OPINION: Death of a Chapter

Chad Wittekind

An overdramatic title perhaps, but one that sums up what has happened to the Ohio Lambda Chapter of Phi Delta Theta. I am writing this in hopes that it will shed some light on the rumors circulating regarding the fate of my former chapter.

Two years ago, Phi Delta Theta was one of the strongest chapters on campus. With 56 members and a brand new house, this point is hard to argue. That very house would become the main reason for our downfall. Built for a little under a million dollars, it contained everything we could ask for: three lounges, a chapter room, twelve bedrooms, two game rooms, a dining room, four bathrooms and a kitchen. Unfortunately, with such luxury comes a price. In our case, it was in the ballpark of $4,300 a month, plus utilities.

Soon enough, we found it difficult to fill our massive house. The rooms themselves made Eastway’s dorms look gargantuan. Each room was expected to house two brothers, two desks, two beds, two closets (not built into the walls), a refrigerator and anything else one may wish to add. As it became increasingly harder to fill our house, the individuals living there began to suffer. Because there was barely enough money to pay our mortgage, we lacked the money to make even basic repairs.

As the living conditions worsened, fewer people wished to live there. By May of 2005, we had insufficient funds to pay our own utilities. For two weeks, the residents of the Phi Delt house did without electricity. For more than a month, they lived without hot water. Our Housing Corps claimed they had no money to help us, and expected us to pay $350 per month, plus utilities. To break even on our mortgage payment, we were required to have 20 individuals living there. By January of 2005, we had 11.

Headquarters descended on us like a pack of wolves, claiming our recruitment was horrendous (though we had 18 pledges in the fall and nine in the spring). They believed our leadership to be faulty. We were informed the only reason we still existed as a chapter was because we had the house. Of course, in August, our guys were very surprised to find out they had all been evicted by our Housing Corps.

The gentlemen from our headquarters are underhanded and extremely shady. They exist only to ensure the business aspect of the general fraternity functions correctly. Members from headquarters initiated interviews for each of us. They completely disregarded any past experience we had with the fraternity and instead decided our fate by the interview alone.

It is disheartening to see what has befallen my chapter. There were so many of us that worked extremely hard to see it succeed. Yet, headquarters cared little for that and gave no second thought to engineering our dismantling. The true reason headquarters came after us is we stopped being their lapdogs. When we stood up for ourselves, they acted to break our backs.

There are those who are happy about what has happened to us but don’t you think the ex-brothers of Phi Delta Theta are done just yet. We may not be Phi Delts, but that hardly means we are done being Greek.

Chad Wittekind is the former vice president of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and a guest columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.