Schenectady County

Union sorority sanctioned over drinking at Oct. 7 party

A Union College sorority has lost its housing and pledging privileges in response to an incident las

A Union College sorority has lost its housing and pledging privileges in response to an incident last month where four students were transported to the hospital after excessive drinking.

The college handed down the punishment against Delta Delta Delta for violations of underage distribution and irresponsible use of alcohol and hazing for an Oct. 7 party, according to a letter from Timothy Dunn, director of Greek affairs.

The housing privileges are revoked beginning next fall. The sorority can remain in Potter House for the rest of this school year but will not have access to the common areas for any meetings. It is prohibited from hosting or co-sponsoring any social events with alcohol until 2013 and must rewrite its bylaws to become a dry organization. There is the chance that the punishment could be less severe if the sorority agrees to produce a plan for changes in the entire Greek system to combat illegal alcohol use.

Dunn said the Oct. 7 incident was serious and the chapter could have had its status revoked. He added that Delta Delta Delta has had a long history of being an exemplary chapter with awards at the local, national and international levels for service, philanthropy and dedication to academic success.

“The officers handling this matter conducted themselves with grace and dignity,” he said in an email. “While this incident has been steeped in controversy, the women of Tri-Delta have been open and honest throughout. They immediately accepted responsibility for their actions, and they are deeply committed to leading change. I am confident they will succeed.”

The college’s only official comment, delivered through spokesman Phil Wajda, was “the sanctions imposed on the sorority reflect the seriousness of the charges and make clear that the type of behavior demonstrated on the night in question is not acceptable.”

Members of Delta Delta Delta could not be reached for comment through its Facebook page.

National Tri-Delta spokeswoman Holly Thompson said the organization is still waiting for results of the college’s investigation to determine the chapter’s future. “Right now, there’s no change in status,” she said.

Union College has been trying to combat alcohol use for the past decade.

College officials in 2000 began prohibiting freshmen from rushing fraternities and sororities. That came after the Sigma Delta Tau sorority in 1999 lost its housing and social privileges for a year after college officials learned they were hazing pledges by making them wear costumes to class and participate in a scavenger hunt to find three cans of beer.

The fraternity Chi Psi was suspended for two years in 2005 after a student drank so much alcohol he had to be admitted to the hospital during Pledge Week.

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