Gamma Chi Alumni FAQ’s
Q. What is the plan for re-colonization of the chapter?
A. We have been approved by Drexel, National and the IFC for colonization beginning this fall term 2011. Delta Sigma Phi’s National organization has committed two (2) full time resources to be on campus to recruit and educate the new brothers. Their goal is 50 new men for the initial class.
Q. What is the process for recruitment?
A. National’s current method for recruitment centers on reaching across student organizations to find men that haven’t been tapped by traditional methods at other fraternities. The Delta Sig National recruitment chairs will select the new members for the initial class. Alumni & the ACB are encouraged to participate in recruitment events and education, as well as act as mentors for the new members.
Q. What happens to the original Charter?
A. We will still be the Gamma Chi chapter. We will get a second charter and the new group of men will be founding fathers on the second charter. These will hang side by side in the Chapter house.
Q. How do we continue on the legacy of Gamma Chi and instill our traditions in the new members?
A. It will be up to the Alumni and ACB to play an active role in mentoring, educating and guiding the new members along the path to Brotherhood. National will teach them how to Delta Sigs, we will teach them what it takes to be a Gamma Chi.
Q. Who is currently occupying the Chapter House?
A. The house has been vacant since 2008, when the undergraduates were evicted by the ACB and the charter revoked by National. The ACB has since then maintained the house, paying for all utilities, inspections and upkeep. We continue to hold our monthly meetings at the Chapter House first Thursday of the month, at 8pm.
Q. Who owns the house?
A. There has been a murky view of ownership within the brotherhood over the last 40 years as no one knew exactly who owned what. “We own the property, they own the land” and things like that have been rumored. The deed on file at the Land Title building in center city says "Drexel Institute of Technology" on it. So, the property is in Drexel's name and has been since the 60's. There's not much we can do to refute that. This is the same situation as every other fraternity – Drexel’s name is on the deeds to all the houses on campus.
Q. How did Drexel get its name on the deed?
A. The timeline as we understand it looks like this: The fraternity purchased the property in the mid 60’s and took out a mortgage. We then turned around and sold it to Drexel for $1 in a gentlemen’s agreement, but Gamma Chi continued paying the mortgage, with the loan being paid off in the early 80's. There are still pictures of the “mortgage burning party”.
Q. What happened after the chapter went dormant?
A. When we evicted the undergrads in 2008, the ACB engaged in a legal battle over ownership of the house with Drexel. Drexel claimed that they held the deed, so the property was theirs and wanted us out since there were no residents. We claimed that we had invested money and maintained the property for 40 years, so we had an equity ownership claim and fully intended to re-colonize the fraternity. We've continued to maintain and control the property over the past 3 years. Basically Drexel backed off and let us manage the house -we assume that they didn't want to pay for it.
Q. So, what is the current status of the property?
A. The debate ended in a stalemate. We could have tried taking Drexel to court, but regardless of the outcome we'd never had been allowed back on campus; filing suit with your Alma Mater is not a good way to make friends. The ACB made the decision that it is our primary goal to re-establish an undergraduate chapter on campus, and if at all possible in the property at 214 N. 34th. To that end we shifted tactics from fighting Drexel for ownership of the house, to working with them to come to a mutually beneficial agreement that allows us back on campus and use of the chapter house.
Q. Why not just buy another house on campus?
A. Several alumni have suggested giving up on 214 N. 34th Street and finding a new house off-campus. This is intriguing, but there are many hurdles to overcome; funding for the purchase, zoning issues, suitable location off the main drags of 34th or Powelton Ave, dealing with the Powelton Village Civic Association, etc. There is also the wealth of history associated with the Chapter House at 214. N. 34th Street. After weighing all these issues, the ACB deemed purchasing another house as a non-viable option.
Q. So what is our relationship with Drexel going forward in regards to the house?
A. Our situation is virtually no different that it has been for the last 40 years. Drexel owns the house and we will maintain it, pay utilities, and use the property as our base of operations for Gamma Chi. The only change is that we will need to sign a formal license agreement for use of the property. In exchange for this, rent will now be collected for us by the school from the undergrads. This means no more A/R from the actives.
Q. So, what are the terms of the license agreement?
A. In order to move undergrads back into the house, we will have to sign a license agreement with Drexel for use of the property. The license agreement will last for 15 years. After the 15 years, a new agreement must be signed by both parties. We will not be paying rent or any fees to Drexel for use of the property.
Q. Do other houses on campus have a similar agreement?
A. Yes. Apple Pi, Lamda Chi, and Pi Kappa Phi all have nearly identical agreements with Drexel for use of their respective Chapter Houses. All of these houses have gone thru similar absences from campus, and have come back strong with the support of their alumni. Other houses like Alpha Chi Rho, Pi Kappa Epsilon have more restrictive agreements in place that do not allow them as much autonomy.
