Earlier this week, Delta Upsilon, a fraternity at Western University released plans for a series of events to take place at the start of the school year.
According to the fraternity’s alumni president, Paolo Campisi, some of the comments on an online post did not accurately reflect the intention of the undergraduates planning the event.
“When I asked them, they said, ‘Here’s what we’re doing’ and a lot of it is centred around facilitating conversations, barbeques, information night. But when you do see some of the comments and the way they were being described, that’s not what we’re about.”
Campisi, who left Western in 2014, said he had a discussion with the local leadership. “We need to be having an elevated conversation of what it is you’re trying to achieve, and quite frankly the safety of students and the way you address the safety of the incoming students is the narrative you should be sharing.”
The associate vice-president of student experience at Western, Jennie Massey, reached out to the fraternity as well.
“It’s clear to me, they care deeply about the health and wellness of our students and were eager to work with us to find a resolution here.”
Massey says after some conversation, the fraternity agreed to cancel all in-person programming they had planned. “They are still looking at maybe offering some of the virtual programming, but they really did agree that the health and safety of our students needs to come first.”
For the fraternity, it was an easy decision to cancel the events. “We had a conversation, she expressed the university’s concerns, and I felt it warranted and that we would cancel events as they were, because of the university’s position,” says Campisi.
Dr. Alex Summers from the Middlesex-London Health Unit, is grateful for the resolution.
“I think the response to some of the concerns that were raised by us and the community and others, highlights the fact that when people take a moment to reflect on what certain events might mean, in the course of a pandemic. People start to realize what they need to do.”
Campisi says this will be a learning experience for the chapter.
“At the end of the day, this is a group of people that have grown accustomed to having events in a certain way. They’ve never experienced the restrictions caused by a pandemic, and quite frankly this is a learning experience. We have to learn from the community and do better to engage.”