Friday, March 29, 2019

Theta Xi - Loss of Recognition

Update 4/12: The Sanctions Conference Committee met on April 11, 2019 to determine sanctions.

The sanctions are as follows:
The organization is placed on Disciplinary Deferred Dissolution from April 11, 2019 through May 31, 2020. During this period of time, the organization is on notice that any further violations of the Code of Conduct will result in the dissolution of the organization immediately without further review.
Disciplinary Deferred Dissolution may not be imposed for longer than two regular semesters. If this
sanction is imposed during a semester, it may be imposed for the remainder of that semester and two
additional semesters.

Theta Xi Fraternity is placed on disciplinary probation effective June 1, 2020 through May 31, 2022.
Disciplinary probation is the conditional continuation of a group or organization for a specified period of time not to exceed four semesters. This status implies that any further violation of this Code of Conduct may result in dissolution, termination, or other authorized sanctions. Other sanctions may be imposed, including limitations on social activities, and additional requirements may be imposed as conditions for reinstatement of recognition in good standing.

The following educational sanction is being imposed: Theta Xi’s on-campus chapter house will be dry (alcohol-free) through May 31, 2021; Theta Xi cannot host or attend social events with alcohol off-campus through May 31, 2020.

The following educational sanction is being imposed: All social events must be reported to Holly Taylor (, Associate Director of Student Conduct & Community Expectations by 5:00 p.m. on the day of the event. This notification must include day/time/location of the event as well as all students with risk management duties. This reporting process goes through December 31, 2019. For further information please contact Christopher J. Mulvihill.

The following educational sanction is being imposed: Theta Xi must elect new officers for the positions of President, Vice-President and New Member Educator by April 19, 2019. It is to be completed by April 19, 2019. For further information please contact Christopher J. Mulvihill.

The following educational sanction is being imposed: Prior to the acceptance of any new members, the new Theta Xi leadership must work with its national office and the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs to develop a New Member Education Plan that meets both offices’ requirements. It is to be completed by September 1, 2019. For further information please contact Christopher J. Mulvihill.

The Committee gave the following rationale for sanctions:

Theta Xi was found responsible by the University Committee on Discipline (UCoD) on all of the original charges in the March 29 hearing. The UCoD Appeals Committee concurred with the appeal submitted by Theta Xi that the imposed sanction of immediate dissolution of the chapter was unduly harsh. The basis of this determination derived from a factual inaccuracy in the stated rationale for the sanction of dissolution with regard to the exact dates of the timing under which Theta Xi has been on disciplinary probation over the past three years.

The Sanctions Conference Committee (‘The Committee’) concludes that a reduction in sanctions is
warranted given a review of the chapter’s disciplinary probation record. At the same time we wish to
emphasize strongly that -- viewed from any reasonable lens -- Theta Xi’s disciplinary history over the
past several years falls significantly short of what is a minimum expectation of appropriate social
behavior for fraternities in the Lehigh community. Further, the Committee also considers the conflicting and not credible information provided by the chapter during the investigation and March 29th 2019 hearing to be indications that the chapter needs to substantially progress in many areas. These new sanctions reflect the seriousness of these charges and gives the chapter the opportunity to focus on improving and making positive contributions to the Lehigh community.

The Committee notes that both Lehigh Theta Xi Alumni and the Theta Xi National organization chose to participate in the appeal process by providing written support to the chapter’s appeal of the initial sanction. We view this as a positive development. The chapter’s disciplinary record over the past several years is clearly problematic and worrisome. As indicated in the educational sanctions listed above, the Committee believes that new leadership is necessary for the chapter to move successfully through the primary sanctions over the next three years. We also believe that the diligent, proactive and -- most importantly -- continuing involvement going forward on the part of the chapter alumni and national fraternity in providing advice and guidance to the chapter membership during this process is imperative to achieving a successful result whereby a well functioning chapter emerges that is capable of making a positive contribution to the Lehigh community three years hence.

The chapter has had three code of conduct incidents in the last five months (not counting the present
charges): 10/20/2018, 11/09/2018, and 12/01/2018. The chapter was placed on deferred dissolution
effective March 8, 2019, only nine days before the present incident. This is an extremely serious status whereby further violations are likely to result in dissolution. It is impossible not to wonder how the written support provided by the Lehigh Theta Xi alumni and National Organization could conceivably be consistent with the chapter’s recent disciplinary record and deferred dissolution status.