Q. Will there be an RA living in the house?
A. Yes. There will be an RA living in the chapter house. The RA will be chosen by the ACB. The RA must be a graduate student at Drexel and cannot be an alumnus of Delta Sig.
Q. How does the rent collection work?
A. The ACB is no longer responsible for collecting rent from brothers - this significantly reduces financial exposure of the ACB from past due A/R. Drexel will collect rent from the undergraduates thru their standard billing process. This money is deposited into our operating account at Drexel, which we will draw on to pay utilities, maintenance, upkeep, etc.
Q. What is the rent going to be each term?
A. We set the rent due each term. This rent is 100% allocated towards maintenance, utilities and upkeep for the house; we dictate how this is spent. Drexel does not take a cut. National dues, parlor fees, social budget, etc. are collected outside of Drexel system.
Q. How do we access the rents collected by Drexel?
A. Drexel holds the funds in our operating account for us. Funds not spent at the end of the fiscal year are rolled over into a separate account and held over for major renovations.
Q. Can students apply financial aid, work study, grants, etc. towards their rent?
A. Yes. Since everything is paid thru Drexel, all financial aid forms can be applied towards rent.
Q. What are we doing to the house, and why?
A. After 40 years of abuse, the house needs work. Before we move undergraduates into the property, there are health and safety renovations that need to be completed. Health and safety items include the electrical systems, boiler/heat, kitchen & bathrooms, brick pointing, emergency egress, security access, etc. Other essential items include new hardwood floors, paint, drywall, carpeting, windows, etc.
Restorations will be conducted in a two phase approach.
- Phase I will renovate the first floor common areas, bathrooms, mechanical systems and exterior facade for suitable operating conditions.
- Phase II will renovate the second and third floor living quarters for acceptable usage.
Q. Is the house going to look like some of the other properties on 34th Street?
A. We WILL NOT be dry-walling over the wainscoting, installing dropped ceiling panels, enclosing the front staircase or removing any other architectural elements of the house. We WILL be restoring the pocket doors on the first floor, repairing and/or replacing the stained glass transoms, restoring all exterior woodwork, and keeping the character of the house intact.
Q. Who is managing the restorations?
A. We have a dedicated alumni committee, led by Nick Peetros, focused on completing the scope of work for restorations. These are professional engineers, with extensive experience and a network of contacts. We have also engaged several architecture firms to assist with drawings and will be looking for contractors to start work in the fall.
Q. Can alumni with contracting businesses bid for work on the house?
A. Yes! Alumni with legitimate contracting companies are welcome to participate in the bidding process for all the work being done on the house. You will need to be added to Drexel’s approved list of vendors to participate.
Q. How much do we need to raise?
A. We are looking to raise approximately $300,000 for Phase I Restorations. Phase II Restorations are still being estimated but we are looking at roughly $200,000 for this additional work.
Q. How do I donate?
A. Donations can be made online or via check. Donations are made payable to Drexel University, but need to be earmarked for Delta Sigma Phi and they will be automatically directed into our account.
To make your gift online: www.drexel.edu/ia/giftsonline
Please enter “A1DSP” in the Special Instructions box.
Q. Are donations tax deductable?
A. Yes! All donations will be paid thru Drexel and tax deductable up to the extent of IRS regulations. If you would prefer to donate money directly to the ACB, we will certainly accept your donation, but it will not be tax deductable.
Q. Can I donate over a period of time?
A. Yes! Working with the OIA, we can set up monthly, quarterly, or annual giving plans.
Q. Who is managing the fundraising activities?
A. We have a dedicated alumni committee, led by Mike Colligan, focusing on developing the Capital Campaign, marketing materials, website, mailers, etc. The committee is working with Kerry DiBlasio at Drexel’s Office of Institutional Advancement to utilize their existing database of University donors and fundraising resources. We have also enlisted the help of Delta Sigma Phi National to utilize their list of contacts for Gamma Chi.
Q. Can I donate time & construction materials for the renovations, in lieu of money?
A. Yes! You can donate your time and construction materials “in kind” and still take advantage of the tax write off.
Q. What does my donation get me?
A. We will be selling engraved bricks for the front path, permanent naming rights to various rooms in the house, engraved plaques on the stair risers, along with other memorabilia, and recognition by giving levels in the program.
Q. How do we see current progress on the campaign?
A. There will be an updated web page at www.gammachionline.com showing a list of projects, current progress and fundraising levels, donors, and other updates.