So, the Phi Delts messed up: Was the punishment too harsh or did it fit the crime?



Campus Times
September 27, 2002


by Tim Tevault
Editorial Director

Kudos to the Greek Review Board. The decision made last spring against Phi Delta Theta for having a stripper at a pledge event-a three semester-long suspension-was definitely fitting.

Maybe it is easy for me to say this because I am not in the fraternity, but from a common sense, outsider's point of view, everything that went down seems fitting.

It is very simple. If the IFC Constitution states that rush events must be designed in "good taste" and strippers show up, the violator of the rule must be punished, point blank.

However, the issue at hand here is whether the punishment actually fit the crime.

That is definitely a no-brainer; of course it did! Why should the board be lenient? That simply states that crossing the line is okay and promotes an attitude of "well, if they let me do it this time, I guess I can do it again."

And apparently this was the case because the Phi Delts had in fact been told to watch themselves because they have a reputation on campus for being a "party-hardy" fraternity.

Now, you would think that with a warning, the guys could wait a couple more weeks to get some strippers for their pledges.

So this time, the board was showing the Phi Delts-as well as the other Greek organizations on campus-that they really meant business.

Unfortunately it had to happen to someone and the Phi Delts just picked a real inopportune time to mess up. Was it personal? No, just business.

I think they just wanted to show the other fraternities and sororities on campus that they should really watch what they do. And who knows, if the board lets them slide, the other Greeks would have thought it is okay to cross the line with their respective organizations.

Another part of the punishment was to not allow them to wear their letters on campus. Did this have anything to do with what they did? No, but I'm sure that by tacking that punishment on, there is a better chance that they will watch what they do more carefully.

I'm pretty sure that every Greek organization on campus has screwed up and done something they have regretted. In Amanda's words above, I'm sure they have all done "tacky, tasteless, stupid" things. But this was the first time word got out to someone on the board that an organization had done something of that nature. Essentially, this was the first time one of the organizations actually got caught.

And yes, I'm sure the Phi Delts do great work for the community, but good work does not necessarily cancel out something bad you did. I mean, if someone deterred a robbery from happening, then the next day carjacked someone, it does not exactly make up for the crime committed. They would still have to serve the same amount of time or face the same punishment.

It's a shame that the Phi Delts did this. Being a fraternity in a conservative small town and an even smaller conservative university, they should have known that there was a possibility the board was going to make a decision like this.

Honestly, this could have happened to any of the Greeks on campus. The amount of support they received after the ruling was made was pretty incredible. It shows that not all is lost; the Phi Delts still have supporters, and the board is now seen as an something to watch out for.

Basically, this whole situation was unfortunate, but very simple. The fraternity knew of the possible consequences, but never anticipated such a punishment. If the Phi Delts did not want to get burned, they should not have played with fire.

Tim Tevault, a junior journalism major, is editorial director and copy chief of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at hellag33@aol.com.