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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Thursday, February 29, 2024

Greek life returns to in-person events, Zeta Psi disbanded after COVID-19 violations

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The members of Thalia, a local sorority at Tufts, are pictured.

Greek life is back to in-person activities for the first time since the spring 2020 semester. This fall, new local sororities Thalia and The Ivy are holding their first in-person events for their Membership Application Processes (MAP). However, Delta Tau Delta (DTD) has been placed on probation and Zeta Psi was disbanded by the university after both fraternities violated Tufts University COVID-19 guidelines last year.

According to Emily Kunkle, associate director of leadership, academic engagement and fraternity & sorority life, in-person events that were held under last year’s COVID-19 guidelines resulted in restrictions for DTD, while Zeta Psi had its charter revoked. 

“The Delta Tau Delta fraternity (DTD) is currently on probation, based on the findings from two cases resolved in the spring related to COVID violations,” Kunkle wrote in an email to the Daily.

Kunkle explained that although DTD can hold new member recruitment this semester, the organization is only allowed to host events at pre-approved locations, and cannot have events in its house. As a part of its probation, DTD is also required to fulfill educational sanctions, which Kunkle said the fraternity is in the process of completing. 

“While DTD is on probation for the remainder of the semester, we are looking forward to resuming normal operations in the Spring,” DTD wrote in a statement to the Daily. “Our probation gives us a chance to improve the brotherhood and ensure an inviting, inclusive, and fun rush process this fall. We remain committed to bettering the Tufts community and learning from our mistakes.”

According to Kunkle, Zeta Psi will no longer operate as a fraternity. 

“Zeta Psi had their university recognition revoked, meaning they will no longer be recognized by the University, for repeated and serious violations of University policy while the chapter was on probation and after a number of incremental educational interventions and status restrictions,” Kunkle said. “The house is privately owned, and is subject to the municipal permitting process for residential occupancy.”

The Tufts chapter of Zeta Psi did not respond to requests for comment.

The Ivy, Thalia and national sororities Chi Omega and Kappa Alpha Theta all held what is known as informal recruitment last week, according to Anoushka Kiyawat, co-president of The Ivy. For The Ivy and Thalia, these events included activities such as group conversations and one-on-one coffee dates. 

Kiyawat, a senior, explained that potential applicants were required to choose whether they would rush a local or national sorority by Sept. 26. 

“The way that the thought process worked for this was that hopefully during the week of informal recruitment events, the applicants would be able to get to know us enough that they have more of a sense of what they want before starting formal recruitment,” she said. 

Kiyawat said that the MAP for The Ivy began on Sept. 27, and that potential new members would be informed of whether or not they had received what The Ivy refers to as a bid and Thalia refers to as an offer through Kunkle by Oct. 2.

Ryen Delaney, co-president of Thalia, said much of Thalia’s MAP will be similar to last semester’s, although most events will take place in person rather than over Zoom. 

“We thought that our [MAP] last semester was really successful, in that it kind of went away from the traditional recruitment process for sororities,” Delaney, a senior, said. “[It] was more just about getting to know people, taking the pressure off them wanting to join Thalia as much as we wanted them to join Thalia.” 

Delaney is excited for in-person gatherings this semester, particularly service events that the sorority could not participate in last year due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

“Now we’re implementing our service hour requirement, and we’re partnering with a women’s homeless shelter in the area, Rosie’s Place, and hopefully we’ll be able to do volunteer visits there,” she said. 

Thalia has already been able to hold some in-person events, including its first in-person meeting for current members,as well as two implicit bias trainings led by two members of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee as part of the MAP. 

Kiyawat is also excited about how the ability to hold in-person events will expand opportunities for building community both within The Ivy and the Greater Boston area. She explained that three components of The Ivy — programming, community service and DEI — will be easier to structure through in-person activities.

“Programming is where we’re all doing things as an organization together … like a movie night,” Kiyawat said. “These are all things that are really exciting because now it means that we can do them in person — it was really hard last semester over Zoom.” 

Kiyawat said that there will also be more community service opportunities for members this semester. Last year The Ivy partnered with Project Linus to make blankets and some members volunteered weekly at a food bank in Malden, but Kiyawat said that in-person opportunities have been limited until recently. 

Kiyawat is also enthusiastic about holding DEI events in-person.

“I think that in general, conversations of more sensitive nature … work a lot better in person when you’re able to look at everyone,” she said. “It’s a lot more comfortable than ... over Zoom, and so I’m really excited for that as well.” 

Delaney noted that while everyone is happy to be back in person, Thalia is prioritizing the safety of its members. 

“We are very aware of the COVID situation right now, and our responsibility as an organization,” she said. “There is still uncertainty for this semester … but I’m really excited for hopefully as many in-person events that we can have.”

Clarification: The original publication of this article reported that Zeta Psi did not respond to the Daily's requests for comment. In fact, it was specifically the Tufts chapter of Zeta Psi that has not responded to requests for comment, not the national organization. The article has been updated to reflect this distinction, and the Daily regrets this error.