Over the last few weeks, several young men have been sitting on Davis Field in a purple tent. These young men represent Delta Tau Delta, a social fraternity that was suspended from campus until last August.
After regaining official recognition from USC, Delta Tau Delta is back — and they’re recruiting.
According to a university report from August 2014, Delta Tau Delta was found responsible for dangerous behaviors and alcohol distribution, among other charges, during an off campus recruitment event in which some students were “arrested or transported for underage alcohol intoxication.”
This incident came after the fraternity was found guilty of disorderly conduct and alcohol charges in another off-campus incident in February of the same year. The August incident warranted the organization’s suspension until fall 2018.
“As an institution we are focused on a values based and supportive fraternity and sorority experience," Jarod Holt, Fraternity and Sorority Life director, said in an email. "We work with student leaders and the national organization to determine an appropriate timetable for return, depending on the circumstance of the departure.”
Despite the lengthy suspension, one potential member said he does not see it as a deterrent. Third-year mechanical engineering student Jason Hink said he is excited about being a founding member of Delta Tau Delta’s new USC chapter.
While learning about the fraternity, Hink said he “realized that it’s a really cool opportunity to just be able to create the fraternity that I wish that I could have had as a freshman.”
Hink did not rush any fraternities his freshman year, but gained interest when a friend at another university told him Delta Tau Delta was expanding to USC.
“To be a part of something new, to be a part of a new chapter, is an opportunity that some students are really excited about,” Anna Edwards, associate vice president of Student Life, said.
On the administrative side, Delta Tau Delta has been making sure its presence is welcomed in Columbia by meeting with members of both the student body and the community.
Zack Day, the senior leadership consultant for USC’s chapter of Delta Tau Delta, said the organization was intentional in having these meetings during recruitment and emphasized the positive qualities of Delta Tau Delta.
"Back when the fraternity was founded, it was off four values of truth, courage, faith and power," Day said. "I read them every day."
Edwards said she agrees and believes these values align with the university's values.
Steps are also being taken to prevent future suspensions. Meetings have been held with potential members since recruitment first began at USC, focusing on “integrity and accountability,” Day said.
The fraternity’s four-year suspension has also allowed all members of the fraternity involved in the inciting incident to graduate, allowing the fraternity to start “with a clean slate,” Day said.
“We’ve got nothing really holding over from that previous chapter,” Hink said.
The opportunity to start fresh is a theme the fraternity is emphasizing in its expansion effort. Hink said despite having a short amount of time to buckle down and develop a comprehensive outline for what the fraternity will look like, the founding members are excited about the prospect of building a respectable organization that will garner interest from potential new members and the rest of Greek Life.
"It's really going to be up to us to sit down and decide 'This is what we want,'" Hink said. "I think that's a really cool opportunity."