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Cleland, Theta Chi take hiatus

Although Edens Quadrangle will gain a new bench next year - for newly housed Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity - it will lose two others, as one selective house and one fraternity go "on hiatus" for the next academic year.

The University will not recognize Cleland, an all-female group, or Theta Chi fraternity as a selective living group next year. The change results from the groups not being able to fill their assigned sections and signifies that members will not be able to live together in allotted residential spaces nor share a commons room.

"A housing hiatus [means they] do not have a dedicated commons space, nor are they permitted to show any signs of their group for the next year," said Bill Burig, assistant dean of residence life. For example, the groups will be forbidden from adorning any residential living areas with decorations, signs or benches.

Burig added that these selective groups will not need to reapply for selective living group status to regain housing in the future, although they must adhere throughout the year to certain expectations outlined by the office of Residential Life and Housing Services.

Cleland President Liz Weaver said her selective group can no longer meet the requirements that would enable them to have residential housing. Although she said Cleland members - who currently number about 30 students - were given the option to live in nearby Edens dorm rooms, members decided not to return there.

She said she looks forward to establishing Cleland as a prominent and visible selective house by recruiting interested women next year.

"[Having hiatus status] was an act of desperation," Weaver said. "We will use our energies next year [toward] getting our name out and developing Cleland into something that can be successful on campus."

Ten members of Cleland have pledged their support to helping the group become an established entity at the University.

Although they have not devised a definitive plan, Weaver said they will work closely with the administration to reach this goal, possibly forming a theme for the group such as women's health, empowerment or leadership.

"I'm definitely saddened because I don't think it's something that had to occur," said Weaver, a junior. "There could be more support between selective living groups so everyone could be more successful."

Leaders in Theta Chi also expressed disappointment at being placed on hiatus status.

"Obviously we are not pleased to be put on hiatus next year, but we are nonetheless determined to try and carry out all of our normal activities," wrote Joel Yancey, president of Theta Chi, in an e-mail. "[We will] not to let this interfere with our existence as a fraternity on Duke's campus."

Yancey, a junior, added that he hopes the hiatus status is temporary and will not be a significant issue in the future.

Other selective living groups also had difficulties filling their bed quota, although these groups did not have to resort to hiatus status.

Instead, Burig said these groups can request to have "friends of the house" live in the rooms that do not have members. Therefore, random students will not have to be assigned to these spaces.

"It makes far greater sense to place [friends of the house] students who want to be there," Burig said. "[The rooms] are still considered part of the fraternity."

Burig went on to explain that not all selective groups are able to identify "friends" from year to year and said only some groups received this opportunity based on several criteria.

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