The party is over for Greek life at the University of New Mexico — at least for now.
UNM Greek life is on “social restriction” as of Dec. 13, 2017 until Feb. 19, 2018, due to alleged activities that occurred during the Fall 2017 semester that were not in accordance with Greek life values, Matthew Lumpp, the UNM Greek life advisor, said.
Social restriction allows for the organizations to participate in normal operations such as recruitment and intake events, community service, chapter events and general chapter meetings. However, non-Greek students are not allowed to attend any event, on or off campus, while the restrictions are in place, and all events must be alcohol-free and pre-approved.
UNM’s zero tolerance for hazing, substance abuse and behavior that could potentially cause harm was one reason behind the restrictions. Lumpp said that by enforcing constraints, the administration hopes to send a reminder that safety and responsible behavior are both top priorities for Greek life.
During this restriction period, Lumpp said this is an opportunity for members to be introspective and focus on accountability and self-governance. Complying with the UNM Code of Conduct and their organization’s policy gives students the opportunity to take advantage of privileges associated with fraternities and sororities, he said.
The social restriction came in light of three fraternities — Pi Kappa Alpha, Phi Delta Theta and Phi Gamma Delta — being put on emergency suspension. All three are currently under investigation by the UNM Dean of Students Office, due to allegations of hazing and alcohol violations within these chapters, Lumpp said.
For one fraternity, disciplinary actions did not end at restrictions.
The alumni group of the UNM Phi Gamma Delta chapter, also known as FIJI, voted to recommend to the national headquarters of the organization that the UNM chapter be closed, Lumpp said — the headquarters and UNM still have to finalize their decision. At UNM, he said the Dean of Students Office of Students Rights and Responsibilities is responsible for making the final verdict.
Nathan Odegard, a UNM junior studying creative writing and technical writing, has been a FIJI member since 2015 and was the chapter president in 2017. He said the process has taken a heavy toll on many members, but has also united the chapter over “shared sadness.”
For clarification, Odegard said it is common for FIJI members to refer to themselves as “president,” but he held the position in 2017.
When asked about what led to the vote to close FIJI, he said, “Well I’m not really going to get into specifics…but I can talk big picture: at the end of the day, UNM needs to be very proactively considering their risk management. Greek life tends to be a fairly high-risk environment. There comes a point when the University needs to separate its association with an organization, which it deems to be high-risk.”
Odegard said from inside the organization, elements of “inadequate leadership” and a “general sense of entitlement” could have led to trouble as well.
Having a tight-knit brotherhood was prized within the FIJI community and has not diminished, despite the circumstances, he said. He said he hopes people remember the fraternity and its members as the “tightest group of friends.”
“I think most guys join fraternities, because they need a home — I know I did — so losing that is never easy,” Odegard said.
Madison Spratto is a news editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Madi_Spratto.