us. We got to see how things could go wrong,” Hanover said of the fallout from the probations. “I think the whole community learned a lesson from this.”
When asked what advice she would give current organizations on or coming off probation, Flanigan said, “I think that it’s really important to take a step back and look at why you’re in this organization, why all you girls or boys … are in an organization that has certain values and why you joined that organization over others.”
She added, “You have to make the most out of it.”