Due to history, UNH asks frat to come back
Phi Mu Delta to rebuild after being closed in ‘08
Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 16:02
In 2008, the UNH chapter of the national fraternity Phi Mu Delta was closed due to a series of policy violations and alcohol incidents. Now, in 2012, officials are back on campus to recruit members in an effort to rebuild their Nu Beta Chapter.
According to the fraternity’s Director of Chapter Development and Growth, Ryan Olsen, administration approved and encouraged the fraternity’s return to campus. Olsen said the group would not have come back unless asked to. In fact, officials were considering pushing the rebuilding pursuit to 2015. However, Phi Mu Delta has a long history with UNH and, as a result, chapter development was a priority.
Olsen has been on the UNH campus since Sept. 7 and has about six bids so far. He said there is usually an already-established group to assist in recruitment, but in this case, it is a cold start that requires a great amount of groundwork. He anticipates recruiting approximately 25 members by the end of the semester.
“We are selective about our members; it makes us who we are. We are not simply going to go out and throw a party and see who comes. We base selection on good character and go from there,” Olsen said.
Thomas Murphy, Phi Mu Delta’s executive director, attended graduate school at UNH and said that he understands that the university is not necessarily a place that people attend to join fraternities. According to Murphy, there is definitely a preconceived notion regarding Greek Life, one that is “hard to get over.”
However, Murphy said he is confident that the fraternity will gain momentum, and said he agrees with both Olsen and the fraternity’s mission to find quality members.
“UNH is a challenging place to start a new fraternity, but also a good place to start one. We’re focusing on bringing a high-quality organization to campus, but it’s not a race,” he said. “We’re taking it slow to find quality guys and leaders.”
According to Olsen, the 2008 incident in which several risk-management policies were violated and two men were hospitalized for alcohol poisoning has most likely not hindered the fraternity’s reputation, as most current UNH students were not on campus during this time. A large part of the reason that the fraternity was not reestablished sooner was to allow all of the previous members who were involved in the incident to graduate.
“We hold ourselves to a high standard. The executive director and national president were here on campus the next day, and closed the group before the school did. I think this speaks to how we handle the fraternity,” Olsen said.
Olsen also maintains that this new group will be different.
“All of the guys that were in the group when it was closed have graduated, and that group has nothing to do with the one we are starting. We’re looking to bring in guys that won’t let that happen,” Olsen said. “That is why we closed; the guys we are looking for need to be dedicated to what we do, as we have a strong legacy to uphold at UNH.”
The fraternity was founded in 1918 at the University of Vermont, the University of Connecticut and the University of New Hampshire, and remains the only fraternity in history to be founded at UNH.
In addition, according to a press release, the Nu Beta Chapter was extremely successful, as it received multiple awards and consisted of many top student leaders, many of whom are now serving as New Hampshire politicians. In total, the fraternity boasts over 2,000 alumni. The organization also prides itself on being “the first national fraternity to accept men regardless of their race or religious affiliation.”