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Risk Management - Hazing & etc. This forum covers Risk Management topics such as: Hazing, Alcohol Abuse/Awareness, Date Rape Awareness, Eating Disorder Prevention, Liability, etc.


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  #31  
Old 03-10-2017, 02:27 PM
shadokat shadokat is offline
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These moms should educate themselves on sorority membership. Nobody is guaranteed anything. There's no contract. As for their significant financial investment, well, if these women can afford to hire an attorney because their sorority chapter closed, I'm not all that concerned with their level of financial stability. Moral of this whole story is that chapter can claim ignorance all they want, but they were already on probation until 2019, and you can only push so far before your national pushes back.

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Originally Posted by PhilTau View Post
The facts behind all this have not been disclosed. So these moms have a right to be pissed off. Keep in mind that several years of membership in this organization represents a significant financial investment totaling thousands of dollars-- dues, initiation fees, house charges, fines, assessments, clothes, etc. At the very least, they deserve from the national organization an accurate explanation of what happened. The people most damaged are the newest members, who joined without knowing that the chapter was about to end.
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  #32  
Old 03-10-2017, 03:20 PM
Kevin Kevin is online now
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Anyone can sue for anything. If one of those parents wants to pay a lawyer to conduct some pre-suit discovery, I suppose, power to 'em. That's tens of thousands of dollars for nothing. Fraternal organizations are structured with multiple layers and semi-independent structures for good cause. The chapter itself in Indiana is inactive and probably has no assets.

Generally, the real and personal property are owned by a house corporation which acts independently of the chapter.

I cannot think of a plausible cause of action under any set of facts against a sorority by a member or the parent of a member for ceasing operations at a particular facility for good cause or bad cause.

I guess I could see a potential claim of bad faith against the chapter or against the officers individually in the chapter if they deceived pledges into initiating into an organization they knew would be shut down... but 1) how do you quantify damages and 2) would you want to ruin your reputation by bringing a law suit which would probably be picked up and distributed for national media consumption by the tort reform activists?
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  #33  
Old 03-10-2017, 04:22 PM
PhilTau PhilTau is offline
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The following is general discussion using hypothetical facts. It is not a discussion about any particular person or organization.

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Anyone can sue for anything. If one of those parents wants to pay a lawyer to conduct some pre-suit discovery, I suppose, power to 'em. That's tens of thousands of dollars for nothing. Fraternal organizations are structured with multiple layers and semi-independent structures for good cause. The chapter itself in Indiana is inactive and probably has no assets.
Unfortunately, there are some very wealthy people who pay attorney fees with the same degree of pain that we pay our Starbucks bill. For something like this, the multi-layering would likely be ignored.

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Generally, the real and personal property are owned by a house corporation which acts independently of the chapter.
And sometimes it is owned by the college.

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I cannot think of a plausible cause of action under any set of facts against a sorority by a member or the parent of a member for ceasing operations at a particular facility for good cause or bad cause.
Here's one (and there are others): A fact pattern establishing estoppel. In this example, the party against whom estoppel is claimed must do or say something calculated or intended to induce another party to believe that certain facts exists and induces the other party to act on that belief and change his position in reliance on those facts, thereby, incurring some injury. Possible hypothetical fact pattern could be that a national organization places a chapter on probation and mandates that the chapter follow its rehabilitation plan and if completed successfully, the chapter would be in good standing and off probation. Chapter works hard and completes the plan successfully, then the chapter is shut down anyway. Possible cause of action for estoppel. May or may not be successful, but it is a cause of action.

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I guess I could see a potential claim of bad faith against the chapter or against the officers individually in the chapter if they deceived pledges into initiating into an organization they knew would be shut down... but 1) how do you quantify damages and 2) would you want to ruin your reputation by bringing a law suit which would probably be picked up and distributed for national media consumption by the tort reform activists?
That's why an attorney would bring a pre-suit discovery action. They would drop the case prior to filing suit (avoiding sanctions for frivolous filing) if they could not develop facts to support a plausible claim. The action would probably not be brought in tort or law, but likely brought in equity so that the court would be empowered to grant equitable relief (e.g., injunction, specific performance or court ordering the national organization to do something). In other words, the goal would not be to get money damages, but to get the court to order the national to undo what it did.

