In Defense of Theta Chi

Dear City on a Hill Press,

In your May 7 issue, Lollie Brande wrote an article that did nothing but tell a story of personal anger. Her main argument scapegoats Theta Chi Fraternity as an organization that is responsible for damaging UC Santa Cruz relations to the local Santa Cruz community. Brande depicts the scene at the Luau event of May 2 as an irresponsible gathering of college students, which catalyzed as a situation for many students to inflict “chaos on a quiet street.” 

If she had done her research, she would have found that as a fraternity, we understand that we are liable for any crimes, damage and problems that may occur during the event. We took multiple courses of action in order to reduce the chance of misfortune and to keep everyone at the event safe. Months before the event, every resident within the Archer neighborhood was contacted and informed that there were plans of a large gathering of people at a specific house during a specific time period. We did this in hopes of attaining a noise permit, in which we were unsuccessful, due to the non-compliance of only one neighbor.

Alcohol was another centerpiece of this article that probably led to the damage of the author’s car. Theta Chi Fraternity took measures to prevent incidents like this by running “risk management.” Anyone coming into the event was asked to present proper identification, to ensure that people were of legal drinking age. In addition, every student was asked to sign a waiver form, clearly stating that they were aware of the risks upon entering the ground and that Theta Chi Fraternity was not liable for any injuries sustained at the event. 

Brande also comments on how we allowed intoxicated students to spill into the streets of the neighborhood and, as a result, were directly responsible for the chaos inflicted. Again, she does not realize the full scope of the situation. The police had shown up and assessed that the event was disturbing the neighborhood and, due to the noise emanating from the event, it was to be broken up immediately.

Not to fault the police officers, but the message when they came in was that everybody needed to leave immediately. As a result, 400-plus students flowed onto Archer Drive and, as explained in the article, made a loud and rowdy exit. Please stop to think about the difficulty involved in moving 400 people out of a backyard. The scene that unfolded on the street was an unfortunate incident that the fraternity regrets. However, with that many people leaving the event in such a short span of time, the fraternity tried our best to ensure two things above noise and rowdiness. First, we wanted to make sure to the best of our abilities that no one intoxicated was driving and that everyone had a safe ride home. Second, we wanted to let the police understand that we were doing everything in compliance with their orders, so as to not complicate the matter any further.

Eric Yao

Theta Chi fraternity, chapter president