IFC to try KA and Zeta Psi fraternities

The Inter-Fraternity Council announced its decision yesterday to bring both Kappa Alpha Order and Zeta Psi fraternities to trial for charges of racially offensive acts.

Allegations of improper conduct first surfaced Nov. 18 with the discovery of photographs taken at the fraternities' joint Halloween party.

The photographs, which revealed students dressed in blackface, prompted the IFC Judiciary Committee's week-long investigation.

With the conclusion of their investigation, the IFC-JC determined the need to hold a trial proceeding instead of dropping the case or holding a hearing panel which would have expedited the process, said Zach Terwilliger, IFC vice president for judiciary.

Terwilliger made the decision to hold a trial after his examination of investigation reports.

According to IFC President Phil Trout, trials for the two fraternities will be held separately during the week of Dec. 2.

The most severe sentence that can be invoked in a trial is recommendation for a chapter's expulsion, Terwilliger said. The fulfillment of such a recommendation would require a three-fourths approval of the IFC Presidents' Council.

Terwilliger could not comment on other possible sentences, so as to avoid influencing the jury's decision.

Other institutions facing similar problems -- such as Auburn University, which issued charges against fraternities last year for racial offenses -- responded by enforcing community service requirements and agreements to advocate diversity.

"I trust the IFC-JC will handle this professionally and thoroughly," Trout said.

During the trials, the investigation report for each case will be presented to the jury, which includes comments and statements issued by the involved parties, Terwilliger said. The jury will consist of six men from IFC chapters.

Members of Kappa Alpha and Zeta Psi will not be permitted to sit on the jury, he added.

In addition to taking judicial action, the IFC has responded to this incident by contacting minority groups and facilitating communication about diversity issues.

During a meeting held last night, presidents of the IFC, Inter-Sorority Council, Black Fraternal Council, Multicultural Greek Council and Student Council -- as well as representatives from other groups, such as the Asian and Latino Student Unions -- convened to discuss the current state of diversity in the Greek system.

"I wanted to initiate a dialogue about race and the Greek system and get ideas as to where the IFC needs to go from here," Trout said. "Diversity is definitely a long-term issue. This incident has only accelerated our efforts."

Both Kappa Alpha and Zeta Psi will remain temporarily suspended by the IFC, pending the completion of the trials, Trout added.

The ISC continues to conduct a separate investigation against two of its own chapters -- Kappa Kappa Gamma and Kappa Alpha Theta -- which allegedly were involved with offenses at the party.

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