Banned fraternity on way back to U of I

Ryan Brown

A fraternity that was banned from the University of Iowa six years ago after a pledge died is making its way back on campus.

Lambda Chi Alpha was sanctioned by the university and its national headquarters after Matthew Garofalo, 19, died following a Big Brother/Little Brother pledge ceremony. The cause of his death was determined to be pulmonary edema and fluid in the lungs brought on by excessive drinking, according to The Daily Iowan.

The university and Lambda Chi Alpha’s national headquarters shut down the house, said Jason Pierce, assistant director for the University of Iowa Office of Student Life. After five years, Lambda Chi Alpha could petition the university to be allowed back on campus, he said.

“The original sanctions from the university and their headquarters was for five years,” he said. “[After that] they would have to submit a letter of interest to restart a colony.”

That letter was approved by the Office of Student Life and Interfraternity Council earlier this year, Pierce said. A colony will form, and within a year, the members can move back into their house, which is now occupied by Alpha Tau Omega, he said.

A colony is a new group of undergraduate members who have not yet met the standards for chartering and becoming a chapter, according to Lambda Chi Alpha’s Web site.

National recruiters from Lambda Chi Alpha will spend the next couple of weeks at Iowa recruiting, but the recruiters are not mentioning what happened to Garofalo, Pierce said.

“People said [not knowing what happened] doesn’t matter to them, because it isn’t the same group of guys and it won’t happen again,” he said.

Pierce said Lambda Chi Alpha’s national and local policies changed for the house to be allowed back to campus.

“They have taken steps to ensure that something like this will not happen again by educating their members and telling them what is right and wrong,” he said.

The Big Brother/Little Brother pledge ceremony is a time for incoming members to pair up with older fraternity members. Drinking is discouraged by the national headquarters, said Michael Kremer, president of the ISU Lambda Chi Alpha chapter.

Kremer, senior in marketing, said his fraternity didn’t have close ties with the University of Iowa chapter.

“Chapters vary from campus to campus,” he said. “Although there is a certain bond [within Lambda Chi Alpha], we would hate for somebody to judge us because of what happened at Iowa.”