The University of Massachusetts has revoked recognition of Delta Upsilon’s Amherst branch, a move that mirrors the local chapter’s loss of support from the national chapter this past May.
“The final decision was straightforward in that the national chapter was not in support of a local group anymore. Without that, it can’t stand on its own,” UMass spokesperson Ed Blaguszewski said.
Recent troubles for the 32-year-old chapter began with an April 2011 incident in which UMass student Nathaniel Grant, of Richmond, fell off the fraternity’s roof at 778 North Pleasant St. He had been drinking at the time of the incident and instantly slipped into a coma after the fall, according to the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
Grant recovered and has returned to the University, according to the Northwestern district attorney’s office. No charges have been brought in connection with the incident.
The accident, though, caught the attention of the fraternity’s national chapter, Delta Upsilon International Fraternity, which is based in Indianapolis. Attempts to reach officials from the umbrella organization were unsuccessful.
After the April 2011 incident, the Amherst branch was placed on probation pending further disciplinary actions. The national chapter revoked its recognition of the Amherst branch in May.
UMass – specifically the Dean of Students Office, which handles all disciplinary sanctions to University affiliated groups and individuals – also placed strict sanctions on the local chapter.
The fraternity was given an interim suspension, followed by a permanent dissolvement of the group, Blaguszewski said.
“Both the national fraternity and the University were conducting the discipline processes over the year that the accident happened and ended up with the same outcome: The fraternity lost their recognition and can no longer operate,” said Michael Wiseman, director of the Office of Fraternities and Sororities at UMass.
Wiseman said that the University “would not allow a fraternity suspended from their national organization to operate.”
Blaguszewski said that because the group is no longer affiliated with the school, there are no longer any sanctions or support coming from the University.
Blaguszewski would not comment on if there were pending investigations into specific incidents or individuals.
The fraternity has faced other issues in the past. In 2008, there was a fight between fraternity members and a passerby. Two years later, police responded to a call for people throwing objects at cars, the Gazette reported.
In Oct. 2001, the original three-story house at 778 North Pleasant Street was lost in a fire started by a candle, leaving 23 members homeless and without any of their possessions, according to an article by the Massachusetts Daily Collegian. The Gazette reported that a new house was built in 2003, funded by alumni and insurance.
Similarly, members of the fraternity couldn’t continue occupying the house after the suspension in May.
Attempts to reach former Delta Upsilon members were unsuccessful and the fraternity’s phone number has been disconnected.
Members of Alpha Delta Phi, who remain on the currently lease, reside in the house.
The house was recently put up for auction and expected to be bought by Scott F. Garrett of Fairfield, Conn., “who holds two mortgages on the property, including a $538,000 loan that was in default,” the Gazette reported.
According to Wiseman, members of Alpha Delta Phi “are working with the new owner of the house, who will continue leasing it.”
Wiseman said there are 43 fraternities and sororities recognized by UMass. Of these, there are seven fraternity and five sorority houses located off-campus.
Chelsie Field can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.