“We’re getting this ridiculous punishment for doing things that most college students do anyway,” states sophomore Josh Thompson, a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity.
A list of 10 recognized fraternities and sororities can be found on the McDaniel OrgSync page, but this list used to be one name longer. Just recently the McDaniel charter of Phi Kappa Sigma, a national fraternity, was suspended for a year and a half because of some incidents that occurred at the beginning of the year.
The party occurred in the first month of classes and seemed like a normal social event — people were dancing, playing beer pong, and overall enjoying themselves. The trouble began when two freshmen walked up to the party, and one ended up passing out in the front lawn.
“Attendee number one, as the [Campus Safety] report called him, admitted that he had a fifth of Jack Daniel’s in his back pack and had been drinking excessively in his room,” according to Thompson.
Members of Phi Kap, as the fraternity is referred to by students, then took the student inside, gave him food and water and, when he was in a better condition, drove him back to his room. The second student was much more functional, having reportedly not drunken any alcohol beforehand. Thompson commented that the student in question had around five drinks at the party, after which he needed medical transportation to the hospital. One of the attendees told Campus Safety that they had been drinking at a Phi Kap event, and the fraternity had sanctions placed almost immediately.
This was the extent of the brother’s knowledge of the reasons for the punishments, but when the report was given to them it was clear that there were more charges than they had realized.
“We were informed in the report that, at the party, a girl left to go back to campus, was followed by two people who didn’t go to the school and was robbed,” says Thompson, adding, “if she had asked us to drive her home we would have.”
After these events, a cease-and-desist was placed on the fraternity. This prevented them from holding any events under the name of Phi Kappa Sigma.
“The Delta Eta Chapter may not hold any meetings, must immediately suspend any new member recruitment events, may not wear letters, host any social functions, and must cancel any formal activities,” summarizes Christine Workman, Director of Student Engagement.
The timespan of the restrictions was indefinite.
In Thompson’s opinion, “The main goal of the administration was to put us on a tightrope for as long as they can, and basically just wait for us to slip – which is what ended up happening.”
The school was informed of an event, held by Phi Kappa Sigma, which violated the cease and desist order. They were, at the same time, informed of another event being planned.
When asked about the specifics of the social event that disobeyed the cease and desist, Christine Workman stated, “On Wednesday, September 30, 2015 Phi Kappa Sigma International Fraternity notified McDaniel College of allegations they received that despite being placed on “Cease and Desist” Delta Eta hosted one social function, and had an additional social function planned.”
A couple of days later a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma Board of Directors and Christine Workman contacted the McDaniel chapter to hold a meeting. The punishments for disobeying the sanctions were much more severe than the sanctions themselves – the fraternity is suspended for a year and a half.
“It basically kills us. In a year and a half I’ll be a senior and there will be about ten other members, of which eight will be graduating with me,” says Thompson.
Ultimately, the fraternity will not be recognized by the school and is not allowed to hold events or recruit until the 2017-2018 school year.