Last edited by PhilTau; 03-10-2017 at 04:32 PM.
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  #34  
Old 03-10-2017, 08:10 PM
elicampbell elicampbell is offline
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After reading most of the comments on petition, one comment stood out was -"Work with the house and help the girls make it better. Best bet is to model proper conflict resolution." At the end of the day, Tri Delta is a private organization and if HQ pulled the charter, the reasons are valid.
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  #35  
Old 03-10-2017, 08:48 PM
DeltaEmi88 DeltaEmi88 is offline
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Originally Posted by PhilTau View Post
The facts behind all this have not been disclosed. So these moms have a right to be pissed off. Keep in mind that several years of membership in this organization represents a significant financial investment totaling thousands of dollars-- dues, initiation fees, house charges, fines, assessments, clothes, etc. At the very least, they deserve from the national organization an accurate explanation of what happened. The people most damaged are the newest members, who joined without knowing that the chapter was about to end.
Okay, I have read through all of your posts, and I have to just say that as an alumna of the organization in question, I disagree with nearly everything you have said. First of all, chapter business is just that: chapter business. The women who are/were members of the chapter very clearly know what is wrong, since they were placed on probation. Our Executive Office is good at communicating with chapters, and if there is something that needs to be corrected, then they will tell them to correct it. Also, chapter business is NOT the business of the mothers of the members. The mothers are not active members of the chapter, and they most likely do not know about the internal affairs, policies, and bylaws of the chapter.

Second, the women of the chapter know what they are getting into when they join. I'm not going to go into it because it is chapter business, but the expectations for every member is clearly laid out. The new members have not been initiated, so it is not as if they were initiated and are now stuck on campus without a chapter. They are free to join another sorority.

And third, what occurred within the chapter is between the chapter and Executive Office. No one is owed an explanation of why the chapter was shut down, and furthermore, our EO did provide an explanation. Just because it is not detailed does not mean that it isn't an explanation. Private chapter business is just that-private. No mother is owed an explanation, same as alumni that were not involved. It is between the chapter members and EO.
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  #36  
Old 03-11-2017, 03:55 PM
AGDee AGDee is offline
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And those of us who have been in involved beyond college know that no NPC organization is going to close a chapter at Indiana University without very good reasons. It is a huge financial hit to lose a chapter of that size. It can be a reputational hit to not be on a campus like IU. There are thousands of upset alumnae when a chapter of this caliber is closed. The risks have to outweigh the benefits for a chapter to be closed and the benefits of chapters at IU are huge.

Without having any idea what led to the closing, I know it had to be major.
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  #37  
Old 03-11-2017, 07:30 PM
GratefulGramma GratefulGramma is offline
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That is an absolutely gorgeous house (I guess most of them are, I'm just not familiar with that area)! The girls who have not been initiated hadn't move into the house, right? I'm shuddering at the thought of however many young women having to hustle to find housing (at this time of year, weatherwise) when that campus has everybody live in the houses. BG's house was smaller and she always had an apartment.
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  #38  
Old 03-11-2017, 08:12 PM
FSUZeta FSUZeta is online now
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I would wager that making the young women move out has to do with insurance and liability issues. An important lesson of decisions having consequences.
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  #39  
Old 03-11-2017, 08:29 PM
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I would wager that making the young women move out has to do with insurance and liability issues. An important lesson of decisions having consequences.
The new member classes at IU do not move in chapter houses until the following fall. Over the past few years, when a fraternity at IU has been closed they have had to move out of their house within 30 days or less. I do not know if the Tri Delta women were given until the rest of the semester, I have not heard for sure one way or the other.
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  #40  
Old 03-11-2017, 11:21 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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Okay, I have read through all of your posts, and I have to just say that as an alumna of the organization in question, I disagree with nearly everything you have said. First of all, chapter business is just that: chapter business. The women who are/were members of the chapter very clearly know what is wrong, since they were placed on probation. Our Executive Office is good at communicating with chapters, and if there is something that needs to be corrected, then they will tell them to correct it. Also, chapter business is NOT the business of the mothers of the members. The mothers are not active members of the chapter, and they most likely do not know about the internal affairs, policies, and bylaws of the chapter.

Second, the women of the chapter know what they are getting into when they join. I'm not going to go into it because it is chapter business, but the expectations for every member is clearly laid out. The new members have not been initiated, so it is not as if they were initiated and are now stuck on campus without a chapter. They are free to join another sorority.

And third, what occurred within the chapter is between the chapter and Executive Office. No one is owed an explanation of why the chapter was shut down, and furthermore, our EO did provide an explanation. Just because it is not detailed does not mean that it isn't an explanation. Private chapter business is just that-private. No mother is owed an explanation, same as alumni that were not involved. It is between the chapter members and EO.
Try looking at it this way. Say your daughter was on a campus dance team where she had to buy her own uniform, attend a weeklong camp over the summer, and pay partial costs for travel to the places the team performed. All of a sudden, the team gets shut down and the girls have no way of recouping the money. No reason is given except some vague corporatespeak. As a parent, wouldn't you be angry?

I agree that these women are adults & that this is their fight, and probably didn't tell their parents everything, and that there's certainly some fwap fwapping. But to pooh-pooh all the parents' feelings, especially when many of them were probably paying the (not cheap) sorority dues, is just not realistic. Step out of thinking about it as a sorority member and think about it as a parent. Whether or not they have a legal right to feel that way, it's perfectly understandable that they do.

