Theta Charter Revoked

Geoff Guenther

An alleged incident of hazing at Colgate’s chapter of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority has led to the chapter being placed on interim suspension by the University. In response to the alleged incident, the national Grand Council of Kappa Alpha Theta has withdrawn the chapter’s charter. The interim suspension of Kappa Alpha Theta (Theta) has placed all chapter-related activities on hold until a decision regarding the sorority has been reached by the University.

“Everything has been placed on pause,” Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Greek Life Tim Mansfield said. “What we need to do now is to find out if there is any truth behind these allegations.”

The alleged hazing occurred on the night of September 16th, one day after the current class of new members were given their bids.

Mansfield stressed that no final decision has been made by the University with regards to Theta’s status.

The fact that the national Grand Council has severed its relationship with Colgate will have a serious effect on Theta’s future because, as Mansfield explained, “Greek chapters must be recognized by the University, and to be recognized by the University, chapters must maintain national affiliation.”

Colgate’s policy is very strict with regards to hazing, stating that, “Groups that violate the University hazing policy will forfeit recognition.” The Student Handbook also explains that New York State has an Anti-Hazing Law, which makes hazing in the first or second degree a felony.

“Serious mistakes mean serious consequences,” Mansfield said.

A University hearing regarding the allegations against Theta is tentatively scheduled for October 9th.

Speculation has spread throughout the student body about the incident and its implications for Theta and for Greek Life in general at Colgate. Many students wonder whether the current members of Theta could begin colonizing a new group, and where those women would live if Theta lost University recognition.

“There are a lot of what-ifs,” Mansfield said, “but there are no answers right now.”

As for a wider impact that these allegations may have, Mansfield suspects that the other nine recognized Greek chapters on campus are being more cautious with regards to their behavior.

“An alleged incident like this does draw attention to the Greek-Letter community,” Mansfield said. “I think this may slow some of the positive momentum that we have found [in Greek Life] over the last couple of years. If these allegations are true, then [Theta] needs to know that they have let me down, let their alumnae down, let their 49 new members down, and let the Greek-Letter community down.”

The members of Theta in the Classes of 2009 and 2010, who were initiated in previous years, will be granted Kappa Alpha Theta alumnae status by the national Grand Council, effectively making them “Thetas for life,” as Mansfield said. These women will not be able to join another sorority should Theta be officially unrecognized.

The new members of Theta have not been initiated, though, and so will not be granted the same status. This has led some students to believe that the current Theta pledge class will be allowed to join other sororities in a future recruitment period. Again, that is something that there is no answer for at the moment.

There are also rumors of an attempt to bring another sorority to campus. This process would be overseen by Colgate’s Panhellenic Association and would be very lengthy. As of now, no such plans exist. There have been attempts to bring another sorority to campus for quite some time, with no success as of yet.

Mansfield also stressed that the alleged incident should not change people’s views of Theta.

“Kappa Alpha Theta is a strong chapter and this one alleged incident should not characterize them as a chapter nor as women,” he said.

As it stands now, Theta has not been unrecognized by the University and will remain on interim suspension until a formal hearing.