Pot case spurs closing of U of I fraternity
By ERIN JORDANREGISTER IOWA CITY BUREAU
Iowa City, Ia. - Members of the University of Iowa's Delta Upsilon fraternity must find new lodging after the international fraternity announced it would close the chapter because of an alleged marijuana ring in the house.
Representatives from the fraternity's International Headquarters, alumni board and university told the chapter members of the decision Saturday. The eviction notice came just three days before the start of the spring semester today, but the 20 members living in the house were given 30 days to find new places to live.
"The actions and decisions of these men are incongruent with the mission and values of Delta Upsilon Fraternity," fraternity Executive Director Justin Kirk said in a prepared statement. "Substance abuse does not have a place in our fraternity."
Four Delta Upsilon members were charged in December with drug violations after police raided the fraternity house and found 650 grams of marijuana, cash, packing materials, scales and drug-deal ledgers, court records state.
Stephen Boyler of Bettendorf; James Goetz of Madison, Wis.; Joseph Hillegas of Hinsdale, Ill.; and Arthur Kerwin of Wheaton, Ill., have each been charged with possession and/or conspiracy to deliver marijuana and failure to affix required tax-stamps to the drugs. Both charges are felonies punishable by up to five years in prison and a $7,500 fine.The men pleaded not guilty to the charges earlier this month.
Delta Upsilon's international board and standards committee voted the first week of January to close the chapter and expel the chapter's 40-some members from the organization, Kirk said in a phone interview Monday.
The fraternity has been at the U of I for 82 years, and more than 1,000 men have joined the chapter. Delta Upsilon hopes to return to campus at a later date with all new members, Kirk said. The alumni board will determine how to use the chapter house in the interim, he said.Fraternity closures and suspensions are not unusual at the U of I.
The Phi Delta Theta chapter dissolved in 2005 because of low membership and after a battle with U of I officials over alleged hazing violations from 2002.
The U of I suspended Pi Kappa Alpha for five years in 2004 because of alcohol use and hazing allegations.Beta Theta Pi closed in 2004 because of fire code violations and unsanitary conditions, but returned to campus a year later.