Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Following a year-long suspension, the Phi Psi fraternity has reopened this semester. During the Fall 2016 semester, Phi Psi, then on probation, was charged with violating the College’s Student Code of Conduct, as well as the alcohol and social event management policies. A College Judiciary Committee comprised of two students, two faculty members, and an administrator held Phi Psi was responsible for the charges. As a result of this violation on probation, the fraternity was suspended as an organization for the Spring and Fall 2017 semesters. During the suspension, Phi Psi was prohibited from all organizational activities, including any use of their house.
Since the incident, the fraternity has taken a number of actions in collaboration with the Office of Student Engagement to prevent future suspension. Fraternity President Mark Hergenroeder ’19 noted a number of steps Phi Psi has taken since last spring:
“First, we revised and improved our emergency protocol procedures. Andrew Barclay and other members of the administration were extremely helpful in this regard. Second, we implemented stricter sanctions on individuals who violate this protocol. This initiative is an internal effort that we intend to use liberally. Third, we will have four times the number of brothers designated as ‘Party Monitors’ at any social event. Lastly, we have been working with Mike Hill to cultivate a better relationship with Public Safety. I am very confident that we can create a mutually beneficial and respectful environment to work in. At the end of the day, we both have the same goals. It’s important to realize that.”
Additionally, the fraternity plans to incorporate more guest feedback into their event planning.
“For starters, we’ve improved the Title IX mentorship program we’re involved in and are excited to implement it in its full capacity next fall,” Hergenroder said. “Additionally, we thought it’s important to have a better way of collecting people’s experiences at our events. There’s a lot of misconception out there, so we intend to send out semi-regular emails to those that attend our events. Hearing what people like or don’t like is crucial.”
Regarding the actions the fraternity took during its suspension to improve future operations, Director of the Office of Student Engagement Andrew Barclay said he hopes the actions will mitigate issues moving forward.
“During the sanction period Phi Psi updated their event management plan, participated in trainings, and met with College Administrators. That event management plan was shared with all members,” he said. “We expect Phi Psi, like all organizations or groups of students who host events, will adhere to the event guidelines found in the student handbook.”
Hergenroder indicated the fraternity hopes to co-host events with other student organizations in the future.
“It’s always important to invite new faces into the house,” he said. “Many students have expressed really positive feelings about our reopening. We’re excited to continue to provide an important part of Swarthmore’s social scene. Our past three events have been great examples of that. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing a house packed full of Swatties having a good time. Stay tuned for our ‘Winter Olympics’ party coming soon!”