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Elmo regains FOA after year absence

St. Elmo Hall fraternity, known nationally as Delta Phi, rejoined the Inter-Fraternity Council Friday when the Office of the Dean of Students reinstated its Fraternal Organization Agreement.

The University Judiciary Committee revoked Elmo's FOA -- which establishes a fraternity's affiliation with the University and the IFC -- in the spring of 1998 after the chapter was found guilty of serving alcohol to minors. Under UJC's sanction, Elmo members had to complete 300 hours of documented community service before the fraternity's FOA could be reinstated.

Assoc. Dean of Students V. Shamim Sisson, who signed Elmo's FOA, said Elmo members fulfilled the University's requirements to become eligible for reinstatement.

"There were a number of steps they had to take before the University would consider re-entering our relationship with them," Sisson said. "They had completed all [the University's] expectations."

Elmo members worked closely with representatives from their national office and alumni association to plan and complete their service hours.

"It was very much a team effort," said Stu Gittelman, Delta Phi national executive director. "We supported them in a lot of things they did."

Elmo alumni collaborated with the Office of the Dean of Students to assess the fraternity's situation. Alumni then established a timetable to help the undergraduate members complete the community service hours.

Elmo's House Corporation President E. Gordon Johns said he hopes Elmo members

will continue serving the community.

"The alumni feel very strongly that [Elmo members] should continue doing community service hours," Johns said. "They shouldn't have to do them [only] as punishment. That obligation is never over."

Rejoining the IFC will not change the way the fraternity runs, Elmo Vice President Mike Mahon said.

"We have been conscientiously abiding by IFC policies anyway, so I don't foresee any changes in the way we operate now that our FOA is official again," Mahon said.

Regaining its FOA may not change Elmo's operations, but it will allow members to participate in IFC functions, IFC President Wes Kaupinen said.

"The IFC is extremely pleased to have them back participating in the IFC, and we greatly look forward to contributions from the Elmo house," Kaupinen said.

Johns said he hopes Elmo's renewed FOA will help alleviate any negative perceptions students may have of the fraternity.

"One of the worst things that can happen to a fraternity is to get a reputation of being a screw-up, and we don't want that," he said.

Gittelman said he expects Elmo's members to grow from this experience.

"I think and hope they've learned a little bit about what a fraternity can and should be, and a bit more about personal responsibility and overcoming adversity," he said.

Elmo's officers said the experience has been a positive one.

"We have grown closer together through excelling in what would seem to be a setback," Mahon said. "And I think we have a true appreciation of the IFC that wasn't there before"