For the first time since 2000, Emory’s Eta Lambda chapter of Beta Theta Pi will not reside at 15 Eagle Row.
The chapter has been “Under Reorganization” since early May, according to Beta Chapter President and Goizueta Business School senior Julian Adler. The fraternity’s national foundation and administrative office, a body that reviews and considers disciplinary action for collegiate members who fail to follow the organizational standards and principles of Beta Theta Pi, confirmed that status.
Forty-four non-Beta upperclassmen are instead occupying the space, which is currently Eagle Row’s only non-Greek-affiliated house without a particular theme.
TROUBLE WITH THE ADMINISTRATION
The fraternity ran into trouble with the school last spring when it was alleged that fraternity members drugged a female student during a mid-March Saturday-night mixer, Adler said. The fraternity received a “cease and desist” probationary notice from the University the following week, which preceded the University’s investigation into the allegation, he said.
“I know the members in the chapter — I spend every day with them, I live with them, I know that something must have happened, just [that it] wasn’t with our guys,” Adler said. “I definitely don’t believe that this girl would’ve made something up, just that something was missing here.”
No forced removal resulted from the investigation, but the fraternity was required to take certain measures to stay on campus, Adler said.
Those measures included a membership review of all brothers, a live-in advisor from the fraternity’s national office to oversee chapter operations and an alcohol-free house for the 2016-2017 academic year, according to Adler. The membership review consisted of individual interviews of all chapter members by representatives of the national organization to determine whether the individual members met the fraternity’s standards. Two members did not pass the review, and about 10 refused to take part in the process, according to Adler.
For an organization or fraternity to retain control over an Eagle Row house, the house must be at least 90 percent occupied, Assistant Dean for Campus Life Marlon Gibson said. He explained that Beta was unable to fulfill this requirement this year, providing only 11 members for the available 47 spots.
Members of a Greek organization must split the price of all empty beds in the organization’s house amongst themselves. That fact, compounded with a fear of being liable for the actions of non-affiliated students living in the house, led to a desire of certain Beta members not to live in the house, Adler said.
The chapter originally considered attempting to rebuild membership to occupy the house next year, but the future is now uncertain, Adler said.
“I think a lot of the members felt that it may be not worth being an active member, and … because of that, pretty much the entire brotherhood is in the process of taking an early-alumni status,” Adler said.
The University and Beta’s national office are discussing the chapter’s future at Emory, Gibson said.
“This isn’t a conduct issue,” Gibson said. “This is the [national] organization deciding how it want its chapter best represented on our campus.”
The chapter is unsure about its future plans with Beta on Emory’s campus and has no proposed timeline for a decision, Eta Lambda Advisor and Alumni Relations Committee Member Craig Boehm wrote in an email to the Wheel.
“Our Fraternity’s international and local alumni leaders are continuing to work closely with the University’s administration regarding a successful future for our nearly 70-year-old chapter at Emory,” Boehm wrote.
No conclusions have been reached so far regarding Beta’s future on campus, Boehm and Gibson said.
CURRENT HOUSE RESIDENTS
Although a fraternity would normally be offered a house on Eagle Row when another is removed, Beta’s confirmation that it would be unable to fill the house in late July left Emory too little time to place a different fraternity in 15 Eagle Row, Assistant Director of Sorority and Fraternity Residential Life Anne Herold said. After receiving Beta’s notice, Emory immediately offered the 15 Eagle Row rooms as upperclassmen housing.
Knowledge of the space’s availability started with Residential Life and circulated by word of mouth among students, Herold said.
There are currently 44 residents living in the house, including 33 sophomores, nine juniors, one resident advisor and one hall director, according to Herold. The remaining four spaces will be available for room changes for upperclassmen until Oct. 19, the end of the room-change period, Herold said.
Unlike the Black Student Alliance (BSA) house and the Media, Literature and Arts Outreach (MLAO) house, the former Beta house has no theme. No members of Beta currently live in the house.