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June 13, 2003

UCSC revokes fraternity's recognition over fish incident

UC Santa Cruz announced today (June 13) that it has "revoked recognition" of the Delta Omega Chi fraternity over an incident last month that resulted in the death of a campus koi fish. The revocation, which is permanent, means that the campus has severed all ties to the fraternity. Without UCSC affiliation, the fraternity will no longer have access to campus services or facilities.

Campus outcry follows MTV shoot

The filming this spring of UCSC’s Delta Omega Chi fraternity by MTV for its hit reality show, "Fraternity Life," has prompted discussions across campus about the value of this type of national television coverage, the role of Greek organizations at UCSC, and expectations regarding student conduct. More

"Our investigation into this matter has resulted in a finding of responsibility for Delta Omega Chi fraternity," said Doug Zuidema, director of UCSC's Student Judicial Affairs Office. "We have revoked recognition of the fraternity based on our conclusion that members of the organization were involved in the removal of the fish from the pond and its death."

UCSC police investigated the matter after a rare mature Hikari Ogon Japanese Koi disappeared on the evening of May 20 from a pond at Porter College, one of the campus's 10 residential colleges. Campus police took the case to the Santa Cruz County District's Attorney's Office for prosecution.

Zuidema's office, meanwhile, launched its own investigation to determine if the organization or any individuals had violated UCSC's code of student conduct.

In announcing his finding regarding Delta Omega Chi, Zuidema said the fraternity had chosen not to appeal the the campus's decision. "They have accepted the sanction," he said.

The Student Judicial Affairs Office's investigation into individuals who participated in the incident at Porter College pond has not been completed. But Zuidema estimated that part of his investigation should be concluded by early next week.

Federal privacy laws prevent the university from disclosing judicial findings against individual students. However, if students are found to have violated university rules, Zuidema said, they would be subject to discipline ranging from a warning to dismissal.

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