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University grants XOX reprieve


Correction: In an earlier version of this story, The Daily incorrectly reported that the University announced in a Friday statement that it would postpone the takeover of the XOX residence until Aug.31. That information was released through verbal confirmation to reporters and residents of Chi Theta Chi, not a formal statement.


Following meetings with Chi Theta Chi representatives, Stanford will delay the planned takeover of the XOX residence from April 1 to Aug.31. A Friday statement by the University emphasized, however, the administration’s continued intent to terminate the house’s lease.


“The [alumni] board has not demonstrated consistent leadership, nor sufficient management of the property, thus putting our students at risk, which is simply not acceptable,” the statement said.


While welcoming the takeover’s postponement, members of the XOX community said that they would continue to contest the University’s decision and seek to maintain the house’s independence. At a Thursday meeting with Stanford administrators, the XOX Alumni Board submitted 200 pages of evidence addressing University concerns and outlined a case for continued autonomy.


Abel Allison ’08, president of the alumni board, argued that the initial transition date of April 1 contravened the terms of the lease, and that the University had not given XOX sufficient time to address the grounds offered for the lease’s termination.


According to Allison, the University did not give an explanation for the postponement. He said that the postponement would allow the XOX house to remain open this summer as usual rather than undergoing any University renovations.


“The language of the lease specifies that – if you’re in default of the lease – you have 15 days to fix or take reasonable steps to fix all of the errors,” Allison said. “That’s what our group worked extremely hard to do after our first meeting.”


Autumn Burnes ’12, XOX’s resident assistant (RA), emphasized the role that support from the Stanford community had played in promoting a constructive dialogue with the University. A petition supporting XOX’s independence had over 2,000 signatures at the time of publication.


“Everyone has been really focused on what makes Chi Theta Chi an asset to the University,” Burnes said. “That’s really helped us hold the support not only of the community, but also of ResEd and Housing… Hopefully we’re starting to get some traction.”


Allison added that while the University has yet to shift from its initial stance of unilaterally terminating the lease, XOX representatives are “working hard to convince them that it’s worth working with us on getting to an agreeable solution…that involves us keeping the lease.”


In assessing areas where Chi Theta Chi could make demonstrable changes, Allison identified a need for structural reform within XOX in order to address longstanding University concerns and develop confidence in XOX as an institution.


“We intend to be extremely proactive about developing a proposal of changes we want to make to our organization to address some issues that have been bothering the University for a long time,” Allison said. “We’re working on a plan we think has a high probability of ensuring long-term stability at the house.”


“I want to show, not tell, why we should keep this house,” Allison added. “The University needs to let us show them.”


While University statements have stressed a desire to maintain Chi Theta Chi’s “distinct character” after the planned transition to University management, Burnes said that Chi Theta Chi’s independence has a unique effect on the house community.


“What makes it special is the accountability and the responsibility,” Burnes said. “It really brings us together in a way that doesn’t exist in other places.”

Marshall Watkins is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily, having previously worked as the paper's executive editor and as the managing editor of news. Marshall is a junior from London majoring in Economics, and can be reached at mtwatkins "at" stanford "dot" edu.