Fraternity rushes with millions

Fraternity rushes with millions

by Elpin Keshishzadeh, Opinion Editor

Theta Chi has been all the hype recently at San Diego State. Initially, I assumed it was just another fraternity getting a bit of buzz about something stupid. It just so happens, this something stupid is worth $4 million.

That gigantic Real-Wives-of-Beverly-Hills mansion you’ve spotted under construction on Lindo Paseo isn’t President Hirshman’s new SDSU pad. In fact, it belongs to the recently reinstated fraternity, Theta Chi.

If the name is ringing a familiar bell it’s because Theta Chi is the same fraternity that got raided for a drug bust in 2008. Along with five other fraternities, Theta Chi was suspended after a cocaine overdose triggered an investigation that lead to 75 arrests and a pile of cocaine, ecstasy and guns.

After a four-year penalized period, an entirely new group of members clearly haven’t learned a lesson from their predecessors, given that they are allocating $4 million toward building a new house.

It’s understandable that a fraternity as large as Theta Chi needs a large house, but given the infamous history clouding its reputation, properly allocating funds toward causes such as philanthropy or academia seems more fitting than impressive headquarters.

Although this fraternity returned to campus in 2012 with SDSU’s support, what proof is there showing that history won’t repeat itself? What steps is this fraternity taking to ensure another incident, such as the one in 2008, won’t replay itself? More importantly, has this campus not faced enough Greek-related tragedies to enforce stricter guidelines moving forward?

With another fraternity death last semester, a three-story mansion seems a more than a little inappropriate.

Admittedly, 2008 seems like a century ago and the fraternity has completely new members, but what hasn’t changed is the culture of Greek life and the partying reputation various houses are expected to uphold. Merely a placement of a fancy library in this new Playboy-style mansion doesn’t fix the dangers and problems associated with these huge fraternities. Libraries don’t prevent drug and alcohol overdoses, but rules and regulations do. To my knowledge, Theta Chi hasn’t extended any new guidelines ensuring the safety of its members.

“Our vision from the beginning was to be a balanced fraternity that puts academics first,” Chapter President Cody Rominger told U-T San Diego in a recent article.

Although the chapter’s 3.2 GPA eligibility is far beyond impressive, you can’t expect anyone to believe this 24,000-square-foot mansion is going to be used for raging study sessions. My internal timeline predicts it won’t take more than a few weeks after the grand opening for the catering kitchen and six private suites to be swarmed with underage drinkers and underclassmen feeling lucky just to have Instagram proof of the moment.

No individual with a 3.2 GPA is immune to drug or alcohol overdose — an all-too-familiar issue with fraternities at SDSU, especially Theta Chi. How many tragic headlines does it take to enforce strict and permanent regulations against these organizations?

In 2012, Sigma Alpha Epsilon President Barzeen Barzanji died of a prescription medication overdose. Including the two deaths that occurred during the bust in 2008, the 2012 incident makes for a near average of one death per year related to fraternal incidents.

That’s three too many innocent lives, if you ask me.

These short, slap-on-the-wrist suspensions aren’t doing anything to help. Most of these suspensions entail short-lived, alcohol-free parties. Reality check: that never actually ends up happening. If anyone has ever attended a truly dry fraternity party, where not a drop of alcohol was in sight, I will issue a public apology.

College students should be old enough to make decisions that don’t completely put their lives at risk. Judging by the fact that so many of these incidents involve underage students, it can’t be hard to imagine the peer pressure that goes into it.

But who cares? College students party and drink ridiculous amounts of alcohol with or without this oversized playground.

The problem isn’t the partying. The problem is replacing two houses on Lindo Paseo with a $4 million mansion for a fraternity that got busted for drugs, guns and an overdose less than a decade ago. I’m sure they’ll be thinking long and hard about the incidents that occurred under past leadership in their oversized suites. For the rest of us, it’ll be nice to know how history apparently won’t repeat itself once more.

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