The Committee also offers a strong recommendation that prior to the end of this semester representatives of the Lehigh Theta Xi alumni and the Theta Xi National meet together with the current chapter membership to formulate a plan of action that will enable the chapter to move successfully through the primary sanctions in place over the next three years. We recommend that the outcome of this meeting be communicated in writing to Dean Mulvihill and become part of the official record of this proceeding. Note that the Committee includes this recommendation as part of the supporting rationale rather than as an educational sanction because we believe that such an action is not a sanction in any sense but rather a ‘best practice’ that the Lehigh Theta Xi alumni and Theta Xi National should initiate of their own accord even if this were not a recommendation by the Committee.

It is the Committee’s sincere wish that the outcome of this proceeding is a Theta Xi chapter that is
viewed across campus in the mid- 2020s as an exemplary member of the Lehigh community. The
responsibility for making this happen rests completely with the current chapter membership, future
members, Lehigh Theta Xi alumni and the Theta Xi national office.

This case is now closed.

Initial Post: The University Committee on Discipline met on March 29, 2019 to adjudicate a case in which your chapter was charged with:

Respect for Others D1 (Hazing)
Hazing as defined in the Lehigh University Code of Conduct.
Respect for Others E1 (Interference)

Intentionally or recklessly interfering with the activities sponsored by, affiliated with or participated in by members of the university community, including but not limited to studying, teaching, research,
administration, fire prevention, police activities, emergency services, and the activities of student

Respect for Community A1 (False Information)
Intentionally furnishing false information to a university official, hearing panel, or conduct officer.

Respect for Community I1 (Posted Rules and Regulations)
Violating any Lehigh University policies, rules, or regulations, including but not limited to, residential living policies (General Provisions for Occupancy) and policies related to the use of the university computer network.

Theta Xi allegedly engaged in activities that constitute hazing.

After reviewing the information related to incident, the Committee made the following finding(s)
regarding the violation(s) for which you were charged:

1. Respect for Others D1 (Hazing) -- Responsible
2. Respect for Others E1 (Interference) -- Responsible
3. Respect for Community A1 (False Information) -- Responsible
4. Respect for Community I1 (Posted Rules and Regulations) -- Responsible

As a result of this behavior the following sanction(s) will be imposed:
Theta Xi Fraternity is hereby dissolved effective March 29, 2019 through May 30, 2021. Dissolution is the loss of university recognition for a period of time not to exceed 5 years. Dissolution is the loss of privilege to use the university's name or represent it in any capacity. In addition, the group or organization will lose all privileges to use university equipment or facilities. At the end of the dissolution period, the organization shall contact the Dean of Students Office and be required to follow any recognition processes in place at the time.

Rationale for Findings:
The panel finds the Theta Xi fraternity responsible for Charges D1 (Hazing) and I1 (Posted Rules and
Regulations). The panel finds that, since the schedule for activities in the New member education plan was not followed, new members were caused unexpected mental stress by the changing of the initiation date to the week following the date posted on the new member education plan. Additionally, it is likely that mental stress was exacerbated due to the new members unawareness to why the initiation date was pushed back.

The panel finds the Theta Xi fraternity responsible for charges E1 (Interference) and A1 (False
Information). The panel is disturbed that many of the statements made to Holly Taylor were interpreted differently by both the members being interviewed and the chapter president. For example, in reference to the pledge duties, a member described the rationale for their use as "bonding", while the chapter president hardly interprets their use as a "bonding" experience. Based on these differing interpretations, the panel believes that Theta Xi fraternity has interfered with both the new member education plan and the investigative report by Holly Taylor.

Rationale for Sanctions:
Theta Xi is dissolved through May 30, 2021. This sanction is appropriate based on the fact that the
chapter has been on disciplinary probation since at least 2017 and is currently on differed dissolution. In short, the chapter has a significant conduct history. Additionally, the panel did not find the information provided by the chapter at the hearing as credible and we do not believe the chapter has the ability to improve in the future under current leadership.