Lehigh's Theta Xi chapter was granted its appeal and the chapter returned to deferred dissolution until May 31, 2020. Alumni got involved and sent out a petition receiving over 100 signatures in favor of Theta Xi to appeal their punishment. (Vincent Liu/B&W Staff)

Theta Xi fraternity placed on disciplinary probation following texting incident


Theta Xi fraternity was placed on disciplinary probation effective March 28, according to the Lehigh Greeks blog. The probation will last until Dec. 31, 2018.

Theta Xi’s probation comes as a result of multiple incidents — the most recent being an individual associated with Theta Xi sending an inappropriate text message to members of the Lehigh community regarding a party March 8.

The blog stated that Theta Xi violated three parts of the Lehigh Code of Conduct: respect for community (encouraging others), respect for others and respect for community (failure to comply). The fraternity took responsibility for all three charges.

The blog also stated that future violations within this time period could result in additional punishments for the fraternity, including suspension and expulsion. Other requirements could be added before the fraternity can be reinstated, according to the blog.

Multiple requirements were laid out for the fraternity to complete.

“Host a workshop for fraternity men about the ‘rush text’ culture, appropriate communication, the messages that you want to send to future brothers and using social media,” the blog stated. “This workshop should be hosted during the fall 2017 semester prior to Oct. 6, 2017.”

Theta Xi’s social and recruitment chairs must also meet with Lehigh’s department of communications before May 1. The purpose of the meeting is for fraternity members to take the information they learn and share it in the workshop, according to the blog.

Someone from Theta Xi must also meet with the Interfraternity Council to discuss the fraternity’s timeline, recruitment process and recruitment expectations for the upcoming academic year.

The blog stated the reasoning for the punishment and requirements for reinstatement.

“Theta Xi pled responsible to all three charges: encouraging others (the text encouraged underage students to attend a pregame party), respect for others (the text was highly disrespectful to several different demographics) and failure to comply (the chapter failed to comply with the guidelines for new members by allowing several students to act as ghost pledges).”

Ian Birky, Lehigh’s interim dean of student affairs, and Donald Outing, Lehigh’s vice president for equity and community, sent an email to the Lehigh community stating the university’s response to the situation March 10.

“The language and content of the message was highly offensive and antithetical to our university values and our Principles of Our Equitable Community,” the email said. “Our community cannot and will not tolerate such language. Our primary concern is for those targeted by this hateful language, and we will offer support for those who have been impacted.”

The email also acknowledged that the student who sent the text message has apologized on social media. It said the situation is being addressed by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Expectations.

Theta Xi was previously placed on disciplinary probation March 21 through Dec. 18, 2017. The length of the probation was extended by a little over a year following the incident regarding the text message.

The incident that resulted in the first probation occurred Feb. 17 and resulted in the fraternity being charged with three Code of Conduct violations: fire safety violation; unauthorized consumption, distribution or possession; and irresponsible distribution of alcohol. The fraternity was found responsible for the first two of those three charges.

As a result, Theta Xi is required to develop an educational program — in cooperation with IFC and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs — related to the violations, according to the Lehigh Greeks blog. The program must be completed by April 21.

The fraternity was issued a $500 fine for a fire safety violation which must be paid by Friday, according to the blog.

“The chapter admitted to blocking the fire exit, through negligence on the part of chapter officers, and to lacking meaningful controls over alcohol in the chapter house,” the blog stated. “There is insufficient proof that hold the chapter responsible for the irresponsible distribution of alcohol (drinking games).”

Theta Xi president Anton Chrysanthopoulos declined to comment.

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