Towards the end of November, we received a tip from an anonymous source in the Gamma Phi Beta sorority describing how the newly elected president rose to her position by “bullying her opponent, promising appointed positions to get votes, and spreading false rumors.” The source, who is still a member of the sorority, declined to meet with Bwog as she desired to keep her identity anonymous.
The tipster revealed how Gamma Phi leadership, both the newly elected president and the chapter’s Collegiate Leadership Consultant (CLC), has attempted to cover up the unethical behaviour of the now former President-Elect, who resigned from her position as Chapter President earlier this week. In response, Gamma Phi’s Administrative Vice President sent a denunciation email to the entire chapter before resigning.
The Sorority’s New Chapter Coordinator (a primary advisor for Columbia’s Gamma Phi chapter, also referred to as the Chapter Advisor) responded to this denunciation in an email, of which the Gamma Phi tipster released portions to us. The Advisor outlined certain executive actions which were taken against the former President-Elect under the Disciplinary Action section, in what we believe to be the bylaws of Columbia’s Gamma Phi chapter.
The Advisor writes how, in the case of minor offenses, the standards committee may “stipulate a designated time to improve, encourage counseling, or issue a warning.” The tipster says that the standards committee is in charge of handling minor issues, and that “more serious issues regarding harassment are to be dealt with in executive council hearings and have proportionally serious consequences.” The tipster believes this “is exactly the reason that they gave [the former President-Elect] a standards hearing” instead of a more appropriate executive council hearing.
The advisor’s email states that the Standards Committee and the Chapter Advisor decides whether to determine if incidents are to be escalated to the Executive Council. But in the Collegiate Operations Manual of Gamma Phi Beta it states that “instances of hazing and harassment are to be dealt with in Executive Council Hearings.” The Advisor seemingly disregards the Gamma Phi Collegiate Operations Manual in order to cover up the incident, saying that the incident was not related to “alcohol, drugs, and/or hazing” and so shouldn’t be dealt with by the chapter’s Executive Council. But the Collegiate Operations Manual “very clearly indicates hazing/harassment to be issues that the executive council handles.”
The sister who filed an incident report, as well as another sister named in the report, are members of the Standards Committee, leading the Advisor to claim that both must recuse themselves and find replacements for the hearing. However, “neither of the two members that were replaced were notified of their replacement,” with the Advisor even having zero contact with one of the members. According to our source, this is in no way mandated. In fact, in the case of a member of the Executive Council filing an incident report, the “members of the executive council [who filed the incident report] are expected to … attend the hearing.”
On top of this, one of the Standards Committee members who the Advisor says must recuse herself is also a member of the Executive Council. According to our source, “these decisions seem to be made for an agenda separate from Gamma Phi’s interests and to ensure that specific opinions are not present at the decision.”
The Advisor also notes in her email that “a date for the hearing has not been set as there was difficulty reserving a private space on campus to conduct the meetings.” The tipster mentioned no requests were made for a private space on campus for the Standards Committee. The Administrative Vice President was never notified to make a room request, which would have been easy to make as the room would only need to hold five to seven people.
The Gamma Phi advisor also states in her email that “we are all human and do make mistakes and have poor judgement from time to time.” The tipster asserts that this is more proof corroborating Gamma Phi leadership attempting to downplay the situation, reducing harassment in the form of “slut-shaming and utterly false comments” to “mistakes or mishaps and almost defending [the former President-Elect’s] actions.” To support this accusation of “slut-shaming and utterly false comments,” the tipster included records of texts where the former President-Elect says about another sister running for an executive position that nobody will take her seriously because “people think she’s such a slut” and that “let’s be real … she kind of is.”
The Chapter Advisor allegedly met with the sorority during their recruitment retreat to “address the chapter for damage control,” though our source did not respond to further inquiries about the state of the Gamma Phi controversy.
Furthermore, a third party member recounted the scandal in an email to the sorority’s international headquarters. We are unaware of any actions the sorority’s headquarters have taken so far.
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