UF lifts sanctions on frat after appeal


Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2008 at 5:01 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 9, 2008 at 5:01 p.m.

A University of Florida fraternity, which was accused of throwing an

unauthorized party that left one underage student vomiting into a roadside

trash can, has successfully appealed some sanctions that were levied

against it November.

UF's assistant vice president for student affairs will allow Phi Delta

Theta to recruit new members this semester, overturning a punishment

previously handed down by UF's Dean of Students office. Phi Delta Theta's

appeal was based on a claim that insufficient evidence had been provided to

demonstrate that any party ever took place.

The fraternity, commonly called Phi Delt, will still have restrictions

placed on social events. Phi Delta Theta will be permitted to throw one

social this semester with alcohol, but all other events must be dry,

according to the sanctions. The fraternity must also complete other

requirements, including the hosting of an alcohol risk management program

and participation in community service.

The case against Phi Delta Theta began when UF Police encountered two

intoxicated women, one of whom was vomiting, on campus Aug. 30. Both women

said they had attended a party at Phi Delta Theta's house that night,

according to the police report.

But UFPD officers never went to the fraternity house to confirm whether

there had been a party, according to Matt Helgeson, the chapter's

president.

"No officers came to the house," he said. "We never even had a phone call

that night."

The police report makes no mention of officers contacting or visiting the

house, and Helgeson maintains the chapter "absolutely" didn't have a party

that night.

The initial recommendation for punishment came from UF's Greek Judicial

Board, a group made up of students in the Greek system. The board

determines guilt based on a "preponderance of evidence," a standard lower

than "beyond a reasonable doubt."

Chris Loschiavo, UF's assistant dean of students and director of student

judicial affairs, said he was convinced by the evidence that an

unauthorized party took place. But he added that "we've definitely had

cases that were much stronger."

The allegations against the fraternity came on the heels of another

incident where a fraternity member was accused of throwing a party at his

residence where new recruits were drinking. Fraternities and sororities are

not permitted to incorporate alcohol into recruitment events under Greek

rules.

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