Outside investigation confirms presence of fraternities at Colby

After a months long investigation, Dean of the College Karlene Burrell-McCrae emailed the Colby community on Thur., Aug. 15 to discuss the College’s findings regarding underground fraternity activity. In the message, Burrell-McCrae indicated that approximately four secret Greek organizations were identified through the investigation, and 21 students have been sanctioned based on their involvement within these groups. 

“Fraternities and sororities were formally eliminated in the 1980s following a thorough and careful consideration of their history at Colby, the role they once played in social life and the role they played at the time, and the impact of single-sex, exclusionary groups on the College’s mission,” Burrell-McCrae stated in her email to the student body, explaining that the presence of on and off campus Greek organizations, albeit secretive, has remained preavlent at Colby despite the groups’ technical extermination. “Over the last few years, President Greene, I, and many others have made clear our commitment to permanently eradicating underground fraternities and secret societies, and we have taken several steps toward that goal.” 

The College hired private investigator Jonathan Goodman at the beginning of the Spring 2019 semester in order to shed light on the exclusive organizations. His report, which was included as an attachment to the email, ultimately uncovered the presence of four fraternities run by Colby students, three of which are now defunct. 

During the investigation, I interviewed a total of 37 witnesses,” Goodman wrote in his report. “Thirty-one of the witnesses were current students. The remainder of the witnesses were faculty members, staff members, and former students.” 

Goodman identified three criteria outlined by the Colby College Student Handbook with which to define ‘fraternity activity,’ suggesting that these organizations were exclusive, recruitment-dependent, and secret. Working with this definition, he identified Erosophian Adelphi (EA), Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE), PHI, and ZETA as formerly functioning fraternities which shared a collective membership of approximately 20-30 students at one time; he could not find evidence to identify any sororities. 

“At the writing of this report, it is my conclusion that, as a result of Colby’s efforts in recent years to eliminate underground fraternities, EA, DKE and ZETA are completely disbanded,” Goodman wrote in his report, indicating his suspicion that there remain approximately one to three unidentified DKE members, and approximately three to five unidentified PHI members who are still active at Colby. 

“I was surprised that the report found three out of the four underground frats were disbanded” one Colby student, who preferred to remain anonymous, said in a recent interview with the Echo.” and I’m curious if that’s true because it seemed like there were still incidents involving frat life going on in the spring,” 

The Echo will continue to report on the aftermath of this investigation and how it impacts fraternity members and the social environment on campus.