By Jonathan Smith, Editor in Chief
The university’s response to allegations about the pledging activities of three social clubs has left one club inactive for the semester, another on probation and another being reviewed for potential hazing violations.
The women’s social club Delta Theta will spend the remainder of the semester in an inactive status while conducting a self-review after advisers resigned last week because of differences with officers and members. Dr. Wayne Barnard, dean of Campus Life, said its 21 pledges were allowed to join the club, but pledging has ceased for the semester.
Allegations against Galaxy’s and Sub T-16’s pledging activities have also prompted Campus Life to halt their pledging activities.
Galaxy’s pledges were required to be admitted into the club this week, and it will not be allowed to continue pledging this semester.
Barnard said Jimmy Ellison, chief of ACU Police, is now investigating allegations made against Sub T last week about activities that possibly could have been hazing.
Delta Theta inactive
Barnard said he became aware of problems with Delta Theta when all advisers resigned last week. Barnard said the advisers resigned because of internal conflicts with club officers about pledging practices.
When the advisers resigned, Barnard said the decision about what to do with the club was relatively easy.
“You can’t be an active club on campus and not have advisers,” Barnard said.
While the club is inactive, Barnard said he wants Delta Theta to look back on the club’s history and original mission to determine if changes need to be made as well as finding new sponsors.
“We already met, and we’re already looking at changes that need to be made,” said Nique Allen, president of Delta Theta and senior management major from Canyon. “New leadership is stepping up. We have a lot of girls that are very passionate about getting the club off the ground.”
Barnard said he is encouraged by club members’ attitudes and is hopeful members can complete the self-study and become an active club in the spring. He said the club will also need to find new advisers before becoming active.
Because the club is inactive, its pledging process has ended, and the club will not be able to participate in activities until it becomes active again.
“The saddest part about this situation is that our pledges are not able to participate in all of the pledging rituals and traditions of DT and how much this has affected them,” Allen said.
Delta Theta’s pledges became official members of the club earlier this week, and some already have said they are hopeful about the future.
“It’s time to make DT the respectable, traditional club that it needs to be on campus,” said Julie Vazquez, Delta Theta new member and sophomore management major from Abilene. “Everything has a purpose and happens for a reason. I think this deactivation with DT is the thing that will bring back our honor and respect to the campus.”
Galaxy on probation
Campus Life officials met with Galaxy on Thursday to inform the club it would be on probation through the end of the school year because of an unapproved pledging activity during the weekend.
This year, Campus Life required clubs to submit pledging activity proposals before pledging began to have activities approved. Barnard said clubs should have adhered strictly to the approved proposals.
Barnard said the club also had no advisers present at the unapproved activity. If Galaxy had presented a proposal for this activity, Barnard said he probably would not have approved it anyway.
Although the club is on probation, Galaxy can continue to meet and have regular club activities throughout the year. However, their pledging will not continue, and pledges officially will become members of the club. At any future activities, such as the Homecoming Parade, no distinction will be made between members and this year’s pledge class.
Barnard said members of the club were very cooperative, apologetic and humble when informed of the university’s decision.
Sub T-16 investigated
Barnard said he first heard allegations about Sub T’s pledging activities last week. Because those allegations indicated potential hazing violations, Barnard said he decided to let Ellison and the ACU Police look into the situation late last week.
“These are only allegations at this point, and we are doing due diligence by investigating those allegations,” Ellison said. “The law is very clear, and it requires the university to take it very seriously.”
Texas’ hazing law states that organizations cannot endanger the mental or physical health of another who is seeking entry into that organization through ways such as physical brutality, extreme physical activity or subjecting someone to extreme mental stress, shame or humiliation.
Ellison said he hoped his investigation would be far enough along by next week to determine what direction the university should proceed. If evidence of hazing is found, Ellison said criminal charges could be filed if a victim wishes to do so.
“Many will probably react that this is just guys being guys. Unfortunately the law does not say that,” Ellison said. “We’re concerned for student safety here. Anything going on out there that could endanger that deserves to be looked in to.”
Barnard said he cannot remember a time when the university has investigated three clubs simultaneously. He said he attributes the rarity to the increased amount of discussions with clubs and pledges about hazing and appropriate activities. Because those involved are better informed, Barnard said people know better when to report violations.
“Because we’ve had more scrutiny, we’re having reports we might not have had previously,” Barnard said.
Barnard said the clubs must now respond to the adversity to find solutions before problems build up again.
“If there’s conflict, let’s work that out. Let’s not get to a point where advisors resign,” Barnard said. “If we are needing to make changes, I want to make changes. We all get caught up in things we shouldn’t do. The question is, once we know that, and once we work on that, what are we going to do with that? How are we going to get better?”
Barnard said that despite some rumors that the university is particularly hard on social clubs, he would like to see them be the best they can be.
As that process begins for three clubs, Barnard said he is encouraged by what he has seen from the clubs after meeting with them.
“They know right and wrong, and they know they just messed up,” Barnard said. “When [clubs] aren’t their best, we’ve got to make some corrections, and I want to engage that process completely.”
Mallory Sherwood contributed to this report.