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.
“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.”