Lambda Chi Alpha National Office Expels 35 Members After Review

April 12, 2010 by · 8 Comments 

By Sarah Acosta
sacosta@smu.edu

Lambda Chi Alpha’s national headquarters on Sunday expelled 35 out of the 92 active members from SMU’s Gamma Sigma chapter after a membership review.

Since Sunday’s expulsions, 14 additional members have resigned, and more are expected to resign through the end of the school year, said junior Dan Callahan, who was expelled as the chapter’s president.

Members were given letters at 9 a.m. Sunday morning, and were asked to move out by 10 p.m. that night.

Callahan said he was surprised by it all. He said that during the weeks leading up to last weekend’s membership review, he had been hearing different rumors about the review from alumni. But he said alumni members were not explaining their reasons for the review.

“No straightforward answers were given to us,” Callahan said. “I’m still pretty baffled by what’s going on. I just don’t understand it.”

The chapter was put on probation by its national headquarters last October after the SMU Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards placed Lambda Chi on deferred probation after incidents with the philanthropy event “Watermelon Bash.”

Messages left for John “Biff” Holloway, Lambda Chi Alpha’s national director of chapter services, have not been returned.

A few weeks earlier, a team from nationals came down to assess the progress of the chapter, and talked to each pledge class about where members saw the future of Lambda Chi and to see if members were upholding national values.

Shortly after, the national headquarters contacted the chapter, telling them they were to have a membership review last Saturday. The review consisted of 15-minute interviews with each member of the chapter by four national representatives.

On Sunday morning, the entire chapter was asked to meet in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, where SMU Lambda Chi alum Kyle Snyder, the alumni control board chairman, handed out letters of disciplinary action.

The letters to the expelled members read that members have committed the following offenses:

  • Conduct unbecoming of a gentleman
  • Failure to act for the good of the Fraternity or committing an act detrimental to the Fraternity
  • Violation of an oath of membership
  • Violation of a Mandatory Policy Resolution approved by the General Assembly of the Fraternity

Still, expelled members said they were left confused and wanting clearer answers for why they were being expelled.

Senior Dan Barrett said he felt fraternity members were doing their best to satisfy their probationary terms.

“With only 15-minute interviews, I feel like nationals made sweeping generalizations about individuals in our fraternity,” Barrett said. “They kicked good kids out, and I don’t think they handled themselves professionally.”

Expelled members said they believe nationals may have felt like the chapter wasn’t apologetic enough to the nationals, and current chapter members were not taking the probation seriously.

Callahan said the review was unbecoming of what he would expect from Lambda Chi and embarrassing. He said Lambda Chi is supposed to help boys grow into men, not tear people down for no reason.

“We have no major incident that happened,” Callahan said. “I feel like this just might be a personal vendetta against our chapter or members in it. And freshmen have not been in chapter long enough to deserve this punishment.”

According to expelled members, even a few freshmen were expelled. Because the freshmen were initiated 2 weeks before and paid their dues to the national headquarters, they are not allowed to join another fraternity.

The chapter currently has no executive officers, and alumni are in total control of the chapter.

Callahan said about 25 local alumni that have contacted and written letters on the chapter’s behalf asking the national office to clarify the expulsions and to reconsider the membership review.

For now, SMU student life officials are helping the expelled members arrange hotel rooms.

Student Body Takes Control of Alcohol Abuse

October 19, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Maria Prato
mprato@smu.edu

As alcohol related violations rise on campus, the SMU student body has developed a program to prevent alcohol abuse and encourage students to act responsibly in order to promote a safe environment for social activities to take place.

Mustangs Who Care trains students about the signs of alcohol abuse and how to deal with a peer in distress. The program bases itself on the premise that students can look after each other.

By the middle September the SMU Police Department has reported 271 alcohol and substance violations and 12 hospitalizations due to alcohol intoxication.

Last year, the SMU Police reported 350 alcohol and substance violations during the whole year and 13 hospitalizations due to alcohol intoxication. Most of these violations were related with underage drinking, making this program particularly useful to The Hilltop.
In the past years, alcohol and substance abuse has been a big issue concerning all the members of the SMU community.

After President Turner appointed the Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention last year they have been focused on raising awareness to keep students attending the SMU campus safely.

Dr. Lori White, vice president for student affairs, and Patrick Kobler, student body president, came up with this idea that might contribute and put an end to this issue.

“I saw a similar program at another university, so I sent a note to Patrick and said Patrick what do you think about this? He loved the idea and really taken it and run with it,” Dr. White said.

To participate in this program, students must be TIPS trained. After a 20-minute training they will receive a wristband they are encouraged to wear at all times in order that students who are in distress be able to identify them and ask for their help.

