To the Stanford community,
As students return to campus for fall quarter, we realize that there may be questions about what took place during the summer months regarding the Chi Theta Chi Row House. We’d like to take this opportunity to explain what happened and what decisions were reached.
First, a brief recap of the situation. In February, the University made a decision to terminate the lease on the house (an option available to either party on an annual basis) based on serious concerns about long-term management, financial viability and life safety issues in the house. Among the concerns were disabled smoke alarms, code compliance issues in the kitchen, need for substantial physical plant capital improvements and a lack of sustained alumni involvement in management oversight of the house.
Following an outpouring of support for Chi Theta Chi and a compelling argument from both the Alumni Board and students that independence is an essential part of the Chi Theta Chi culture, the University reconsidered its decision to permanently terminate the lease. Between March and August, we were working toward giving the Chi Theta Chi Alumni Association the independence it sought.
The University outlined a clear plan whereby it would be willing to turn management of the house back to Chi Theta Chi, as long as the Alumni Association demonstrated through an interim period a sustained commitment to manage the house safely and consistently. We can say with confidence that throughout our discussions, we have been steadfast in our efforts to reach an agreement with Chi Theta Chi according to the proposed terms.
Our good faith efforts continued through the summer. A number of staff invested their time and effort in ongoing conversations with the Alumni Association, just as the members of the Alumni Board worked diligently to find a solution.
On Aug. 20, the Alumni Association notified the University of its decision to no longer seek independence and to transition the house back to the University. The Alumni Board concluded that it did not have the long-term involvement of its membership, nor the financial wherewithal to fund requisite capital improvements (even with the University willing to have the expense paid back over time). Additionally, the Alumni Association questioned whether it could fill the house with residents without the benefit of the University Draw. It was not possible for Chi Theta Chi to remain in the Draw without some University oversight of the house.
Within days, Rodger Whitney, executive director of Student Housing, and Deborah Golder, dean of Residential Education, wrote to incoming Chi Theta Chi residents, assuring them that the house would remain a co-op and reaffirming the University’s commitment “to working closely with (residents) to preserve as much of the traditional Chi Theta Chi experience as possible this year.
The Alumni Association is still actively involved during this transition period, and all of us share the common goal of insuring that Chi Theta Chi remains a safe haven for its residents and a dynamic living environment retaining many of the unique program elements that are important to students in the house. We thank everyone involved for their earnest efforts over the past months.
Vice Provost for Student Affairs
Senior Associate Vice Provost for Residential & Dining Enterprises