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Theta Delta Chi and Greek life at Stanford

Provost Persis Drell comments on the decision on an appeal in a case involving the Theta Delta Chi fraternity.

The university today issued a decision on the appeal submitted by the Theta Delta Chi fraternity in a case that was heard by the Organization Conduct Board. The case involved the presence of illicit substances in the TDX house and the failure to report them.

The decision issued today rejects the appeal and imposes a loss of recognition for TDX as a Greek organization at Stanford. Because the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has informed us that it expects to provide additional information relevant to the case, the duration of the loss of recognition will be determined after the university receives this additional information. A summary of the outcome is available here.

Under university policy for Organization Conduct Board cases, an appeal is heard and decided by the vice provost for student affairs. That is what has occurred in this case. I am writing today to provide clarity that the denial of the appeal is final; there are no further appeals under our process; and as provost, I fully support the decision that has been made.

Many students and alumni have written to the university in support of TDX and the value it has brought to their lives. I have read these compelling and heartfelt messages, and I want to assure our community that Theta Delta Chi’s appeal was given extensive, thoughtful, fair-minded consideration. Balancing accountability with opportunities for learning and growth is an important part of our processes and will continue to be considered as the duration of the loss of recognition is determined. The decision reflected the importance of collective responsibility as a governing principle for student organizations at Stanford, and the conclusion that a re-set in chapter membership and cultural norms is necessary for TDX today.

The TDX appeal letter, which has been widely circulated in our community, does not provide a complete or accurate account of what occurred in the case. It includes inaccuracies in what was told to and known by professional staff, what was known by and shared with emergency responders and student leadership’s knowledge of and role in the events at issue. Unfortunately, some in our community may reach conclusions about the case based upon the account in this appeal letter. I am confident in the investigation of the facts in the case, and I am confident that the sanction being imposed reflects the seriousness of the conduct at issue.

I also believe it is important to state clearly that the decision in this case should not be taken as a judgment on the future of the Greek system itself.

We believe Greek life has value at Stanford. Contrary to the assumptions I have seen in some of the commentary, there is no effort by administrators to eliminate Greek life at Stanford. Relationships are a critical part of the college experience, and many students find rich and rewarding relationships in the Greek system. As we have said before, we are committed to continuing 10 Greek houses on campus.

Our effort is to improve Greek life – squarely facing the things that need improvement (and which have been raised as concerns by many of our current students) and working in partnership with students and alumni to address them effectively.

We’ve been doing this through a series of productive working groups on the future of Greek life. These working groups have brought together Greek student leaders, campus professionals and alumni chapter advisors to develop recommendations in key areas that are critical to the success of the Greek system.

At Stanford we seek a community where all students feel safe, welcomed and valued, and where all residences provide healthy and fun environments where our students can thrive. That is our aspiration for the Greek system, and we intend to continue working in partnership with students and alumni in pursuit of it.

Persis Drell