The national Lambda Chi Alpha organization suspended its University of Wisconsin-Whitewater fraternity chapter for two years Aug. 29.
According to National Director of Chapter Services John Holloway, the closure was a result of “several mismanagement concerns” about which he declined to disclose specific information.
However, UWW Assistant Dean of Student Life Mary Beth Mackin said Lambda Chi was suspended due to underage drinking at the fraternity house and “the failure to complete some sanctions that were assigned earlier” — specifically, a community clean-up program.
In addition to two parties that “got out of hand” last school year, Mackin said Lambda Chi held a “Drinking Olympics” event in which members were assigned to teams representing different countries.
“I’m not sure what the events consisted of,” Mackin said.
On Lambda Chi’s national website, the fraternity claims to be “the first fraternity to eliminate pledging,” along with “a leader in the fight against hazing, alcohol abuse, and other challenges facing today’s college student.”
Among the organization’s 13 basic membership expectations, eight states add, “I will neither use nor support the use of illegal drugs; I will neither misuse nor support the misuse of alcohol.”
Mackin said neither hazing nor illegal-drug use were factors in Lambda Chi’s suspension, to the best of her knowledge, and Holloway said the fraternity has “taken great strides to ensure that our members [and others associated with the fraternity] are kept secure, safe, and that our membership always behaves in a manner that is congruent to our ideals.”
Holloway added that suspending a chapter fraternity, while uncommon, is something the national organization is prepared to do if necessary.
Mackin said Lambda Chi, a staple of the UW-Whitewater campus with a “strong tradition” since 1965, would “absolutely” be welcomed back at the conclusion of the two-year suspension, and that UW-Whitewater has already invited the national organization back to recruit students compatible with Lambda Chi’s ideals.
In the meantime, some former Lambda Chi members find themselves temporarily homeless, but Mackin said the housing situation has already been resolved.
“Everyone has found somewhere to live,” she said. “We made sure that if any students wanted, we would make space available on campus for them.”
Andy La Susa, listed as Lambda Chi’s rushing contact for the fall semester, declined to comment on his former fraternity’s suspension, and the chapterhouse phone number was disconnected.
In the last five years at UW-Madison, a fraternity on campus closed due to low membership, according to Barb Kautz, a UW-Madison advisor for fraternities and sororities. After the last seniors graduated from Theta Chi and Alpha Chi Ro fraternities, the chapters closed, she added.
“We haven’t lost any due to disciplinary problems,” Kautz said.
– Aubre Andrus contributed to this report.