A newly leaked letter from the Dartmouth College Board of Trustees shows that senior administrators from the university negotiated with banned Alpha Delta about the possibility of a return to campus only to reconsider and tell the fraternity that they were banned for good.
Alpha Delta was banned in April 2015 for what administrators said was a “long-standing” and “overtly condoned” practice of branding their pledges by burning their Greek letters into new members’ skin.
According to the Dartmouth website Dartblog, University Trustee Chairman Bill Helman acknowledged that while Greek-letter societies often returned to campus in the past, he told Alpha Delta that Dartmouth would be changing its policies so that this can no longer happen.
“Senior members of the College administration clearly sent mixed signals to representatives of the corporation,” Helman said.
“We regret that we now have to choose between harming the College’s relationship with a group of alumni who have contributed a great deal to Dartmouth and worked hard on behalf of their fraternity, and taking a step that would undermine the Moving Dartmouth Forward initiative, a high-priority effort aimed at eliminating high-risk behavior and increasing inclusivity while strengthening Dartmouth’s long-standing commitment to leadership in teaching and learning.”
Helman notified the fraternity that the trustees were choosing not to allow Alpha Delta to return to campus in any recognizable form.
Diana Lawrence, a spokesman for Dartmouth, confirmed the letter:
“Our student handbook has always stated that de-recognition is permanent,” she said in an email. “Language was added to the Greek letter organization handbook to further clarify de-recognition.”
Helman said that the board would consider applications for a new college-recognized organization at the fraternity’s $1.4 million mansion, given that the new organization is different from Alpha Delta.
This week, Alpha Delta officially lost the right to its house at 9 East Wheelock St. after the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled against its appeal of a zoning decision that revoked its status as a student residence.