Louis Hannegan, Managing Editor
University of Dallas Student Government voted 20 to 10 on Tuesday night not to grant a charter to the Alpha Delta Gamma colony on campus. The vote makes very unlikely, but does not definitively prevent, the establishment of what would be the first social fraternity at UD.
President Keefe still retains the final say in the matter and could choose not to follow this vote – though the chances of him doing so are very slim. After receiving input from his 11-member cabinet, Keefe will make a final decision by the end of finals.
“SG’s vote is never the final say in this case or any other case since the process [for granting a charter] includes administrative review; however, unless there is an ethical, moral, legal, or mission or values reason to go counter to an SGA vote, the administration in 99 percent of cases would respect the vote of SG,” said Dr. John Plotts, Vice President of Enrollment and Student Affairs.
Plotts said the administration – the president and his cabinet – does not see any such “ethical, moral, or mission or values reason” to go counter to SG’s vote in this case.
Given the absence of such a reason, Plotts said the chances of the ADG colony receiving a charter and thus being established on campus are “very slim.”
Plotts said the administration could still grant the colony a charter in spite of SG’s vote, but such a decision is “highly unlikely, since we place a very high value on the SGA process.”
Such a decision would not be a departure from the process of granting a charter as described in the Student Organization Handbook since the “administration is part of the charter-granting process,” Plotts said.
The precedent-setting nature of granting the ADG colony a charter has affected who will make the final decision on granting the charter.
“Normally, this would be the call of the dean of students [Interim dean of students Denise Phillips]; however, in this case the President’s Cabinet advises the president through discussion with the president making the final determination. No vote is taken,” Plotts said.
The president’s cabinet consists of Vice Presidents James Berry, Bob Galecke and John Plotts; Academic Deans Charles Eaker, Mark Goodwin, David Sweet and Bob Scherer; Director of Campus Ministry Denise Phillips; Associate Provost Brian Murray; Associate Vice President of Administration Patrick Daly; and Director of Finance Leonard Robertson.
For any student organization such as the ADG colony, being granted a charter is a necessary step toward becoming a full organization on campus.
“Granting a charter is the formal action Student Government takes to recognize clubs and organizations as permanent members of campus,” said Vice President of Student Government Patrick Brehany.
“Once a charter is received, clubs and organizations are able to operate on campus as long as they meet the applicable requirements of Student Activities. Chartered groups are also eligible for additional funding through Student Activities and Student Government,” Brehany said.
“It [being chartered] is a status, not a document,” said Student Government President Renee Davis.“If they [a student organization] are not granted a charter, they are not recognized as an organization at UD.”
A club that does not receive a charter ceases to exist in the eyes of the university, Plotts said.
From the perspective of ADG’s national leadership, if the current ADG colony on campus does not receive a charter, the colony would be required by its national leadership to disband, University of Dallas ADG Colony President Patrick Berry said.
If the ADG colony does receive a charter from UD, it would continue through the colonization process and receive its full charter from the national organization in August, Berry said.
Plotts plans to meet with the members of the ADG colony this week to discuss the recent vote and survey results.
“Certainly, the main part of the conversation will be that it appears very evident that the student body – by means of the survey results and the SGA vote – are not in favor of approving the ADG fraternity,” Plotts said.
According to the survey taken last month, 60 percent of respondents said they would not like to have ADG on campus.
Plotts said he also wants “to do them the courtesy of talking to them in person, since I have met with them on several occasions and they have put a lot of time and effort into this endeavor.”
“Student Government has been honored to play such an integral role in this discussion between and among students, faculty and the administration,” Davis said.
“In particular, the Fraternity Investigatory Committee did an exemplary job engaging the entire student body on this issue. SG is grateful to all students who participated in this discussion, and we hope that together we can move forward as a university community.”