New fraternity Theta Tau admitted to IFC on second attempt

Revision of admission procedures delayed process, former regent says

The Interfraternity Council (IFC) admitted the MIT chapter of Theta Tau, a professional engineering fraternity, as a probationary member Oct. 12.

Robert Binkowski ’18, president of the IFC, announced the result in an email. With Theta Tau’s addition, the IFC now consists of 26 member chapters.

Last fall, the IFC rejected Theta Tau’s initial petition, according to the minutes of a November 2016 meeting of the Association of Independent Living Groups (AILG) board, a group of alumni which coordinates with the IFC. At the time, Theta Tau was given permission to reapply for admission in the spring of 2018.

But in a February 2017 AILG meeting, Binkowski announced that the IFC would adopt “a constitutional amendment to resolve conflicts with the new recognition policy,” allowing Theta Tau to be reconsidered sooner. Three months later, Jack Gordon ’18, vice president of the IFC, reported to the AILG that the date had been moved to late September 2017.

Binkowski and Gordon did not respond to requests for comment on the reasons for these decisions.

The “new recognition policy” Binkowski referenced included changes to Article V, Section 3 of the IFC constitution, titled “Procedures for Recognition of Petitioning Groups.”

Formerly, according to the 2014 IFC constitution, “a majority vote of all present and voting members at a meeting of the Presidents Council” was required for a petitioning group to be admitted. New groups started as associate members and could advance to probationary membership by a three-quarters vote.

Now, the progression has been reversed. A three-quarters vote is required for a petitioning group to be admitted as a probationary member, and new groups can advance to associate membership by a majority vote after an initial period of no less than one year, according to the latest published version of the constitution.

The process for making these revisions “stretched over a year and at times delayed what we hoped would be our timeline,” Kyle Archer ’18, current house manager and former regent (a position analogous to president) of Theta Tau, wrote in an email to The Tech.

As for why they were not admitted last year, “it was mostly because we were a young [group], and [the IFC] wanted us to prove that … we’ve figured everything out,” Jeremy Bogle ’18, current regent of Theta Tau, said in an interview with The Tech.

Theta Tau was established as a colony at MIT in April 2016. Its founding students included former members of Delta Upsilon (DU), and it is housed in the former DU residence on 526 Beacon Street. The MIT chapter of DU was suspended by the DU International Fraternity for two years in April 2014 following the report of ongoing hazing rituals.

Although they are still connected with DU alumni through the house, Theta Tau is a “completely new group” and “founded on new values,” Bogle emphasized.

Theta Tau also gained chapter status in the spring of 2017, which Bogle credited as a major reason it succeeded in gaining admittance to the IFC this year. “We’ve come a long way from last fall to this fall in terms of defining Theta Tau,” Bogle said.

Probationary members of the IFC cannot vote but can attend meetings and participate in IFC events and committees.

Theta Tau is “super excited” to be a part of the IFC, Bogle said. “We think we’ll be able to learn a lot from the other chapters on campus.”