By Anne Danahy
STATE COLLEGE - The alumni board of a Penn State fraternity is shutting down the house, saying the students living there caused a long list of problems ranging from not taking care of the property to offering marijuana to a visitor from the fraternity's leadership.
The Delta Upsilon fraternity house at Penn State was ordered to close by its alumni board due to numerous violations.
The Penn State Delta Upsilon alumni board is in the process of expelling the members from the house at 229 Locust Lane, saying ongoing efforts to work with them didn’t stop the problems. The alumni board plans to reopen the house in fall 2010 with new members.
John DelSignore, alumni corporation president and 1992 Penn State graduate, said the decision was made about a week and a half ago.
“It’s certainly something that had been building for quite some time,” DelSignore said. “Even at the beginning of the summer, we had intentions of working with them to try to turn the place around. They still continued to show an unwillingness to live by the principles of the fraternity.”
Alumni treasurer Dave Merenda, a 1977 Penn State graduate from Atlanta, said there were 48 members on campus. He is one of the alumni in the house while it is being shut down. If the five members still haven’t left by Friday, Merenda said he’ll file eviction papers.
“We have guys that are 70 years old, and it’s breaking their hearts,” Merenda said.
The problems have been going on for several years, and some are visible - a broken window, damaged floors, holes in the walls and a stair bannister ripped from a wall. Other problems were drug and alcohol related.
The chapter ended up in redevelopment - a sort of probationary oversight - after a fraternity member offered marijuana to a representative of Delta Upsilon International during a visit.
“Even then they didn’t get the message,” said Merenda, who has been visiting the fraternity several times a year to work with the members and on the building.
The reorganization plan for bringing the fraternity out of probationary status included going to leadership conferences, meeting academic standards and participating in philanthropic efforts. But the members didn’t send anyone to one leadership conference this summer and signed up for a second one only when it was halfway over, according to the alumni.
“I’m relieved. I just couldn’t work with them anymore,” Merenda said.
The house was built in 1890 as a farm house. The fraternity, which started at Penn State in 1911, moved into the house in about 1920. The building was later expanded.
Merenda said representatives will be in the fraternity in the fall to begin recruiting new members under a reorganization plan the university is supporting.
“We’re always unhappy to lose a fraternity,” said Penn State spokeswoman Annemarie Mountz. “However, we also understand that sometimes the reorganization of a chapter is in its best interests. We look forward to working with the alumni and the international headquarters of Delta Upsilon in their efforts to recolonize the chapter in the coming year.”
Mountz said there are 92 fraternity and sorority chapters at Penn State and the ones that do have problems are not representative of the Greek community.
DelSignore said 2011 will be the fraternity’s 100th year at Penn State, and while shutting it down is a big step, it is one alumni think will keep it open in the future.
Copyright 2009 The Centre Daily Times