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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, April 20, 2024

Theta Chi returns from a year of probation

The fraternity was barred from hosting social events after violating alcohol-free recruitment policy.

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The Theta Chi house is pictured on Feb. 16.

After completing a year-long probation for violating Tufts’ alcohol-free recruitment policy in December 2022, Theta Chi has resumed normal activities this semester. During its probation, the fraternity was suspended from hosting social events.

Mary Kate Kelley, Tufts’ director of orientation and student experience, explained that Theta Chi was placed on probation for having alcohol at a party during recruitment.

“Fraternities and sororities are not allowed to host social events with alcohol during recruitment or rush periods,” Kelley wrote in an email to the Daily, “because those are times new members often feel particularly pressured to conform in order to gain acceptance, raising the risk of both hazing and alcohol abuse.”

“Alcohol-free recruitment is the policy at Tufts, and the policy of all national fraternity and sorority organizations, because it sets a healthy tone for new members as they consider joining,” Kelley continued.

Per the Residential Life and Learning website, Tufts required Theta Chi to complete a “leadership training” during its probation. Other sanctions included the “creation of a communication plan and internal review, social event education, a leadership series, and two group conversations around organizational ideals and planning for the future.” 

Disciplinary probation is a somewhat common occurrence for Greek organizations at Tufts. Six of the university’s 13 active sororities and fraternities have received some form of disciplinary sanction in the past eight years, per ORLL. Zeta Beta Tau is currently on disciplinary probation until May 2025 for an alcohol policy violation. Other Greek organizations have had their recognition revoked by the university, effectively shutting them down for more severe policy violations.

Theta Chi President Will Flamm explained what happened from the fraternity’s perspective. He stressed that the December 2022 function that triggered the probation wasn’t an official Theta Chi event.

“We didn’t serve alcohol, [one] beverage was found at the event which thus means there was a violation,” Flamm, a junior, wrote in an electronic message to the Daily. “The event itself wasn't funded by [Theta Chi], and the entire function was organized by a handful of brothers with only a couple brothers in attendance.”

Kelley told the Daily that Theta Chi members actively engaged in all of the required workshops during their probation.

“During our interactions, chapter members have expressed a willingness to make appropriate adjustments,” Kelley wrote.

Flamm said the workshops helped the fraternity focus on “not getting too caught up with social events and improving lines of communication.”

Ritesh Vidhun, a senior who served as president of Theta Chi during its probation, said the members used that time to “refocus the fraternity on our original values: brotherhood, service, leadership … prioritizing alumni events and philanthropy and doing stuff for the community.”

According to Flamm and Vidhun, the changes have paid off and the fraternity has grown. They estimate Theta Chi had about 30 members in the fall of 2022 and has 82 members this semester. They just completed a round of recruitment and are excited to welcome their newest members.

“For me at least, [joining Theta Chi] has been probably the best decision I made at Tufts,” Vidhun said. It provides an outlet and a community that you can rely on. … Having that space where you can express yourself, be yourself, be supported no matter what … is unique.”

As for its future post-probation, Theta Chi is looking forward to reopening its house for social events.

“Were going back to a normal party semester,” Flamm said. We've also reached out to other Greek life organizations to see how things work now, make sure that we can follow the rules, make sure everybody's safe and we can make a welcoming community [for] people who are coming into our house.”