A trial is currently underway in Easton, PA over the restriction on Chi Phi re-establishing its chapter at Lafayette College. It is a very complicated case with the centerpiece being a 100-year-old fraternity house with the name, “Vallamont.” The house is owned by a Chi Phi Housing Corporation, and sits on land owned by the college. In 1909, both parties signed an agreement saying that Chi Phi can occupy the house as long as the chapter remains active.
In 2005, the chapter closed due to repeated risk management/behavioral issues. In the meantime, Lafayette has used the house as overflow housing and fraternity housing. One of the key questions in the trial is whether the closing of the chapter means it was “inactive.” Chi Phi says that they had an agreement to return to campus following a six-year absence. When they applied to the board last fall,
they were denied the board deferred that request and no action was taken. Chi Phi then stated that they would return without board approval, recruit new members and return to Vallamont.
In the meantime, the Lafayette Board of Trustees has instituted a three-year freeze on new fraternities and sororities while completing an assessment on the future of Greek Life on campus. This decision was the result of an extensive study that included a 280 page report. That report was presented to the board at about the same time as the Chi Phi appeal to return to campus. This website provides details about the various studies and efforts happening at Lafayette.
The trial is continuing this week. However, it is just a small piece in a much bigger process happening at Lafayette.