After the Suspension of Two Chapters, What’s Next for Greek Life?

The chapter house for FIJI is now being used as general student housing after the fraternity was suspended in the fall after COVID-19 health and safety protocol violations (Photo Mary Frasier/The Gettysburgian)

The chapter house for FIJI is now being used as general student housing after the fraternity was suspended in the fall after COVID-19 health and safety protocol violations (Photo Mary Frasier/The Gettysburgian)

By Katie Oglesby, News Editor

The Gettysburg College chapters of Delta Gamma and Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) were suspended for violations of COVID-19 protocols on campus during the fall 2020 semester, and these sanctions were issued following the de-densification process that ensued after 64 students tested positive for the virus. Around 1,300 of the students on campus were sent home after the outbreak; only first-years and several other groups of students were permitted to stay in residence. 

This move to de-densify occurred two weeks after rush week for Greek organizations on campus. 

FIJI will be suspended until Jan. 1, 2023 and Delta Gamma will be suspended until COVID-19 restrictions are no longer in place, according to Director of Student Activities and Greek Life (OSAGL) Jonathan Allen. These suspensions mean that the organizations cannot host gatherings, meetings, or participate in chapter operations like recruitment. Essentially, neither chapter will be able to function at an organized level until the sanctions are lifted. FIJI members are also not permitted to live in their chapter house, and it is currently being used as general student housing. 

“On behalf of Delta Gamma Fraternity and the members of Beta Lambda-Gettysburg, we look forward to resuming chapter operations upon the conclusion of this suspension,” said Delta Gamma President Jerienne Abercrombie ‘22. 

The former president of FIJI did not respond to a request for comment. 

Under current rules, the rest of the Greek organizations are required to abide by the college’s restrictions on gathering sizes and must complete training through OSAGL to be permitted to hold in-person events and meetings. 

According to the behavior rubric put in place by the college prior to the start of the spring semester, student organizations must follow guidelines that require actively enforcing mask-wearing and six-foot distancing, among others. Violating these guidelines for the first time will result in the short-term suspension of in-person gatherings, and the consequence of a second violation would be suspension of the organization until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. This is the sanction Delta Gamma is currently facing. 

Harsher penalties—like suspension until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted upon a first offense and suspension for an even longer period of time following a second offense—will occur if an organization hosts a gathering that exceeds room occupancies, takes place outside of the 5-mile radius, has alcohol present, or was planned with the intention of spreading the virus. 

President of Sigma Chi Giacomo Coppola ‘22 acknowledged that the COVID-19 restrictions have impacted his organization, but asserted that his fraternity is following college guidelines to ensure a safe campus environment. 

Sigma Chi Fraternity House (Photo Allyson Frantz/The Gettysburgian)

Sigma Chi Fraternity House (Photo Allyson Frantz/The Gettysburgian)

“The year before the pandemic, we raised roughly $54,000 for cancer research during our annual philanthropy initiative,” Coppola said. “When we were sent home last spring, we were still able to raise roughly $30,000, but this year we hope to do even more. We have been maximizing our efficiency and productivity in online meetings by gathering our entire chapter via Zoom once a week, and have created a COVID chair role within our fraternity to ensure that our brothers are abiding by school policies and to seek ways in which we can help the community,” he added. 

“Our chapter leaders understand how serious the pandemic is and are actively working with their organizations to make sure they are doing their part to keep the community safe,” said Allen. 

 “The manner in which we respond to the challenges within our community will determine the success and longevity of our organizations in the future.” – President of Sigma Chi Giacomo Coppola ‘22

Minnie Holcomb ‘23, a new member of Alpha Delta Pi, explained that she still feels welcomed despite an atypical sorority experience thus far. 

“I have made so many wonderful friends in a safe and socially distanced way,” she said. “The members of Alpha Delta Pi have gotten so creative and have still been able to make me feel very involved in the sorority.”

Coppola indicated that this is a crucial moment for Greek Life on campus. “The manner in which we respond to the challenges within our community will determine the success and longevity of our organizations in the future,” he said. “Greek Organizations often get lumped together under the same assumptions and accusations, but we are proud of how [Sigma Chi] has responded and are confident that the College and the student body has noticed that we, as an organization, have been respectful and proactive with regard to the Better Together guidelines.” 

Due to safety concerns, OSAGL plans to implement changes in the yearly Greek evaluation process. “We are also making adjustments to account for many members being part of the remote cohort,” said Allen. “While the evaluation looks different this year, its core tenants of encouraging the continued growth of the organizations and measuring the health of their operations are still the central focus,” he added. 

In the 2019 Greek Evaluations, FIJI scored the lowest of all the Greek organizations, ultimately earning a score of 19.8 out of 100. This score was deemed ‘underachieving’ by the evaluation parameters. Comparatively, Delta Gamma scored 44.3 out of 100, which was considered ‘satisfactory.’ 

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Author: Katie Oglesby

Katelyn (Katie) Oglesby '23 serves as the News Editor of the Gettysburgian. She is an English with a Writing Concentration and Political Science double major. She is from San Diego, California, and often spends most of her free time reading or writing. She is also the 5k Treasurer for Alpha Phi Omega and a staff editor for the Mercury Literary Magazine.

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