Probationary period for fraternity follows appeal of revocation of registration
Over the summer, the Theta Xi fraternity was cited for a disturbance of the peace complaint regarding fireworks being set off from its lawn.
Initially, Theta Xi faced revocation of its UC Davis chapter’s registration, however, the members decided to undertake a judicial and student housing appeals process. As a result of the successful appeal, there will be two years of conditional registration — essentially a probationary period.
Donald Dudley, the director of Student Judicial Affairs (SJA), spoke about how the appeals trial of Theta Xi was handled, explaining how conditional registration restricts the fraternity.
“The appeal process has been completed,” Dudley said. “The appeals committee reduced the revocation to two years of conditional registration. The conditional registration means if they violate campus policy, or local codes [and] state laws during that period, then registration would likely be revoked.”
With regard to what initially sparked the revocation, Dudley confirmed that it was based on an “incident related to disturbance of the peace conduct that raised concerns for health and safety.”
Jonathan Montes, a fourth-year psychology major and the president of Theta Xi as well as their Interfraternity Council representative, stated that the incident in question involved three individuals setting off “illegal fireworks” in the backyard of Theta Xi’s Chapter House. One of the individuals was a former member of the Theta Xi chapter. Montes said he was “disappointed at the outcome” of the appeal.
“The real perpetrators of the incident involving fireworks escaped without being charged while the chapter as a whole was punished for something it had nothing to do with,” Montes said. “The appropriate action for the University would have been to dismiss the original decision in its entirety.”
Courtney O’Connor, the assistant director of policy and conduct at the Student Housing Office, confirmed another incident involving a Theta Xi president reportedly trespassing onto the fraternity house’s neighboring funeral home in the fall of 2016. O’Connor said that this event was unrelated to this conditional registration enforcement.
“From what I heard, it was that noise complaints violate university policies,” said Megan Bull, the president of the Davis Collegiate Panhellenic Association. “If they break rules, then it goes to university trials. Why it was so strict, I don’t know, because I feel like two years is a long time.”
Bull said that she heard firsthand from Theta Xi members attending Panhellenic meetings that no members were living in the house over the summer when the firework incident is said to have occurred.
“Theta Xi came into one of our meetings for Panhellenic,” Bull said. “They said that it was an alumni, that no one in Theta Xi lives in the chapter house over summer. It was an alumni that came in and caused the noise complaint. [Afterward], they were essentially getting kicked off of campus, they were on bad registration, and they appealed it. They [were able] to have a trial and go and talk to the university, explain their side of things, and the university said, ‘That’s OK, we get it, but now you’re on conditional registration for two years.’”
Montes confirmed that no current member of the fraternity living in the chapter house had “a right to enter the property during the summer.” However, three current members were living in the house.
“The owner of the property hired [three] members of the chapter to do maintenance work at the property during the summer and those individuals lived on the property pursuant to an extension of their lease agreements,” Montes said. “However, none of those employees were present or involved in the incident.”
Besides the prohibition of Theta Xi-related misconduct for two years, the fraternity has also been barred from sorority events. Bull explained the logistics of having good standing in the eyes of the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and the university.
“One of our rules is that we can only do events with sororities or fraternities in good standing,” Bull said. “They’re not in good standing because they’re conditional — anything that isn’t good standing, technically, is in bad standing.”
In the spring of 2017, a Theta Xi member faced sexual assault allegations. Bull confirmed that the probationary ruling had nothing to do with last spring’s assault allegations. Speaking for herself, however, Bull speculated that “there could be some correlation” between the past sexual assault allegation and the severity of the response to the noise complaint.
When asked how the fraternity is being punished, Bull said that the only tangible change other than higher scrutiny is that they must follow the enforced sorority ban.
“There are no holds on them,” Bull said. “They’re allowed to have alcohol, they’re allowed to have events, they just are restricted from associating with sororities, because of our national policies.”
Additionally, Bull said Theta Xi “came into Panhellenic meetings and we gave them a list of things they need to fix if they ever want a chance to do things with sororities again.”
Specifically, the Panhellenic Society laid out a contingency plan composed of sexual assault training, bystander intervention and TIPS certification.
Written by: Aaron Liss — firstname.lastname@example.org