Delta Upsilon Fraternity Charter Revoked

In a statement, members of the UChicago chapter called the DU International Board of Directors’ decision “mutually beneficial” and expressed a long-standing desire to disaffiliate from the international organization.


By Austin Zeglis

The University of Chicago’s chapter of the Delta Upsilon (DU) fraternity had its charter revoked by the Delta Upsilon International (DUI) Board of Directors, according to letters sent by the board to UChicago chapter members and alumni on Tuesday.

The DUI board’s email to chapter alumni said that the UChicago DU chapter participated in two separate hearings with the DUI Board of Directors regarding their failure to meet the DUI Men of Merit Chapter Standards, with “no measurable improvements of engagement from the undergraduate members.” Additionally, the letter revealed that the Chicago chapter had accumulated more than $60,000 in debt to DUI and had been the subject of multiple hazing complaints.

The Men of Merit Chapter Standards is a list of expectations set by DUI to ensure that members maintain “a safe, educational, and productive experience.” It includes goals pertaining to member conduct in a wide range of areas, including the number of expected service hours and cumulative chapter GPA.

“For more than five years, the chapter has not met the expectations set forth in the Fraternity’s Men of Merit Chapter Standards Program,” the DUI board explained in its letter to chapter alumni. “The chapter has been assigned staff liaisons and volunteer Men of Merit coaches to assist in meeting the basic expectations set forth by the International fraternity, yet little to no progress has been made in that time.”

According to DUI’s bylaws, any undergraduate chapter’s charter can be revoked for cause with a two-thirds vote by the board.

“All undergraduate members of the Chicago Chapter are hereby placed on alumni status with the International Fraternity,” DUI’s letter to chapter members reads. “All associate members of the chapter are released from their associate member status in Delta Upsilon and are free to join another fraternity if they wish.” The letter—dated December 13, 2022—backdates the charter revocation to November 19, the date of one of the former chapter’s hearings in front of DUI.

In a statement to The Maroon, the renamed Former Chicago Chapter of Delta Upsilon provided a different account of their charter revocation, writing, “We view this as the result of the stance our chapter has taken in favor of disaffiliation from DUI over the last few years.”

The former chapter’s statement said that the fraternity suffered heavy financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected their ability to pay the aforementioned costs, and that DUI failed to provide the chapter with “any support whatsoever.” The former chapter, according to their statement, also believed that insurance costs levied by DUI were “heavily inflated,” citing external legal consultation.

The DUI board also cited complaints levied by neighbors of DU’s house on South Woodlawn Avenue as grounds for revoking the charter.

“[Complaints from neighbors] include issues with alcohol and trash being left in [DU’s] yard and in the yard of neighboring houses, members being loud and disruptive to their neighborhood, and hazing allegations. Furthermore, the chapter has failed to meet the sanctions from previous Loss Prevention Policy violations,” the board’s letter said.

The Loss Prevention Policy is DUI’s set of rules concerning “the wellness and safety of members and guests,” according to the Delta Upsilon website. “This includes policies regarding alcohol and drugs, hazing, sexual assault, fire and more.”

In addition to the condition of the house, DUI cited the behavior of and neglect by chapter members as another factor behind their decision.

“On several occasions it has been reported that individuals not only access the terrace on the roof, but use a rope to climb the highest peaks of the house,” the letter said. “The house is rundown [sic], there is little to no maintenance or upkeep occurring, and there is no schedule or financial ability to engage in any necessary capital improvement projects.”

The Former Chicago Chapter of Delta Upsilon also responded to DUI’s non-financial concerns in their statement. “We view our disengagement and many of the other points of contention cited by DUI as a product of our failure to see any benefit in being affiliated with them.”

Four undergraduate members and three alumni represented the chapter in their hearing with DUI regarding these issues. In their letter, the board said that despite “multiple communications regarding the hearing,” the undergraduate students present were not prepared and had to be reminded of the charges laid against the chapter.

“While closing a chapter is the hardest decision the Board of Directors makes, DU is committed to holding out members and chapters accountable to our standards, our purpose, and our Principles,” the board said at the end of their letter. “Unfortunately, the inaction of the undergraduate members has led to this tough decision.”

In the letter to the members of the UChicago chapter, the board listed conditions that must be met if the group wishes to resume its affiliation with DUI: the paying in full of unpaid fees totaling $60,672.70, the creation of a DUI–approved alumni advisory board, the establishment of a chapter legacy plan to support members’ educational program attendance, and the improvement of the physical condition of the chapter house.

In regard to their future on campus, the former chapter pointed to reorganization in lieu of complete dissolution in their statement.

“Our alumni board, who own our house, have stated their strong support for the undergraduates as we restructure our organization,” the statement said. “Given our longstanding desire to disaffiliate with Delta Upsilon International, we view this decision as mutually beneficial, and are excited about the new beginning ahead.”

In an email to The Maroon on Friday, December 16, DUI Director of Communications Ashley Martin Schowengerdt forwarded a statement from DUI Executive Director Justin Kirk in response to the former chapter’s comments.

“For several years, the Fraternity has provided ample staff and volunteer support to help the chapter achieve success and has worked with it to address its debt, including the use of payment plans, waiving fees during the pandemic, and significantly reducing insurance costs for all DU chapters. Fraternity staff also assisted Chicago Chapter members in their efforts to find a more affordable insurance option, but the chapter was unable to do so. As a result of the charter revocation, the chapter is no longer insured by the International Fraternity’s insurance program,” Kirk’s statement read.

“It is unfortunate that the chapter members believed their apathy and disinterest could speak for them instead of taking mature steps to discuss improvements, reorganization or disaffiliation,” the statement continued. “Per terms of the closure, chapter members should cease chapter activities immediately. They must also refrain from operating with the name Delta Upsilon, as it is federally trademarked.”

This article has been updated to include a statement from DUI.