Officials from the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity have announced the suspension of the Illinois Beta Chapter on the UChicago campus. In a January 25 letter to fraternity alumni obtained by The Maroon, Michael Wahba, director of chapter services, announced that the chapter would undergo “re-colonization,” or a ground-up restructuring involving the hand-selection of new brothers upon the graduation of all current brothers.
The decision to end operations at UChicago’s Phi Delta Theta was a result of “risk management policy violations,” according to the letter. The letter did not disclose which policies the chapter broke. The risk management resource posted on Phi Delta Theta national’s website outlines policies related to personal property, contracts, abusive behavior, alcohol and drugs, hazing, and high-risk events.
“While this represents an unfortunate result for the short term, this decision also represents a commitment to the preservation of a long term future for Phi Delta Theta at the University of Chicago,” the letter continued.
“The General Council, which is the fraternity’s governing board, carefully considered all options before voting to suspend the charter last month. The decision was then communicated to the chapter by myself and local volunteers,” Wahba wrote.
The letter sent to alumni cited a “decision by the University and members’ actions” as reasons for the re-colonization.
In an email to The Maroon, Director of Public Affairs Marielle Sainvilus confirmed that the University was aware of the closing, but did not provide further details. According to the letter, the re-colonized chapter will still be called the Illinois Beta chapter.
“Bond numbers,” or numbers given to each initiate in the chapter, will pick up from where they left off once the chapter re-colonizes. Wahba stated that the exact timeline for the process is still unclear, but the first step is for all brothers of the current generation to graduate from the University. Until then, the chapter will be dormant and recruit no new pledges.
“Re-colonizing a chapter is an effort put forth by the international fraternity and alumni to rebuild the chapter through an organized process that includes the recruitment of a group of young men and implementation of best practices and operations that are congruent with the values and policies of Phi Delta Theta,” Wahba wrote in his email.
Mihir Dubey, President of the Illinois Beta chapter at UChicago, declined to comment.