The Maroon-News recently received an unsigned e-mail from a mailing address under the title “Raider Newz” concerning current affairs involving the former Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity and its vacant Broad Street house and chapel. Although several other organizations including Kappa Delta Rho (KDR) and Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) refused to sell their houses when the University required all Greeks to do so in 2003, DKE was the only organization to follow through with a lawsuit against the school at the time.
The letter written to the paper posed questions about the future of DKE and all Greek life at Colgate. It questioned the possibility of the school eliminating the Greek system altogether. The anonymous author cited that President of the University and Professor of Philosophy and Religion Rebecca Chopp and Board of Trustees Chairman Chris Clifford have not acted on DKE alumnus Phil Geier’s proposal last fall to sell the DKE house to the university in order to reinstate the fraternity chapter.
“There are no plans to eliminate the Greek system at Colgate,” Chopp said. “The issue is not even up for discussion.”
As reported by The Maroon-News last week, the school recently announced further financial investment into the Greek system houses. Fraternity and Sorority Initiative Committee (FSAI) member and Delta Upsilon (DU) Alumni Leader Lee Woltman graduated from Colgate in 1968 and has remained deeply involved ever since.
“The current administration is by far the most pro-fraternity administration I have worked with,” Woltman said. “There’s no way this administration wants to drop [Greek life].”
Chopp also stated that Clifford did in fact respond to Geier’s request to reinstate the fraternity. Clifford wrote that he expected the evaluation process to take more than a year.
“The administration with the board’s support had declined to support informal requests from two different student groups for establishment of two new Greek-letter organizations,” Clifford said.
Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Director of Greek-Letter Operations Tim Mansfield corroborated this account.
“We can’t say, ‘No, we’re not expanding,’ to one group and then turn around and invite DKE back,” he said. “Sometimes, it’s just about being consistent.”
However, there is a lot of enthusiasm about the Greek system amongst the administration, and there are many people investing money, time and effort into the entire program. Woltman, for one, would love to see an expansion in the future.
“From my point of view, I’d be thrilled to see more houses on campus,” he said, “DKE and others. We want the houses that exist to be strong and not marginal. We want there to be enough interest on campus. If for example KDR came back, do we have enough men interested? Does that compromise the health of DU? And yes, I think it would be a problem.”
However, Mansfield continued, “Statistically, I think there’s a need and an interest for another sorority.”
Mansfield envisions a positive future for Greek life at Colgate.
“People like Rebecca Chopp and [Vice President and Dean of the College] Charlotte Johnson are actually listening to students,” he said. He has scheduled a two-day event this summer for Greek members to discuss this future and “take charge of where Greek life is headed.”