No Theta Chi members are currently living in the fraternity’s house on Packard Avenue for the 2022–23 academic year after it was unable to fill the house with any of its members. Instead, nine non-affiliated students are living in the residence. As a result of the agreement reached by the Office of Residential Life and Learning and the current residents of the house, Theta Chi is allowed to use the space only for limited chapter and recruitment events, but not social events.
ORLL staff wrote in an email to the Daily that there are no first-years living in the house, and that most of the residents are upperclassmen who were waitlisted for on-campus housing. They said it is normal for the university to place non-affiliated students in Greek life housing.
“Every year, Residential Life and Learning asks Greek organizations on campus to provide us with a list of students who will be living in their houses,” Angy Sosa, associate director for residential operations, wrote in the email. “When there are vacancies in the buildings, Residential Life places non-member students who are seeking on-campus housing … This is a common arrangement and has been going on as long as I have been working in Residential Life at Tufts University.”
Noah Wright, president of Theta Chi, explained that the fraternity has been able to fill its house in past years, but that COVID-19 impacted the number of members eligible to live in Greek life housing.
“Because of COVID, all of fraternity life wasn’t able to recruit for the 2020 fall,” Wright, a senior, said. “So because of that, we were missing half a year’s worth of new members.”
Wright added that Tufts’ policy against first-years rushing a fraternity or sorority makes it more difficult for many Greek life organizations to fill their houses.
Once Theta Chi reported that no members would be living in the house for the current academic year, Wright said they began conversations with ORLL in July about how the fraternity could continue to use the house.
“They had internal discussions and came to a situational conclusion for us based on our good behavior and decent standing with the university in the past few years,” Wright said.
Despite no members living in the house, Theta Chi can still use it for chapter and recruitment related events.
“Obviously, having a house and having a central base is very important for the way a fraternity operates,” Wright said. “[There’s] a lot of history and tradition in that house, so we use it for our new pledging class as a base to help educate on our traditions and values.”
However, social events typically hosted by Greek life organizations are not allowed at the Theta Chi house this year.
“[The agreement] does not include the ability to host social events in the space for the 2022-2023 academic year since it does not house any students who are members of a special interest house, theme, fraternity, or sorority,” Tim Jordan, associate director for residential education, wrote in an email to the Daily.
While Theta Chi cannot host social events in their Packard Avenue house, Wright said that the fraternity is still in good standing with the university, and therefore allowed to host social events in collaboration with other recognized groups, such as culture houses.
“We’ve been trying to plan some stuff with culture clubs and other sororities and fraternities,” he said.
According to Wright, Theta Chi plans to shift away from social programming and focus more on its philanthropic mission this year.
“We still aim to have a … positive presence on campus,” he said. “We’re taking a step back from social stuff and really focusing on how we impact Tufts, and how Greek life impacts Tufts in a positive manner.”
He added that the fraternity plans to occupy its house in the coming years, and that he feels confident they will be able to achieve that goal.
“I can almost guarantee that we’re going to fill the house to its capacity next year,” he said. “We're working with [ORLL] continuously to make sure that everything’s in order so we don't really get blindsided like we did this year.”
Correction: This article has been updated to appropriately reflect the number of non-affiliated students living in Theta Chi. The Daily regrets this error.