UPDATES: This article has been updated to reflect a statement from the university and a March 3, 2022 statement from Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity.
Delta Kappa Epsilon International Fraternity (DKE) closed its Vanderbilt Gamma associate chapter due to violations of Fraternity’s Standards on Associate Member education, social event management and hazing, per a statement from DKE.
DKE released a statement on Feb. 26 saying that they had been notified by university officials of alleged violations of health and safety policies on Feb. 16.
“Due to the Associate Chapter’s previous violation of policy, and the initial information provided by Vanderbilt and the Associate Chapter, Delta Kappa Epsilon International Fraternity has removed its recognition of the Associate Chapter,” the statement reads.
DKE chapter President Noah Abrams cited a violation of university COVID-19 gathering policy as the reason behind the chapter’s closure. After the noncompliant gathering, Abrams said he conducted an internal investigation and planned on having an accountability meeting.
“Before this could occur, our national organization informally voted to close our chapter operations considering the investigation that occurred last year and the pending one this year,” Abrams said.
DKE Director of Member Services Trey Robb said that Vanderbilt’s chapter had not yet completed the onboarding to become a fully chartered chapter, and associate chapter leadership received a formal letter stating that the International Fraternity revoked recognition. As Director of Member Services, Robb stated that he specializes in the undergraduate experience and is primarily responsible for health and safety conduct, including COVID-19 standards and policy violations related to hazing. The timeline for the investigation mentioned both by Abrams and the fraternity’s statement is unknown.
“We are currently working through the accountability process at the university and in partnership with the university,” Robb said. “At this time, we would not be able to expand on the alleged behavior that occurred.”
Abrams said no dues had been collected, thus, no refunds would be necessary. Neither Robb nor Abrams commented on the future of the DKE house, where construction was completed before the start of the Fall 2020 semester.
Per Abrams, DKE has been on Vanderbilt’s campus since 1847, however, their recent comeback was in April of 2019. DKE was removed from campus in 2015 due to a violation of university policy and further risk management following a chapter change agreement due to a university policy violation involving illegal drugs. On Feb. 26, a university communications representative sent The Hustler a statement from the university.
“Delta Kappa Epsilon is currently under investigation by Student Accountability for violations of university policy associated with a gathering,” the statement reads. “The fraternity made their decision prior to the accountability meeting. We are working with the international organization and the chapter to close out final details as they discontinue operations at Vanderbilt.”
Director of Greek Life Kristin Torrey, who Robb said was a primary point of contact for the investigation, has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Doug Lanpher, Executive Director of Delta Kappa Epsilon, sent a statement to The Hustler on March 3, 2022. The statement reiterated the Feb. 14, 2021 closure of the chapter and added that because terms like “Deke” and the name Delta Kappa Epsilon are trademarked, unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
“No group of students at Vanderbilt is authorized to use the name ‘Delta Kappa Epsilon’ or any of its service marks, yet we have evidence that some students are doing exactly that,” the statement reads.
The statement concludes by encouraging students who believe that there are people on campus who continue to operate as though they constitute an official DKE chapter to inform the Dean of Students Office and Delta Kappa Epsilon International Fraternity.