Members of Closed Fraternity Respond to Allegations

By now everyone on the campus of Western Carolina has been informed that the charter of Lambda Chi Alpha is closed, however, the reason or reasons for this, are still unclear. Many rumors and speculations of this have been rampant and perhaps the entire truth may never come to light, but one fact is certain. There is a side to the story that has never been told. The purpose of this article is not to make justifications or excuses as to why Lambda Chi Alpha was persecuted, but to shed some light on to what really happened behind the scenes.

Like every fraternal organization, Lambda Chi had it’s numerous problems. Also like every Fraternity we did not always live up to our own unrealistic set of standards. Unlike most other Fraternities, we had numerous tragedies and circumstances that were out of any one person’s control. Although none of these circumstances proved guilt in any capacity, they were “considered” and ultimately shattered our reputation.

The first tragedy happened almost two years ago. Lambda Chi was charged with an extreme case of hazing. Due to the seriousness of this allegation, steps were taken by the brotherhood to investigate any wrongdoing. The mentality was to not cover up any faults, but to uncover problems and to attempt to do what was morally and ethically correct.

In the end we found no misconduct relating to the charges as such, in fact, the very party who had initiated the allegations dropped the charges. This had little if any positive effect on our tarnished reputation, the damage had already been done. This would have a continued haunting effect on our chapter.

The next tragedy was much more serious, and on many levels more misfortunate than the first. A friend of the brotherhood died in a car accident, after leaving another friend’s house, which unfortunately happened in front of our fraternity house. This was a very emotional time for the entire brotherhood, many brothers had actually witnessed the death, and held him as he took his last breath of life.

Unlike the administration of this school, the last thought on any person’s mind was to place blame, guilt, or reasons for his death. Our thoughts were, and still are, with the family and friends of those who lost a loved one. However, it was no surprise when the “powers to be” shifted the public relations nightmare towards the one organization that stood little chance of defending itself, Lambda Chi Alpha. It was also little surprise that the “supposed” defenders of our chapter ran for cover when the almighty dollar was threatened. Lambda Chi Alpha Nationals wanted very little to do with this problem for fear of lawsuits. Instead of helping the very people they represent they left us hung out to dry. But what do you expect from an organization whose nationals and alumni treat their members like a “red headed stepchild.”

The school did offer an investigation, but this turned out to be a joke. Not only did we never get our day in court, we were never given any information concerning their progress of investigation. But have no fear the investigation is still continuing as we speak. It seems that LC Riouff and Dean Haggard are more worried about whether our associate members attend Greek 101 training class and the fact that our fraternity report had an “overall inadequacy” and was “flowery and non-specific,” rather than focus on the facts and non-facts of the death of a student of Western Carolina University.

These incidents proved to be very effective instruments in demeaning the chapter, but were far from the “true” reason we lost the charter. Which brings us to Larry J. Ford, former advisor and alumnus. At one time this was a man who seemingly did everything in his power to help and promote our chapter. He was active in the hazing case and led the internal investigation. He is also a very good friend {Donator} with leaders at National Headquarters, and with school administrators. In short he was a very useful tool and powerful ally for our organization as a former advisor. It was unfortunate that he became a very powerful enemy that managed to deteriorate the brotherhood from within.

What actually led to this transformation is very complicated, but to make a long story short, the brothers were fed up with his obtrusive manner as advisor. {Also many brothers flat out did not trust him, but we will not get into that for fear of being sued, since he is a lawyer.} This breakup between the brotherhood and Larry was fairly congenial, without too many hurt feelings, so we thought. He simply asked to resign as our current advisor and we happily agreed. However, unbeknownst to us, this seemed to leave a lasting, hurtful, and bitter taste in the mouth of Mr. Ford.

The depth to which Mr. Ford has stabbed our chapter in the back will never be completely known, so we will focus on what we do know, which is quite enough. Soon after Larry appeared to have his feelings hurt it seemed like he began a campaign designed to smudge our reputation to Nationals and other Alumni. He did this by way of emails and other forms of communication. The basic purpose and effect these rumors had on our chapter were extremely powerful because he was supposed to be the one man that knew us best. His word no matter how harsh or discriminative was like a knife to our throat. Several brothers questioned Mr. Ford about this and asked him to please stop sabotaging the brotherhood and all it stood for. However, this was shaky ground considering he was in charge of our house and the Housing Corporation. We did not want to make any more of an enemy than we already had, for fear he would eventually do what he ended up doing, which was to push Nationals and the School into taking our recognition.

It was neither the vendetta of Mr. Ford, lack of backbone of our Nationals or the indifference of the school administration, but rather the combination of these factors and others that led to the break up of our family. Lambda Chi Alpha has never been a banner Fraternity that lived up to every rule and regulation, but then again who is. We supplied these forces with the necessary ammunition in the form of technicalities, to bend us over.

What hurts more than the actual taking of our charter, brotherhood, family and home, was the inconsiderate and insincere manner in which it was done. When Chapter officials called and inquired about rumors that the charter was going to be taken, National boldly said “We would never just come down and take your charter without previous notice.” Not only did they do exactly the opposite from which they stated, emails were sent to alumni, days in advance, to help in the closing of our tradition. Lies and deceit were the underlying theme for which this monstrosity was executed. The school administration, our Nationals and our alumni collaborated in a vicious conspiracy to throw out nineteen individuals from their home. What justifies lying and throwing individuals out of their homes with only thirty minutes to gather their belongings?

To all the administration, alumni, and our national chapter, we would like to thank you for breaking up our family. In our chapter we have a saying that is the cornerstone of our brotherhood. “What is Worthwhile is Difficult,” and to those who helped in our downfall, I hope it was worthwhile, because you just made the lives of forty-five brothers extremely difficult.

From, The True Brothers of Beta-Zeta