A Message for DKE and the IFCJudgment has been passed on Delta Kappa Epsilon. Now that the appeals process has ended, DKE will lose their house and the ability to hold Rush activities until the conclusion of Rush 2004. It is important for all parties involved to make sure that it will be an effective means of rehabilitation for the embattled fraternity, in keeping with the stated notion that the sanctions were not intended to permanently hinder the fraternity from operation.
By being prohibited from engaging in Rush with the rest of the Interfraternity Council next fall, DKE will be left vulnerable when allowed to move back into their house, since they will be forced to draw from a smaller pool of potential pledges. While this is certainly an intended consequence of the punishment, in previous years such a drain would be more easily overcome. Given the recent changes in the housing system, membership is a far more sensitive issue. This will be a challenge to the DKE brotherhood that they can overcome; however, they should not be forced to do it alone, as this would likely be an insurmountable task.
The IFC’s main principle is to protect each of its member houses, and the system as a whole. This means that it is critical for the IFC to help ensure DKE’s survival after the year-long punishment is over. DKE is already suffering a membership crisis as is; in order to come out of this situation on top, the IFC’s help is required and should be expected.
Members of DKE should take this opportunity to think about what assistance may be helpful for them, and the IFC should be welcoming to any requests that do not dilute the impact of the sanction, but prevent the sanction from permanently debilitating the fraternity.
The campus has much to learn from this trial, however, for future disciplinary cases. IFC Judcomm should consider whether their prescribed punishments will have the intended effects in today’s fraternity system. Events of the last few years have put many fraternities in difficult positions financially, and the current punishments may assume houses have a resilience that does not exist.
Another issue that this case reveals is that by following their own procedures so well, even with punishments many would consider harsh, the IFC has already protected DKE and themselves from a possible breakdown of order. Many accusations have been made that DKE’s punishment was motivated by rivalries and grudges between fraternities; these accusations have no merit in light of the procedure. The IFC should be commended on following their pre-determined procedure and sentencing guidelines, but should take this opportunity to re-examine their procedures to ensure that no future cases will be left without a firm plan of action. Had a plan not been in place, the judgement would have been more arbitrary and the legitimacy of the decision may have been more seriously questioned.
In the meantime, DKE will be relocated. The brothers do have a challenge ahead of them, one that will hopefully strengthen their group. It will then be up to not only DKE, but the IFC and the MIT community, to help DKE rehabilitate and ensure that their organization remains strong.