Deke fraternity suspended by national HQ

After being suspended by its peers at the University of Minnesota, Delta Kappa Epsilon, the fraternity whose University of Minnesota chapter was the site of a recently reported sexual assault, has now been suspended by its headquarters, the national organization's executive director said.

Doug Lanpher said the national officers have asked their University of Minnesota chapter not to wear their Greek letters, hold parties or participate in campus activities as a chapter.

The chapter, he said, "is not allowed to do anything that would identify itself as a Deke," the slang term for Delta Kappa Epsilon.

Chad Ellsworth, coordinator for fraternity and sorority life for the University Office for Student Affairs, said all the fraternity members could really do under the suspension is "eat and sleep in the house." They could still recruit members, he said, but can't do "the fun stuff."

He said the suspension is for no specified time, but he said he expects it to be "short."

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"We’re working very closely with them on a road map toward recognized status," he said. "They need to tighten up their risk management procedures."

The suspension comes on the heels of a woman's allegations that she was the victim of an attempted sexual assault at the house Sept. 18.

In a note to parents, Vice Provost Gerald Rinehart wrote that the chapter failed to enforce "established risk management procedures," including using a guest list to control access to the party, which led to underage drinking and enabled several non-students to enter the house.

The fraternity had just received a four-year suspension Sunday by the University's Interfraternity Council. That move meant similar but somewhat stricter sanctions, Ellsworth said. In addition to a ban on university social events and participation in intramural sports he said, they lose access to all IFC help and exposure within the Greek community, such as inclusion in IFC publications sent to incoming students.

Under such conditions, suggested Vice Provost Gerald Rinehart, being a member might lose a lot of its meaning: "The question (then) is: "Why do they pay?'"

Ellsworth said Delta Kappa Epsilon was struggling at the time of the reported assault. It was down to about 15-20 members, and could not participate in activities such as intramurals or homecoming, because it had not registered with the University. A national representative had been at the house in August to help rejuvenate the chapter, he said.

Rinehart said, "They were dying on the vine."

(Note: Lanpher said the chapter had 23 members and had been "doing fine.")

The case is one of three in the past three weeks. A woman reported being sexually assaulted the early morning of Sept. 26 at the Chi Psi fraternity house. And a 19-year-old woman reported being sexually assaulted at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house last Thursday night.

All cases involved alcohol, police said, but added that media reports that the cases involved students were not accurate. Authorities are still investigating.

Although much has been said about large, outdoor parties, police and university officials say the gatherings during the incidents appeared to be informal and contained in the house.