Tuesday, July 26, 2016 | Subscribe

Delts christen campus house

On Saturday of home­coming weekend, alumni of Delta Tau Delta fra­ternity returned not only to see brothers and old friends, but also for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of their old fraternity’s new house on Manning Street.

Hillsdale College had the Delts’ former house bulldozed after the fra­ternity was dis­banded in 2003. Since the fra­ternity was res­ur­rected in 2009, members have cam­paigned for a new house.

“The way a house brings us together and is a physical embodiment of the broth­erhood,” senior Delt Thomas Rupp said. “It’s nice to have a place where we can meet together and hang out. The house brings the broth­erhood together.”

The Delts have been looking for a new house since their re-chartering on Hillsdale’s campus in 2009.

According to Delta Tau Delta president and senior Derek Fields, the search for a house started two years ago when Delt members and Delta Tau Delta adviser and College Chaplain Bishop Peter Beckwith, met with the administration.

Soon afterwards, Pro­fessor of Biology Daniel York sold his house to the college, and the college decided to delegate it to the Delts.

Rupp spent his summer working in Hillsdale, and spent much of that time ren­o­vating and cleaning out the house. The fra­ternity came back to campus several days early to help finish the cleaning, and seven members moved in this semester.

Saturday’s ceremony marked the end of the Delts period of home­lessness on Hillsdale’s campus.

College President Larry Arnn retold the history of Delta Tau Delta to the more than 30 people who attended the ribbon cutting.

Students founded the fra­ternity during a time when secret-letter societies were not allowed on campus, and, when they were dis­covered, the admin­is­tration promptly expelled all the members.

The next day, however, the members appeared back on campus wearing their Delta Tau Delta badges. The admin­is­tration, upon seeing who the members of the group actually were, decided to rethink their policy on Greek life.

The Delts were kicked off campus in 2003 again. This time, it was for mis­be­havior and it took six years for the college to reinstate them.

Before the fra­ternity was dis­banded, Associate Pro­fessor of English John Somerville lived on Union Street near the old Delt house.

According to Somerville, the fra­ternity even­tually began giving flowers to the res­idents in the area before the weekend, pre­em­i­nently apol­o­gizing for any incon­ve­niences that their parties might cause.

“I don’t think that fra­ter­nities are nec­es­sarily bad,” Somerville said, “but I do think that they have a tendency to become schools of iniquity.”

He said, however, that the current Delts are much more agreeable than the old ones.

“A couple of years after they left campus, they came back.” Somerville said, “I don’t know what they did, but they stacked the Delts from the beginning with the creme of the crop.”

Arnn said the decision to disband the Delta Tau Delta’s was an anguished one.

“I got to know the Delts in conflict, and even the ones I had a conflict with, I admired them.” Arnn said, “We just didn’t have our arrangements right, but we have them right now.”

Dean of Men Aaron Peterson said the Delts now have a good rela­tionship with the college. The college is not just giving the fra­ternity the house to do whatever they want with it, he said, but it’s an agreement to use the house for virtuous means.

“When a fra­ternity goes bad, the chapter house becomes a thing that protects the vice.” Peterson said, “They’re aware of their com­mitment – they want their house to be a thing that promotes the virtues of the fraternity.”

So far, they say they like it.

“The house is well over 100 years and has a lot of good character to it,” said Rupp, who is in charge of alumni relations for Delta Tau Delta. “It’s a really nice place.”


Amanda Tindall Amanda Tindall is the features editor of the Collegian. From northeastern Nebraska, she hopes to move back to the east coast after graduation in 2016. She has worked at the Washington Post Express and the Toledo Free Press, and her favorite form of writing is long-form features and magazine pieces. Email: atindall@hillsdale.edu