Delta Tau Delta returns
Carnegie Mellon Greek life is regaining an old neighbor. After a four-year dormant period, the Delta Tau Delta fraternity is returning to campus. The national chapter has sent representatives to campus to re-establish the Delta Beta chapter at Carnegie Mellon. They are actively recruiting with a purple booth set up near the Fence every day of the week from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The booth has been set up for the past three weeks in hope of reviving a fraternity that once had a major presence on campus, as well as a house in the Greek Quadrangle, which Kappa Alpha Theta now possesses. The university remembers Delta Tau Delta for leaving in shame, but the national chapter has sent a group of men in order to restart the Delta Beta chapter with respect and put that part of their legacy behind them.
Mark Peterson (CIT ’07), who was Delta Tau Delta’s risk manager, spoke on his experiences at fraternity parties while at Carnegie Mellon.
Peterson explained that before the current policy of guest lists and wristbands, there existed a much looser policy of beer cards — which were punch cards given to those who showed IDs at the door.
“As you can imagine, anybody could get these little beer cards and make copies of them or get them by going up to people and it was getting really hard to control. Underage people were getting their hands on these beer tickets and then getting in trouble, and when the cops would ask where were you drinking — they would say our name since we were open the latest,” Peterson said.
Peterson noted that these actions did not go unnoticed by the national office.
“Because of this, we were under close watch, and nationals had some representatives in to monitor what we were doing and what they saw was underage girls getting drunk off of our beer. As soon as nationals came in and investigated us they revoked our charter,” Peterson said.
According to an article in The Tartan in 2004, the brothers went on a rampage and inflicted damage on their house with hammers and other tools after the national office revoked the chapter’s charter.
However, Peterson’s primary complaint was that this was not an issue unique to their fraternity, but rather a problem with the system.
“We were kind of the martyr of the original fraternity system — because all the frats were doing the exact same thing as we were. We were the ones that had to take the fall because what happened to us could have happened to anyone else. The system was broken and someone had to take the fall and it was us,” Peterson said.
Now that all the fraternity brothers and their classmates have graduated, the national office has sent a few representatives to re-colonize the chapter at Carnegie Mellon, a chapter that is part of a fraternity with an 80-year history.
For a fraternity that exited with such mutual animosity with the school, Kyle Keefe, the Chapter Leadership Consultant, said that the reception has been positive.
“We have been exceptionally pleased with the response we’ve gotten from the administration,” Keefe said. “Typically when we do expansions, most administration and staff are very weary of Greek organizations because of a lot of the stereotypes. If that’s any indication of the future, it’s very good.”
In terms of the men that they are looking for, the Delta Tau Delta motto is “Committed to Lives of Excellence.”
Keefe described these people as “guys that value academics, service, and leadership — men that embody ideals of our organization. We want the guy that’s not interested in the regular fraternity experience. We want them to reach out to the community.”
Jeremy Tuttle, a junior computational finance major, was extended a bid from Delta Tau Delta.
“The main thing is that we are going to try and not be your stereotypical fraternity. When you think of a frat, you think about partying and all kinds of negative things. I am fairly confident that Delta Tau Delta can be a force of good on campus. I see a real desire, and drive, and passion, to make it an organization that stands by its values,” Tuttle said.
Tuttle, along with the other men joining Delta Tau Delta in this recruitment period, will be known as “founding fathers.”
“Well the main thing we lack right now is everything,” Tuttle said. “As founding fathers, we are going to have to establish not only how much we will charge for dues — but what sort of activities we will be planning, how we will find pledges, and how our pledge process will work. We are going to have to establish what the culture of the organization is going to be on campus.”
Tuttle emphasized the fact that this is a new Delta Tau Delta from the chapter that had its charter revoked four years ago.
“I think that the difference will be that we are recruiting student leaders on campus that don’t want to be part of an organization that was typical of the old Delta Tau Delta... really it comes down to how enlightened they are to the values of the organization, so we won’t go back to that time,” Keefe said.
Peterson expressed mixed feelings at coming back to support the new chapter.
“I’m still supportive of the organization in general, but I’m not exactly supportive of nationals because of what they did to us in the first place, it was a little overblown. At the same time I’m all for the chapter coming back to the school but I don’t know how much I’d like to be involved with it,” Peterson said.
The national representatives contacted 250 potential brothers over the phone as of last week. Though they are last remembered as destroying the walls of their house, the brothers are back again to rebuild a house that hopes to create a legacy of excellence.