On Wednesday October 7, Michael Fischer, the vice president for faculty and student affairs, sent out a campus-wide email informing students and staff that the Triniteer fraternity will be suspended for three years.
“After a careful review, I determined that it is in the best interest of the campus community to place the Triniteers on three-year suspension. As such, the Triniteers lose all rights and privileges granted to recognized organizations, and it may not exist, formally or informally,” Fischer said.
Fischer continued to note the repercussions of the decision for students affiliated with the organization.
“Members of the Triniteers fraternity were notified to cease operations as an organization or face individual judicial action,” Fischer said. “Any students who requested or received membership into this unrecognized organization in the past or who act as new members moving forward risk facing judicial action, including potential expulsion.”
The Triniteers began their re-chartering process in the fall of 2015. New information regarding the fraternity breaking its sanctions arose later in the year, prompting an in-depth investigation that ultimately resulted in the suspension.
“The organization did not fulfill the stated terms of the rechartering agreement that dated October 16 2013, including: the existence of unofficial members “¦ hosting events with alcohol (this was not permitted until 2015-2016 when the undergraduate membership reached junior standing) “¦ hosting unregistered events with alcohol and using organizational dues to purchase alcohol,” said Sharon Jones Schweitzer, assistant vice president for external relations.
Members of the Greek Council received the information regarding the suspension at the same time as the Trinity community did. Cameron Archer, co-chair of the Men’s Greek Council, was amongst those students.
“With regards to the recent Teers decision, Greek Council was not informed of the decision or investigation prior to any other students on campus. Greek Council has been provided no more information about this investigation other than what was provided to all students,” Archer said.
The Trinity Greek Council noted its support of the decision to suspend the Triniteers and remarked that it has full confidence in the investigation that took place.
“This decision was made at the highest levels of the school’s administration and as such we trust their decision to hold the investigation in the manner they did. This investigation has been an isolated event and in no way reflects an anti-greek administrative attitude or impending suspensions of other Greek organizations. At this time Greek Council and the greater Greek community are committed to supporting the 13 current Greek organizations on campus in every way possible. This community is strong and resilient and we are dedicated to remaining leaders and scholars on Trinity’s campus for years to come,” Archer said.
At this time the fraternity will remain under suspension but there remains the possibility for an appeal to re-charter the organization in the future.
“If the suspension goes without incident the university is open to working with a multigenerational group of Triniteer alumni to explore guidelines for the reestablishment of the Triniteer legacy. The Triniteers are one of the university’s oldest fraternities [and] they are celebrating their 70th anniversary this weekend. They have a long history of scholarship, service, leadership and camaraderie,” said Schweitzer.
The men of the Triniteer fraternity released a statement to the Trinitonian which goes as follows:
These are times of tribulation for myself and the individuals I call brothers in this respective journey we all call life. I would like to acknowledge the fact that as an organization we’ve violated aspects of our Re-chartering process. The University gave us an opportunity and we failed. We tried, and we failed. As an organization we would first like to apologize and second, thank members of the university for trying as well. I would also seek to thank our alumni for their tremendous amount of support.
I have lived a life in which tribulation has been constant. My brothers have helped me learn to fight through these tribulations and have helped me to grow into a man who humbly wishes to serve to others as they have served to me. As a former gentlemen of the Triniteers I wish to shed light upon the assumption that we, as an organization, have no values. Our perceived lack of values is indeed a tarnished perception due to the somewhat antiquated mindsets of several of those casting judgment. It is not specifically that those casting judgment are incapable of understanding our values; it is that they did not wish to try and understand. We have values that are heavily rooted in expression of oneself and, through such expression, understanding of oneself. Individuals all have their respective tribulations in which they must learn to grow and overcome. Many people find routes to gaining perspective that are not condoned and are commonly stigmatized by society. While our values may not find grounding in traditional views and ideals it is important to understand that in this society there are those who seek to find perspective through such stigmatized routes. As a freshmen I for one found myself in this demographic. I was searching for answers and hoping to find a niche in life in which I could contribute something pure, something honest. In our time here we have served to each other as brothers that are holistically accepting of one another. Our perceived lack of values is derivative of the fact that others never tried to quantify and empathize with what we believe in. We believe in the fact that those individuals who are much like ourselves deserve to find a place in which the very stigmatization that misguides many minds can be looked past. We believe that these individuals deserve to find a place in which they can fully express themselves and search for their purpose in life without anything holding them down. We believe that because we have lived and experienced life through a similar lens we should seek to help mold and guide these individuals into becoming gentlemen. Sadly, as an organization we never found the opportunity in which we could help the individuals that, much like ourselves, were seeking to find answers through unconventional paths. I only wish that we could’ve had the opportunity to truly be understood. The creed of the Triniteers lies firmly in the idea that one’s choices are theirs alone. The men of the Triniteers have never been forced, let alone asked to change, to fit a mold. In a rapidly changing world this fundamental value is a bad fit. We are, by nature repulsed by the idea of conformity, and asking for such defeats the purpose of our club.
-James Clarke and The Gentlemen of the Triniteers