Alum Letter to President Chopp


Here is the text of a letter I recently sent to President Chopp. I thought I would pass it along to you, so that Colgate students can see one alumnus’s perspective on NVRE and the sale of the fraternity houses.


Dear President Chopp:

Before me, on my desk, sits a package of information from the President of the Alumni Corporation of Phi Delta Theta. It contains my proxy vote for the sale of the Phi Delta Theta chapter house to Colgate. I am voting in favor of the sale of the chapter house to Colgate, but this vote includes certain personal conditions which I feel obligated to share with you, as they are connected to Colgate University.

I suppose that, by not considering any of the alternatives proposed by the fraternities and sororities at Colgate, the University can claim a victory in this most recent battle for the future of those fraternities and sororities. Congratulations; the University’s refusal to compromise on this issue appears to have worked in its favor. However, the University’s refusal to compromise will be reflected in my own refusals to compromise.

I refuse to compromise my belief that the University intends to destroy its fraternity and sorority chapters. This process began when I was an undergraduate with the inception of Sophomore rush, and it continues in the NVRE. Once the University owns the chapter houses, I have no doubt that the end of the fraternity and sorority chapters at Colgate is inevitable.

I refuse to compromise my belief that the University is acting prejudicially towards all fraternity and sororities in response to the misdeeds and misjudgments of individuals. My own chapter, Phi Delta Theta, has been alcohol-free since the year 2000 and has demonstrated on many occasions that it has made a commitment to returning to the values espoused by its founding brothers. It has maintained a GPA well above the all-men’s and all-fraternity average. It has found ways to recruit 56 new members in the last two years, despite the ban on alcohol within the chapter house. Despite this, Phi Delta Theta is required to sell its chapter house. The prejudice demonstrated in this decision by the University is as obvious as it is unfair. Would the University, upon finding a minority student guilty of a major infraction of its rules, decide to impose sanctions upon all members of that person’s heritage who attend Colgate? I would like to think that it would not. Yet, somehow, all fraternities and sororities are being forced to sell their chapter houses in response to the actions of individuals.

I refuse to compromise my intent to discuss Colgate’s culture of political correctness with anyone who is interested in applying to Colgate and seeks my opinion as an alumnus. As a teacher at an independent day school, I remain in contact with many alumni and alumnae who are applying to colleges and universities. Rest assured, I will strongly urge them not to consider applying to Colgate. I will strongly urge them to consider applying to colleges and universities which do not demonstrate obvious and antagonistic bias against fraternities and sororities.

I refuse to compromise my belief that my experiences as an undergraduate member of Phi Delta Theta were anything less than positive and enriching.

I refuse to compromise my belief that the education of nearly three thousand intelligent students is being held hostage by the demands of those radical professors at Colgate who see their ultra-liberal agendas as taking priority over discussion, debate, or dissent. An illustrative anecdote: during my junior year at Colgate, one my professors informed the class that we would investigate the ways in which fraternities were similar to the Nazi party of Germany.

I refuse to compromise my belief that Colgate is no longer worthy of my financial support.

I refuse to compromise my belief that my views, along with the views of thousands of other students, parents, and alumni/ae, will be categorically ignored by the administration and Board of Trustees of Colgate, as they have been so often in the past.


Richard Andriole, Jr. ’94