IFC JudComm Lightens Ruling Against Chi PhiBy Kevin R. Lang
More than three months after the close of rush, the Chi Phi fraternity has finally settled their appeal with the Interfraternity Council over fall rush violations.
Following an appeal hearing before the IFC Judicial Committee on Monday, Dec. 10, Chi Phi must still pay a $1500 fine, but the fraternity is now allowed to contact freshmen over the summer. “That was huge for us,” said Sina Kevin Nazemi ’03, Chi Phi’s assistant rush chair at the time.
However, Chi Phi still cannot mail their rush book over the summer, but the fraternity can give the book to freshmen once they arrive on campus in the fall. In addition, Chi Phi still cannot host any events until rush begins in fall 2002.
While Chi Phi did not overturn much of the previous IFC ruling, Nazemi was satisfied nonetheless. “We’re just happy it’s over,” Nazemi said. “Rush is just one part of the year, it’s one part of our fraternity’s activities; we’re much bigger than just rush as a fraternity.”
Earlier resolution attempt failed
Before this final appeal, the IFC and Chi Phi attempted to reach an agreement by working within the executive committee and the judicial committee. However, no agreement could be reached by the two sides. “We were never able to get people on the same page,” said Rory P. Pheiffer ’02, last term’s IFC president.
Pheiffer was not directly involved in the final appeal, but he said that he tried to act as a “calming force” between the two sides. “We were trying to make everybody happy, but that’s really not possible,” Pheiffer said.
David B. Gottlieb ’04, a member of the IFC review board, chaired the final hearing after both sides agreed that he would be an impartial moderator. IFC JudComm chair Thomas B. Fisher ’02 did not chair the hearing because of his previous involvement with the case.
Gottlieb said that he was intent on “making sure both sides felt that they got a fair trial.” Gottlieb himself did not vote on the ruling, but would have been able to break a tie among the other four voting members if necessary.
Bylaws rewritten following appeal
A lasting change to come out of Chi Phi’s appeal process was the revision of the IFC’s JudComm bylaws. The new rules shift responsibility more clearly to JudComm, rather than the executive committee. “The bylaws at the time were not clear,” Gottlieb said.
Pheiffer agreed, saying that the new set of bylaws “does a better job of distinguishing who specifically hears appeals and who specifically hears hearings,” Pheiffer said.
While the new rules give more authority to JudComm with the goal of more efficient hearings, Pheiffer said this might cause problems for cases where it would be better for the IFC executive committee to act directly, such as when dealing with the Boston Licensing Board or Cambridge License Commission. “I think it’s going to be a bit of a challenge,” Pheiffer said.
However, he acknowledged that the old rules were unclear regarding who should hear what cases. “It was definitely very confusing,” Pheiffer said.
“This is the last case that started under the judicial system rules,” Nazemi said. “It took longer than it should have under the old judicial bylaws.”
Nazemi said that Chi Phi wanted to reestablish a healthy relationship with the IFC, and invited the officers to dinner at the house immediately after the appeal ended. “We’re ready to move on,” Nazemi said.
Wake up times, jaunts in violation
Chi Phi’s first major violation of rush rules resulted from problems with wake up times. On two consecutive days, Chi Phi listed all freshman wake up times as 10 a.m., regardless of the actual time that each freshman gave to Chi Phi. This practice is illegal under IFC rules.
Chi Phi’s other major violations regarded jaunts, including a harbor cruise where freshmen returned late, and a jaunt to the activities midway where return times were not entered correctly.
As a result of this final violation, the IFC Rush Committee decided to close down Chi Phi’s rush. The fine and other sanctions were assessed several weeks later.