There is a brother in my fraternity that we will call “Jimmy”. Over his four years here Jimmy has not been the biggest team player, in fact he seems to enjoy undermining fraternity progress and partaking in whatever drama he could find or construct. After four years at school he decided to quit taking classes, therefore he was removed from our roster and is not a dues-paying member.
We thought that this would be his departure but he still hangs around and comes to events and parties. We understand that he is a lifelong member, but he is not a contributing factor to the fraternity and actually inhibits process and improvement. Our chapter as a whole wants him to move on, but he just can’t seem to leave the fraternity days.
Ahhh, the dreaded ‘Peter Pan’ brother…. He is a lot like herpes – you just can’t get rid of him.
This situation happens a lot more than you would think. I actually wrote an entire chapter about a similar situation in my new book – The Chapter President. The situation described there though was a little different.
In that situation, the alum would come around, raise hell, then leave. The younger brothers, who were very impressionable, would see this as proper behavior and would try to emulate this guy. This caused a lot of problems in the chapter.
Your situation should be a little easier, because the guy you describe is not wanted around.
When this situation happens, the very first thing that needs to happen is the chapter president needs to have a one-on-one talk with the alum and explain how the chapter feels. It should not be confrontational. The president should give examples of what behavior is upsetting the chapter. Focus on the actions, not the individual. Ultimately, this is what you are trying to remove from your chapter.
Hopefully, the alumni brother will wise up and the issue will go away.
However, if it doesn’t, realize that every brother is granted privileges – not rights. If the brother is not acting in accordance to the chapter’s values or philosophy, then you have every right to ban him from the house.
Like you said though, he is still a brother, and you owe him the courtesy of explaining why he is no longer invited to the house. He will get pissed off because that is what immature people like this do. Your leadership team needs to be strong and stick by the decision.
Realize he will still come back to the house a time or two. This will be very awkward for all involved (including him). He will quickly realize that he is not wanted, and will eventually stop coming over on his own.
I hate that you are going through this. Obviously, the brother in question has some life issues that they are dealing with that is causing him to act this way. Hopefully, by talking to him you can help figure out what is going on. However, if he is just a lost-cause there is no reason why you can’t force him to grow up and move on.
This question was submitted by one of our readers. If you have a question you want me to answer go here to submit it: Fraternity Advice.