Belmont’s Phi Delta Theta president, along with a student government association member, drafted a resolution criticizing the university for revoking Phi Delta Theta’s on-campus recognition.
Phi Delt president Brock Fuller and SGA member Johnny Murphy prepared the document. Murphy is also a member of the Phi Delt.
Representative Ben Waitikaitis is sponsoring the measure alongside Fuller and Murphy.
If passed, the resolution will operate as a statement from SGA about the university’s conduct throughout the Phi Delta investigation but will have no effect on the appeals process. An explanation issued with the resolution stated that passing this resolution “does not mean SGA believes Phi Delta Theta is innocent.”
The university revoked Phi Delta’s recognition on campus after an investigation into infractions that allegedly took place at a Phi Delta bid day party on the night of Sept. 7.
In an official statement regarding the decision, interim Dean of Students Dr. Becky Spurlock said, “Belmont University’s Office of Student Activities has determined that the Phi Delta Theta fraternity has violated established Code of Conduct policies for organizational activity, including the Hazing and Substance Free Community policies.”
The resolution essentially says that Belmont’s decision late last month to revoke Phi Delta’s recognition as an organization on campus was an unfair move that held the entire chapter accountable for the actions of a few members.
Phi Delta’s leaders were made aware of the infractions at the party and made an effort to stop them. Belmont also overlooked the chapter’s past accomplishments when the decision was made, according to the resolution.
“The infractions committed during this year’s Bid Day Party on Sept. 7 were by a few members of the chapter and not the chapter as a whole. The leadership of the chapter stopped the infractions immediately when they were made aware of the incident,” the resolution says.
It also states that Belmont’s handling of the situation “does not reflect the University’s Christian values because Belmont University is endeavoring to punish the whole chapter for actions not committed by the chapter as a whole but rather a few members.”
The resolution emphasizes this point by citing the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah, in which God decides to spare the few righteous people in the two cities even though the majority of the people living in them are sinful.
Statements from 10 different witnesses who were present at the party in question are also contained in the document. These statements were collected by Fuller but were “not welcomed by the administration when they were offered by the student body president.”
The resolution asserts that the information in the witness statements “directly contradicts some of the allegations held against Phi Delta Theta.”
And it states that Belmont did not follow the appropriate procedures in how it conducted the investigation as a whole, and that Amy Coles, who headed the investigation, “should not have been the one to head an investigation against the chapter” because her husband was impeached and removed as president of Phi Delta Theta in 2000 during his time at Belmont.
According to the resolution, Coles’ husband, Joshua, was impeached for attempting to “institute actions in contravention to the wishes of the active members of the chapter. Mr. Coles disowned pledge brothers, a little brother and the majority of the pledge class he trained.”
Coles did not respond to an email asking for comment.
According to the resolution, marijuana was not seen at the bid day party by any of the 10 witnesses that Fuller collected statements from. And the witnesses said they felt leading and aggressive questions were asked during the investigation, which “may have led to false information being provided.”
SGA will vote on the resolution at its regular meeting Monday, Oct. 21. The full resolution and witness statements can be read below:
Phi Delta Theta Witness Statements (**All witness names have been removed at the request of SGA)
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