The Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life (OSFL) will remove Chi Phi fraternity from campus after the Office of Student Conduct determined through an investigation that the fraternity violated the OSFL Anti-Hazing Policy.

In Chi Phi’s place, Residence Life and Housing (ResLife), in conjunction with OSFL, is allowing student groups to apply to live in the chapter’s current residence with a focus on a particular value — such as social justice or sustainability — for the upcoming academic year. ResLife announced the Eagle Row Themed Communities program through a campus-wide email sent on April 20.

Chi Phi moved to 22 Eagle Row last fall and was slated to move to 8 Eagle Row, which the fraternity owns, next year. Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) fraternity will move to 22 Eagle Row next year, while 8 Eagle Row will be open to theme housing, according to ResLife Director Scott Rausch.

A Theme of Their Own

Student organizations interested in the Eagle Row Themed Housing option have until May 1 to submit their applications, which Rausch said he created along with OSFL Director Marlon Gibson. A committee of six undergraduate student leaders from the Student Government Association (SGA) and other groups, one graduate student, three administrators, Gibson and Rausch will decide on May 7 who will live in 8 Eagle Row next year.

Asked why the application window was so brief, Rausch said ResLife wanted to avoid requesting applications while students are distracted by finals, travel or heading home for the summer.

“We wanted to try to do it quickly, while students are still here,” he said.

As for qualifications, ResLife will judge the proximity of the applying group’s activities to the theme they’ve chosen, the group’s ability to serve the community and its ability to fill the house’s 42 beds, Rausch said.

“The plan is to pick the best application, whether you’re a Greek organization that’s housed or not housed, or something else — I want you to have the same odds,” he said.

Still, if ResLife finds four or five groups well-qualified for the house, he said, 8 Eagle Row could be split between them.

As of Thursday afternoon, six students have approached Rausch with inquiries related to attaining the house for their campus groups. Some came from Multicultural Greek Council and National Pan-Hellenic Council chapters without residences, Rausch said; one came from the Inte-Religious Council. The advocacy group Feminists in Action (FIA) at Emory also plans to apply, according to FIA Co-President Cara Ortiz.

“We feel that a feminist house would be particularly subversive on Eagle Row, because it’s an area of campus that is saturated in patriarchal culture,” Ortiz wrote in an email to the Wheel. “A feminist house would serve to dilute that a bit and cultivate a more feminist culture in neighboring fraternity houses, which could potentially combat the rampant sexism and violence that characterizes so many of these spaces.”

FIA plans on drawing members from Sexual Assault Peer Advocates (SAPA), the Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention (ASAP) and Emory Pride as a means of filling the house’s beds, she added. While Ortiz wrote that she wished the groups would have been given more time to apply, she said she is happy that groups outside of Greek Life have the same opportunities as fraternities.

Asked whether any groups could receive affirmative action-like preference, Rausch said ResLife plans to review the applications through a “fair, impartial process.”

“We don’t have any sort of agenda,” he said.

Those who do live at 8 Eagle Row next year will pay the same housing fee paid by fraternity members. They will live under the supervision of a ResLife graduate student housing director, as well as an Resident Advisor (RA) either appointed by ResLife or who is a qualifying member of the resident organization.

“We have a number of students in the alternative pool of RAs, but we also want to pay attention to the needs of the group applying,” he said. “If a group applies and already has an idea of who they want to be their RA, we would have a conversation around that.”

Asked whether this option would continue to become available as fraternities continue to be removed from campus, Rausch said ResLife does not yet have any such plans in place. He added that if Kappa Alpha fraternity, which is currently undergoing an Anti-Hazing Policy investigation by the Office of Student Conduct, were removed by the end of this year, the chapter’s house at 14 Eagle Row would go to the runner-up of the application process. (Acting Director of Student Conduct Director Judith Pannell declined to comment on the investigation of Kappa Alpha.)

“I’m sure there will be changes — things are never perfect the first time around,” Rausch said.

The goal, he said, is not “to push Greek Life off the Row.”

“We’re not doing this to punish the Greek community, to reprimand the Greek community,” Rausch said. “We just want to make the Row a more inclusive space.”

He added that the applying organizations’ plans to fill fraternities’ roles as social event hosts will have no impact on their ability to secure the space.

“How they use their space is very much up to them,” Rausch said. “If they want to host events, like a fraternity party, that’s fine. I’m not sure if that’s what they want to do, but they’re certainly welcome.”

ZBT Forced to Apply for Housing

The ResLife Eagle Row Themed Communities application originally listed 22 Eagle Row, Chi Phi’s current residence, as the set house for the program, meaning ZBT would have remained in 8 Eagle Row, its current residence.

Without notifying applicants, ResLife updated the application to reflect the changes by removing the original address. On Thursday, ResLife notified ZBT that the fraternity would have to apply to live at 8 Eagle Row along with the student organizations vying for the Eagle Row Themed Communities program.

Rausch did not respond to requests for comment on this issue.

ZBT President and Goizueta Business School junior Max Mayblum said he hopes ResLife will change its policy.

“It’s clear that Emory Housing has a lot of work to do, especially in how it treats Greek Life,” Mayblum said. “I’m just hoping my fraternity doesn’t get the short end of the stick because of their lack of foresight as far as how to accommodate other students.”

He added that he hopes ZBT can receive the same treatment as other Interfraternity Council (IFC) chapters who will keep their houses.

“[Chi Phi] is being removed for doing something they shouldn’t have,” Mayblum said. “We don’t think that our chapter should be punished for that.”

Chi Phi to Leave Campus

After the University was notified of an alleged hazing allegation at Chi Phi, the Office of Student Conduct launched an investigation and on March 31 notified the fraternity of the consequences, according to Greek Life Communications Director and Senior Director of Emory Dining Dave Furhman.

Based on the severity of the sanction, Furhman added, the fraternity appealed on April 18 and received a three-year suspension. During the 2017 to 2018 academic year, Chi Phi will be permitted to apply for the chance to establish a colony during the 2018 to 2019 academic year.
“While the situation is unfortunate, the Chi Phi Alumni Board appreciates the opportunity to work with the University and Emory students to improve Chi Phi and Greek Life in general,” alumni members of the Emory chapter wrote in a statement to the Wheel.
College sophomore Michael Sisario, who had pledged the fraternity, lamented the brevity of his involvement in Greek Life.
“I’m so disappointed, I can’t even express myself,” he said.
In fall 2012, the fraternity returned from its four-year hiatus. It was permitted to recruit freshman members in fall 2013.

The fraternity’s national chapter did not respond to calls and emails from the Wheel by press time. Pannell declined to comment on the details of Chi Phi’s Conduct Council case.

— By Lydia O’Neal