Following an admission that the Tufts chapter of the Chi Omega sorority violated University rules and policies on Feb. 25 and 26, the Judiciary of the Committee on Fraternities and Sororities (CFS-J) suspended the sorority for one academic year on April 21. The suspension will begin on May 22.
Although the Chi Omega sorority members will still be allowed to live in their house, the sorority will not be allowed to host social events on or off campus. In addition to this, the sorority will not be allowed to have a pledge class for the fall of 2005 or spring of 2006.
The Dean of Students Office brought three charges against the Tufts chapter of Chi Omega, Chi Alpha: “participating in the hazing of fraternity pledges,” “participating in the distribution of alcohol to underage individuals” and “contributing to the endangerment of others.”
According to a press release from the Office of Community Relations, each charge relates to the participation of Chi Omega members in Delta Tau Delta (DTD) pledge activities. One such activity occurred at the Chi Alpha chapter house, while another occurred at an off-campus apartment.
According to the same press release, the chapter admitted in writing to “participating in the hazing of Delta Tau Delta fraternity pledges.”
Chi Omega president Elizabeth Thys described the incident at the Chi Omega house as “a tradition,” according to the Office of Community Relations.
The CFS-J concluded that the incident demonstrated “complete disregard for the University’s and sorority’s policies against hazing.”
In a written statement, Thys said, “Chi Omega places the safety of our members and guests as a priority. The Chi Omega chapter intends to appeal the sanctions imposed on the chapter by the Tufts Judiciary Committee on Fraternities and Sororities.”
In addition, the majority of the CFS-J panel believed that there was some connection between the hazing incident at Chi Omega’s on-campus house and the other cited hazing incident in the off-campus apartment.
Although the chapter admits that members of the sorority were present at the off-campus house during hazing events, Chi Omega told the CFS-J that these members were acting independently from the sorority.
“Chi Omega claims that these sorority members were acting independently, without the sanction of the sorority. These individual members … have refused to step forward, and the chapter has refused to disclose their identities,” the Office of Community Relations said.
It is currently unclear as to whether the Tufts administration will push for further investigation of the identity of the Chi Omega members involved in the off-campus incident.
In addition to the conduct of the sorority, the CFS-J voted to suspend the sorority chapter for one academic year due to “the chapter’s response to the charges.”
One member of the CFS-J cast a dissenting vote in this decision.
In their written response to the investigation, Chi Omega denied responsibility of the charges of “participating in the distribution of alcohol to underage individuals” and “contributing to the endangerment of others.”
A review of Chi Omega is scheduled for January 2006. At this time, the sorority may petition the CSF-J to lift the sanctions against it, provided that the sorority has not sustained any new infractions against it. If the suspension is lifted, a one-semester probation period will be instated.
The Chi Omega National Organization has imposed sanctions against the Tufts chapter of the sorority, and is investigating the incident.
The Chi Alpha chapter’s suspension marks the first disciplinary action against a sorority at Tufts this year.