The Phi Gamma Delta and Delta Tau Delta chapters at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln hope to improve their reputations following their reinstatements on Aug. 23.
UNL suspended Phi Gamma Delta, also known as FIJI, in March 2017 following allegations of harassment toward Women’s March participants in January 2017, which prompted an investigation. Delta Tau Delta was ordered by UNL to discontinue operations in August 2018 following an investigation into hazing allegations.
Though FIJI was suspended by the university, its headquarters didn’t suspend the chapter, according to Trent Brown, a junior accounting and finance double major and FIJI’s recruitment chair and recording secretary. He said that meant they were still recognized as a fraternity and could recruit members, but freshmen couldn’t live in the house.
UNL recognized FIJI and Delta Tau Delta as chapters over the summer. The two chapters appeared before the UNL Interfraternity Council board on Aug. 23 to present how they plan to improve their chapter and what they’ve already done to improve, Brown said.
The IFC decided to reinstate the chapters shortly after their presentations, Brown said.
“It felt like a million pounds got lifted off my shoulders,” he said.
Brown said FIJI brought in a speaker who talked about alcohol every semester following their suspension and another speaker who discussed Title IX in 2018.
FIJI petitioned for reinstatement in Spring 2019 and had to meet several requirements toward improving the fraternity’s culture, which included education on alcohol and drugs, sexual misconduct and hazing prevention, Brown said.
Justin Henry, UNL’s IFC president and a senior agricultural economics major, said IFC has a delegate from every fraternity. He said the FIJI and Delta Tau Delta delegates felt their chapters have done and will continue to do what it takes to be upstanding members of the UNL Greek community.
“For FIJI, the delegates felt that it was necessary to bring them back into our community but to have provisions to ensure that they do what is necessary to be reinstated,” he said. “They have to go through Title IX training, as well as failsafe training.”
Henry said Delta Tau Delta has spent a lot of time and money on programming to improve its chapter and feels the IFC can help them better themselves.
He said he believes both chapters will use the IFC-provided programming to improve, like failsafe, which is training for party safety and explains topics like bystander intervention and risk prevention at parties.
Brown said he noticed a lot of stereotyping toward FIJI, and he and his chapter are dedicated to improving their standing.
“I told one of my teachers in high school I was going to join FIJI and she said, ‘So, you’re going to be one of the troublemakers?’” he said. “I think the biggest thing that we work for is to change that reputation and stereotype and not be looked at as the troublemakers.”