And I COMPLETELY disagree that chapter alumnae who weren't involved, whatever "involved" means, don't deserve a full explanation. That's along the same lines as saying alumnae who aren't advising or active in an alum chapter shouldn't be allowed to write recs.
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Last edited by 33girl; 03-11-2017 at 11:28 PM.
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  #41  
Old 03-11-2017, 11:39 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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It’s sort of a Catch-22, though. Aren’t people here constantly advising PNMs not to listen to tent talk/gossip/rumors? And one of the examples commonly given of such a rumor not to listen to is “Don’t join XYZ, they’re about to get shut down.” So, if IU PNMs had heard this about Tri-Delta, how were they supposed to know whether this was a true statement, or just part of the sorority gossip mill?
Those kinds of rumors usually have to deal with a smaller chapter that it's believed will be shut down for lack of members. From what I gather, it's pretty common knowledge at IU who is on probation or other sorts of discipline. If I heard from every third person that XYZ was on probation, I'd probably believe it. However, if I liked them enough, that probably wouldn't matter to me. When I rushed, one of the chapters had a fairly nasty hazing reputation. That isn't the main reason I cut them though, I cut them because they were rude. If I would've walked into the party and felt like I'd found my home, I wouldn't have cared about the rumors, no matter how prevalent they were.
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  #42  
Old 03-12-2017, 10:24 AM
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AZTheta AZTheta is offline
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And I COMPLETELY disagree that chapter alumnae who weren't involved, whatever "involved" means, don't deserve a full explanation. That's along the same lines as saying alumnae who aren't advising or active in an alum chapter shouldn't be allowed to write recs.
Not addressing your other comments b/c you already know where I stand on those issues, and others have also commented on the parents' "right to be angry" .

I can't follow or agree with your reasoning, and I offer my opinion based on personal experience. Here's why I think differently than you do on this issue:

We do not permit alumnae to participate in membership selection. We do not permit alumnae to attend chapter meetings (unless they are on the advisory board), and interfere in chapter business. We do not permit alumnae to attend social functions. Alumnae do not participate in chapter discipline proceedings. And so on. A "full explanation" involves details of chapter business which, frankly, are not alumnae business. As alumnae, we have a responsibility (and even a duty) to trust our headquarters/executive offices to be in charge and on top of what's going on at the college level. That is not our concern. There is a very strong element of trust, as well as ritual, involved here. And you can see where I'm going with this, as can anyone else who's reading.

In my experience, alumnae who "came out of the woodwork" only wanted to know gossip, dirty details, and "what did those girls do wrong?". The alumnae who were involved with the chapter, and the recent alumnae (new graduates, or those who graduated within the past five-ten years) are generally well aware of problems which lead to a chapter being put on probation or stricter discipline. And the rest of the Greek community, as well as the University administration, is aware. It is up to the individual members to explain (or not) to their parents. The members know why this happened.

For me it is enough to read that the chapter was closed for the reason(s) given. There is no correlation between providing a "full explanation" and writing a membership recommendation. It's apples and oranges. They are not equivalent.
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  #43  
Old 03-12-2017, 10:55 AM
33girl 33girl is offline
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I don't think whatever happened should be put on blast for the world to see just so alumnae can know what's up. But if a chapter alumna contacts HQ asking what happened, IMO she deserves more than just some vague corporatespeak about values and purpose. She wouldn't be a sister if that chapter hadn't existed.

Perhaps if some of the alumnae of chapters that close DID know more details of why it happened, they'd understand and agree with why HQ made such a decision and have more trust and respect when it happens in the future. It would be great if every single GLO chapter out there had a perfect relationship with their HQ, but as both those entities include humans that are capable of mistakes and emotions, it doesn't always work that way.

There are 4 groups involved in every chapter closure - the college chapter, the alumnae, the national office and the campus Greek system - and if you put all their viewpoints in a blender, perhaps you would come out with 100% accuracy of what happened.

ETA: this is speaking generally, not this chapter in particular.
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  #44  
Old 03-12-2017, 11:05 AM
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I agree that these women are adults & that this is their fight, and probably didn't tell their parents everything, and that there's certainly some fwap fwapping. But to pooh-pooh all the parents' feelings, especially when many of them were probably paying the (not cheap) sorority dues, is just not realistic. Step out of thinking about it as a sorority member and think about it as a parent. Whether or not they have a legal right to feel that way, it's perfectly understandable that they do.

Why look at it as a parent? Yes, that sounds dismissive, but I'm serious. These are women (not girls) who took obligations to do certain things and not do other things. They took those obligations freely. Some knew when they took on the obligation that they were not paying for them, but where they get the money to participate is purely between themselves and the money-givers (presumably the parents). The parents are not members, did not take those obligations, and have no skin in the game.

It's not a "legal right to feel that way" -- it's recognizing that they have every right to feel whatever they do; they have no legal right to act on it.
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  #45  
Old 03-12-2017, 11:16 AM
33girl 33girl is offline
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That's pretty much what I said in the first sentence There seemed to be posts that were expressing incredulity that parents even had an emotion about it. I'm not sure why it would be surprising as we are living in the Helicopter Age.
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