Phi Gamma Delta fraternity suspended for off-campus party

By Sarah Pinkerton | Staff Writer, Video by Winston Margaritis | Broadcast Reporter

Baylor fraternity Phi Gamma Delta (commonly referred to as FIJI) was suspended from campus after hosting at least one gathering of 10 or more people at an off-campus party last week.

Students were warned against attending on- and off- campus gatherings in an email sent out by Dr. Sharra Hynes, dean of students & associate vice president for the Division of Student Life, on August 19. The email stated that suspension and a potential fine were possible if this rule was broken.

Two calls were made to the Waco Police Department last week to report loud noises at two different off-campus houses. Officer Garen Bynum of the Waco Police Department said that one call was made on Aug. 20, around 11:40 p.m. Police arrived on the scene by 11:50 p.m. but closed out the situation with no report.

“They didn’t get anywhere with it or they weren’t able to make contact with anybody or anything like that,” Bynum said.

The second call was made on Aug. 22, to report loud noises in the 1400 block of James Avenue around 11:45 p.m. Police arrived on the scene by 12:45 a.m. and those at the gathering were given a verbal warning.

“The officers cleared it with a warning, meaning they actually spoke with somebody and gave them a warning about the party,” Bynum said.

FIJI members live in both houses.

In another email sent out to students by Dr. Kevin Jackson, vice president for student life, on Tuesday, Baylor announced that a student at one of the two off-campus parties had tested positive for COVID-19.

“We strongly encourage anyone who was at one of these gatherings to immediately self-quarantine and seek testing through Baylor Health Services,” Jackson said.

Jackson also said in the email that investigations since last weekend have placed many students on interim suspension and have led to the overall suspension of a student organization.

“I understand these actions may seem harsh, but there is too much at stake to let the actions of a few negatively impact the health and well-being of our entire campus,” Jackson said.

Under the Fraternity and Sorority Life tab on the Baylor Student Activities website, there is a list of the Interfraternity Council Chapters on campus along with their current status. Underneath the FIJI description, it lists its status as inactive.

Tulsa, Okla., senior Brock Nowlin, FIJI president, pointed The Lariat to the national organization for comment.

“Appreciate you reaching out!” Nowlin said. “Right now, please reach out to FIJI nationals if you have questions! Thanks!”

FIJI Nationals has yet to respond to a request for comment. Three members of Baylor’s Interfraternity Council also have yet to respond.

Correction: This story has been edited to correct the address where one of the parties was held. The Lariat regrets the error.