Cover, Greek Life, News

Delta Gamma chapter ceased following allegations of violating UM alcohol, hazing policies

Update, 8:38 a.m., Mar. 2: Officials from the Delta Phi Epsilon advisory board issued a statement to The Hurricane denying allegations that members of its organization sent incriminating videos of sisters of Delta Gamma to administrators.

Update, 4:35 p.m., Mar. 1: The Miami Hurricane learned the videos that allegedly depict violations of the student code of conduct were leaked by members of another sorority, according to several sources in Greek Life.

Update, 1:07 p.m., Feb. 28: Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Ryan Holmes issued a statement to The Miami Hurricane through a UM spokesman. Delta Gamma National President Stacia Rudge Skoog also issued a statement. The story has been updated to reflect this information.

The University of Miami women’s fraternity Delta Gamma has been mandated to cease all operations while it is under investigation for events that violate the university’s alcohol and hazing policies. The order came down from the Dean of Students Office after administrators were reportedly sent videos depicting hazing. Several sources in Greek Life have alleged the videos were leaked by Delta Phi Epsilon, a sorority that has had a longstanding rivalry with Delta Gamma.

Carolina Yera, a member of the DPhiE advisory board, sent an email saying the sorority “categorically denies” involvement in incident.

“Our Sisterhood is shocked and disheartened by any turn of events that causes harm to any individuals or organizations in our small, tight-knit community,” she wrote.

University Spokesman Peter Howard said on March 1 the university had not issued a cease operations order to any other organization.

A statement from Delta Gamma nationals on behalf of fraternity president Stacia Rudge Skoog said the DG is “working closely” with UM to “investigate and address any behaviors that do not align with our values and Fraternity standards.”

The organization’s mission statement as listed on its website is to offer “a rich heritage based on principles of personal integrity, personal responsibility and intellectual honesty. Its primary purpose is to foster high ideals of friendship, promote educational and cultural interests, create a true sense of social responsibility, and develop the finest qualities of character.

DG Beta Tau Chapter President Emily Gerstein sent out an email Feb. 27 to the members notifying them of the cease operations order and explaining what the order banned.

“This includes meetings, recruitment activities, social functions, educational programs, formals, community service/philanthropy, intramurals, etc.,” the message read.

The women’s fraternity was preparing to celebrate its Founder’s Day on March 15. Now that future is indefinite. Spring semester is an important time for Greek Life because it is the point at which new students are allowed to formally rush.

The announcement to the larger Panhellenic community was made during the Panhellenic meeting on Feb. 27, according to a post made in a private sorority group on Facebook. Gerstein could not be reached for comment. All members of DG and most other Panhellenic organizations have been repeatedly told not to speak to The Miami Hurricane about the investigation, according to sources who have seen Facebook posts on the matter.

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Multiple sources reported the cease and desist was issued after videos of the alleged hazing were posted on social media, and those videos were later sent to administrators.

UM Panhellenic Association president Abby Washer, who is a sister of DG, denied the hazing allegations on the day of the cease and said administrators had not received videos. Washer also said the Greek community was informed only of “general allegations” against DG.

“The deans are very protective of our community and the women that are apart [sic]of it, and only ordered Delta Gamma to cease all functions so that they could properly investigate,” Washer said in an email. “They have no proof of any of these allegations actually being true at the moment, they are just taking precautions.”

Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Greek Life Cristina Luna has not commented on the investigation. On Wednesday, Feb. 28, Dean of Students Ryan Holmes issued the following statement to TMH:

“The University of Miami Dean of Students Office received a report alleging that members of the Delta Gamma Fraternity were involved in events that are in violation of the university’s alcohol and hazing policies. Given the very serious allegations and the University’s zero tolerance for hazing, the Delta Gamma Chapter was issued a cease operations order. A thorough investigation will be conducted by the Dean of Students Office to determine if the organization and/or individual members violated any university policies. Anyone or any organization found responsible for violating any policies will be held accountable.”

Student Government Vice President-elect Catherine De Freitas, a sister of DG, said she did not have “any information” and could not comment because she was “not knowledgeable” on the matter.

As of March 1, the UM Delta Gamma Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr accounts had been taken down.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Annie Cappetta and Tommy Fletcher contributed to reporting.

February 27, 2018

Reporters

Amanda Herrera

Amanda Herrera can be reached via email at aherrera@themiamihurricane.com and through Twitter at @_AmandaHerrera.

Isabella Cueto


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.