Illustration: Patrick Arbuthnott for The Student
A controversial American fraternity has been criticised over misleading claims that it is linked to several UK universities.
Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) – founded at Yale University in 1844 – claimed on its website and promotional materials to have established “colonies” at the Universities of Oxford, Edinburgh and Warwick despite having no official link to them.
Spokespersons for the Universities of Oxford and Warwick said they were “not aware” of any formal connection to DKE or whether the fraternity had asked for permission to use the Universities’ crests on its website.
The University of Edinburgh has since asked DKE to remove the logos, following a complaint from Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA).
DKE eventually removed all university logos from its website, including the logos of US institutions, following questions from The Student.
Despite this, DKE’s websites’ Chapter Roll still states that it has chapters at the University of Edinburgh, University of Warwick and the University of Oxford.
Members of Alpha Sigma, DKE’s Edinburgh chapter, were photographed this summer outside the University’s law school holding the fraternity’s flag. In January, posters displaying the fraternity’s crest were put up around the University to announce “the creation of the University of Edinburgh’s first fraternal colony”.
Whilst Alpha Sigma is made up of Edinburgh University students, the fraternity meets in a private off-campus bar, and does not rent rooms off the University of Edinburgh or EUSA.
The only record of any relationship between DKE and the University of Edinburgh is from January 2014, when DKE booked a University room for an “information session”.
EUSA Vice President Academic Affairs (VPAA) Dash Sekhar confirmed that the fraternity still had no link to the University of Edinburgh or EUSA.
Oxford University Student’s Union (OUSU) President, Louis Trup also confirmed that DKE was autonomous from the University of Oxford. Trup said: “Nobody in OUSU had any idea of the existence of DKE in Oxford and they are not an official university society.”
Theo Robertson-Bonds, EUSA external campaign organiser, called DKE’s actions “foolish”, stating: “The decision by Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) to suggest University endorsement of their activities is incredibly concerning: I am disgusted that students would even consider establishing a fraternity on our campus given their reputation as organisations so often associated with instances of discrimination and elitism.”
The fraternity, which aims to promote “the advancement and encouragement of intellectual excellence”, has faced controversy and allegations of sexism in recent years.
Last September, DKE apologised for displaying a banner outside their Louisiana State University frat house which read “getting massacred is nothing new to Kent State”, a reference to the 1970 shootings that left four dead and nine injured.
In 2011, the fraternity’s Yale chapter was suspended for five years after members were filmed chanting “No means yes! Yes means anal!” on campus.
Nether DKE nor Alpha Sigma could be reached for comment despite several attempts.