The Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity received one year of social probation and a review that could endanger its charter as punishment for violations in late August and mid-September.
The fraternity pled guilty to violating alcohol and safety policies at two parties this semester, one the night of former fraternity President Courtland Smith’s death.
The Greek Judicial Board issued the stiff penalties partly in response to what it considered the fraternity’s “disrespect for the seriousness of the judicial process.”
The chapter failed to comply with sanctions from a fire code violation last year and accrued two more violations less than three weeks after Smith’s death while under investigation for the Aug. 22 party.
The judicial board’s decision notes the fraternity’s “extensive” record with the board, including alcohol violations in August 2007 and September 2005.
In addition to the punishments set out by the judicial board, Delta Kappa Epsilon also adopted several self-imposed sanctions.
These include the donation of the chapter’s yearly social budget and 500 community service hours to complete the Courtland Benjamin Smith Memorial Habitat for Humanity House. They will also sponsor a substance abuse awareness plan.
The judicial board noted the thoughtfulness with which the fraternity considered its self-imposed sanctions, saying its suggestions were appropriate to help the chapter learn from its mistakes and help the Greek community move forward.
Under social probation, the fraternity will not be allowed to hold formal and informal social gatherings, mixers, cocktails, tailgates or alumni events. The ruling also shortens the organization’s new member pledge period.
Fraternity members stressed that while probation isn’t something they’re excited about, they’re eager to take a leadership role on issues in the Greek community.
“Our main priority and focus is on improving DKE life, the Courtland Smith memorial house, and the drug awareness program,” said Patrick Fleming, co-president of the fraternity and Daily Tar Heel editorial board member.
The ruling, issued Friday, says the Fraternity and Sorority Standards Review Board will do a review of the chapter. It has the authority to remove the organization’s UNC recognition.
The standards board will bring together members of the fraternity’s alumni network, national organization, local chapter and University administration to evaluate the “health and well-being” of the chapter’s community service, pledging practices, violations and other aspects.
But fraternity leaders said they are working hard to change the character of the organization and the Greek community in general.
“We want to be the leaders of positive reform within the UNC Greek system and help to foster a more constructive relationship with the University,” the fraternity said in a written statement.
The judicial board began its investigation after administrators visited the fraternity house the morning after Smith’s death. Smith was seen at the party about four hours before he was killed by a police officer near Greensboro early Aug. 23.
Administrators said there was evidence of a party involving alcohol the night before and instructed the judicial board to investigate the matter.
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