“If you are at a party and you see a student who has a Mustangs Who Care bracelet and you are feeling that you might be in distress or your friend is in distress you know that you can go to this person and they will now what to do from that point forward,” Dr. White said.

Recently the university’s administration introduced new policies that students consider violate their rights. These policies were created after several students were taken to the hospital or close to death due to intoxication.

The Student Body developed this program in response to students’ protests against these policies. They consider this is an opportunity to show they are capable of acting responsibly without having all these restrictions.

“This is our chance as students to take the Task Force recommendations into our own hands. Once we show that we look out for each other, it is my bet that SMU PD enforcement and university regulations will begin to lessen,” said Kobler.

Mustangs Who Care is an opportunity for students to show the university administration they are capable of taking responsibility to control alcohol abuse on campus.

“I think it is a great way for students to step up and say, ‘we are part of the solution as well and we want to take responsibility,’” Dr. White said.

Kobler believes this initiative will make the SMU campus a safer place for social activities to take place.

“A simple 20 minutes of training could greatly alter our campus culture in a positive way,” he said. “The program is not designed to downgrade social fun, after all that is an important aspect of the college experience, rather it is designed to enhance social fun by ensuring an environment of safety in social settings.”

Members of the SMU community are confident this program will help control alcohol abuse on campus.

Heather Gram, a junior majoring in psychology, believes it will take some time for the program to be fully adopted by the SMU community but in the future it will greatly contribute to control alcohol abuse on campus.

She believes it will take some time for people to start trusting that the students are ready to help them but she says sooner than later people are going to feel comfortable when identifying the signs of alcohol abuse.

“I think it will help in the sense it is going to raise awareness,” she said.

Matthew Tonnemacher, a junior majoring in electrical engineering, thinks this program is going to help people that tend drunk students.

“It sounds like a good idea. Most people don’t know they are drunk or tend to think they aren’t when they are,” he said.

This program is voluntary. It started running October 1. For more information contact Patrick Kobler at pkobler@smu.edu

‘Watermelon Bash’ Lands Lambda Chi Alpha on Deferred Suspension

September 29, 2009 by · 3 Comments 

By Sarah Acosta
sacosta@smu.edu

The Gamma Sigma chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity was placed on deferred suspension Monday night by the SMU Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, Vice President of Student Affairs Lori White confirmed.

The office placed the fraternity on deferred suspension for the rest of the fall semester due to members’ behavior during the “Watermelon Bash” philanthropy event at Burleson Park on Sept. 19.

According to White, SMU received letters, emails, and University Park police reports with complaints of the Lambda Chi Alpha members’ behavior during the event.

“SMU has a code of conduct we expect our students to adhere to and this particular student organization violated those expectations,” White said.

According to University Park Police, a UP resident filed a complaint on the afternoon of Sept. 19 claiming that SMU students who attended Watermelon Bash were playing loud music and urinating in her yard.

Another report states that a UP officer spotted a female in “an intoxicated state” on sorority house property. The officer cited her for a being a minor in consumption.

Chapter president Harrison Kaufman declined comment Monday night, referring questions to the chapter advisor, who has not returned repeated calls.

White explained that under deferred suspension, the fraternity may not host any sponsored social activities — with or without alcohol — on or off campus.

In addition to these guidelines Lambda Chi Alpha must also complete the following:

  • Pay restitution of $1200 for damages done to Burleson Park to the city of University Park.
  • Pay $275 to SMU for damages done to the Val and Frank Late Fountain.
  • Complete a service project for the city of University Park.
  • Write apology letters to the city of University Park and neighbors of Burleson Park.

White confirmed that Lambda Chi Alpha alumni were notified of the complaints and were present at the fraternity’s chapter meeting Monday night.

She could not, however, confirm whether the chapter also has been placed on deferred suspension by its national administration.

Proceeds from the “Watermelon Bash” benefit the North Texas Food Bank organization.

SMU Reinstates Cheerleader to Team

October 3, 2008 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Donnie Wyar

SMU cheerleader Jamie Burns was told in early September that because her heart condition wasn’t covered by the university’s insurance policy, she would be forced to stand on the sidelines at athletic events.

This week, the university reversed course and cleared her for full participation as a member of the cheerleading team.

The reversal was based “on a review of additional medical opinions sought by SMU,” Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Lori White said in a statement.

“SMU will continue to operate under the safety guidelines established for our cheerleaders, which includes the presence of a certified coach at all practices and performances, and access to medical personnel,” she said.

“We appreciate the patience and understanding of all involved, especially Jamie and her family, during this important medical review process.”