February 10, 2005

Delta Chi Returns to Cornell

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Reorganization efforts to salvage Delta Chi, a fraternity at Cornell whose charter has been suspended since 2002, are underway this month. The reorganization process will consist of membership recruitment, alumni development, new member education, officer training and building relationships with the University and other campus organizations.

The Delta Chi chapter at Cornell was founded on October 13, 1890 by eleven law students and has since initiated over 90,000 men nationally.

The fraternity was a professional organization open to men studying law. In 1922, Delta Chi opened its body to the general student population.

The Cornell chapter of Delta Chi is no longer active; the charter was never revoked, however, by the fraternity headquarters. David Webber ’68 is the chapter’s conservator and an alum of Delta Chi, who will oversee the reorganization process.

“We are looking for leaders, scholars, athletes and men who are eager to revive the Delta Chi tradition at Cornell,” said Webber. Delta Chi representatives, the heads of the reformation, members of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs and a student committee met on February 7 to discuss the reorganization.

“It is my job to make sure there is solid, effective conversation between the alumni board, the reorganization committee and the University,” said Webber. “I would love to see a group of men that are well behaved, academically successful and men who are willing to become more involved at Cornell.”

Webber recommended that the chapter’s charter be suspended in 2002. “We had a fraternity where the organization didn’t help them grow into adult males. The chapter was not living up to our expectations and the members were fine men individually, but as a collective group they tended to behave badly,” he said.

“Delta Chi was on probation for years because of alcohol, drug and hazing violations. They were not headed in the right direction and were not responsible for their actions,” said Webber.

Webber added that “the chapter had no funds to support itself. The student treasurer stole money from the chapter; he did not pay his dues or housing fees, ate the food and used Delta Chi’s facilities. Also, members of the senior class did not want to pay housing and chapter dues, which sent the house into a downward spiral of debt.” These factors led to the City of Ithaca to close down the Delta Chi house in 1996. Many alumni are already eager to become advisors and mentors to the undergraduates. The committee is optimistic that the Delta Chi chapter will move into their house at 102 The Knoll by the Fall 2006.

The funding of the new house is still being negotiated with the alumni and the University. The reorganization committee will approach students who went through formal membership recruitment and did not accept or receive a bid. Webber said, “These men might not have found what they were looking for in a fraternity. Hopefully, Delta Chi will help fill the void.” Delta Chi is trying to sell the land around the house to the University in order to make money to begin the renovation of the house. Delta Chi will own the land on which the house sits in order to be able to renovate the house on their own. John Ziegler, the leadership consultant for Delta Chi, estimates that there are 1,300 active alumni from the Cornell chapter that are willing to help in the reorganization process. Ziegler explained, “The chapter’s charter was suspended in 2002 by the alumni and their board of directors. Membership size and possibly a lack of motivation by the members were the reasons for the deterioration of the chapter,” Ziegler said.

“The charter will be lifted of its suspension once the new members are initiated,” said Ziegler. “We are already being approved to begin information sessions and start the recruitment process for membership within the InterFraternity Council.” Delta Chi directors are working closely with the University.

Reed Davis, the director of expansion and colony operations for Delta Chi said, “Our alumni got involved and have been working to make the University the primary overseer of the property.”

“The alumni asked the undergraduates to move out of the house so they could begin a mass renovation. The undergrads felt that without the physical house, they were not unified enough to maintain an organized chapter,” said Davis. “There was little enthusiasm among the members to keep it going. I hope this does not reflect on their character. The fraternity needed a chapter house to be successful and they students essentially gave up,” he said.

Once a core group of men is established, new members will engage in brotherhood building and leadership training activities. “With the renovation soon to be underway and the gift of the property, I believe the reorganization of Delta Chi will be a success,” said Davis.

Archived article by Allison Markowitz
Sun Staff Writer