The undergraduate board of the Georgetown University chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Foreign Service Fraternity resigned Saturday and suspended all official chapter activities, including recruitment, in protest of the fraternity’s national general secretary, Terrence Boyle (SFS ’63, LAW ’72), who is accused of sexism and bigotry.
Boyle has since appointed four new, non-Georgetown undergraduates to lead the fraternity’s Georgetown chapter, though the board members’ identities have been withheld by Boyle.
In an email signed by the undergraduate board of the fraternity and sent to all Georgetown brothers Saturday afternoon, the board members announced their decision to step down.
“As a board, we have been disrespected by Terrence Boyle and feel incapable of making the necessary changes,” the email read. “Thus, the undergraduate board of Alpha Chapter Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Foreign Service Fraternity is resigning effective immediately.”
But since the resignation, Boyle has announced that a new leadership will lead the organization in secret. In two separate emails obtained by The Hoya, Boyle has blamed a “trolling environment” and “malicious lies” as the reason he is withholding the names of the new board.
Current and former members of the fraternity have confirmed to The Hoya that these identities have not been disclosed to the fraternity’s membership, and DPE chapters at The George Washington University, American University and James Madison University have told The Hoya they will not recognize the Georgetown chapter’s new leadership.
Boyle also wrote he will not make public the names of dues-paying members of the fraternity.
“Right now, though, the problem is that all the undergrad brothers are very much worried that, if they should step up and become chapter officers, they will then, likely in this climate, be personally targeted in The Hoya,” Boyle wrote in an email obtained by The Hoya.
Boyle said he considers The Hoya’s coverage as a reason the names are withheld.
“Because the Hoya and others have been spreading malicious untrue stories about DPE members as part of a trolling, the new officers, for the time being, choose not to be publicized,” Boyle wrote in an email to The Hoya.
The resignation of the undergraduate board left the chapter in an unprecedented situation, though the chapter being led by non-Georgetown students is not new, Boyle wrote in the email obtained by The Hoya.
“This unprecedented situation of there being an Alpha Chapter but without its having any officers could not continue,” Boyle wrote. “There is, [in other] words, nothing unprecedented in the Chapter’s now having non-GU undergrads as its officers.”
Boyle, in his 40th year as national general secretary of DPE, joined the fraternity as an undergraduate. The professional foreign service fraternity, which began at Georgetown in 1920, is now composed of sorority and fraternity chapters on college campuses around the country.
Kevin Lim (MSB ’19), the now-former president of DPE’s Alpha Chapter, said the board’s resignation was collective action against Boyle.
“Our resignation statement is what we stand for,” Lim wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Boyle said he was disappointed by the resignations and called the allegations “baseless.”
“I and the huge majority of both new and old members of Delta Phi Epsilon stand fast to the noble purposes of the fraternity and its continued historic commitment to being a very open and inclusive organization,” Boyle wrote Saturday in an email to The Hoya.
Allegations of sexism and bigotry against Boyle surfaced this summer, after an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education published in July reported that Boyle wrote a post in the unofficial DPE Facebook page that the organization should be “a fraternity. All men. Not some kind of frasorority.”
The Chronicle’s report has been independently verified and confirmed by The Hoya. Boyle’s June 30 Facebook post came shortly before the organization convened in Washington, D.C., for its biennial convention, the same event where Boyle had been re-elected as general secretary for years before.
Boyle’s post allegedly was written in opposition of other national-board candidates who “are set on a platform for installing chapters outside the US and set not only on allowing women to be initiated into DPE Fraternity but in allowing them to have seats on its national board and votes at its conventions.”
Currently, no female members of Delta Phi Epsilon sororities have representation at the national level, while co-ed fraternities have misled Boyle on their membership to not lose voting rights, according to Andrew Lama (GWU ’19), president of The George Washington University’s DPE chapter. No woman has a vote at the DPE national conventions, according to DPE fraternity bylaws.
The same Chronicle article reported that in 2013, female DPE members from the George Washington chapter were required to spend part of the evening cleaning at the annual Christmas party hosted in the Georgetown University chapter house if they wanted to bring a male date to the party.
Boyle’s Facebook post and the reports in the article published by the Chronicle sparked discussion among DPE chapters across the country of their distrust for Boyle serving as the general secretary, according to Facebook posts viewed by The Hoya.
Leadership of non-Georgetown chapters launched a petition July 18 signed by DPE alumni, including over 50 individuals from Georgetown, demanding that Boyle be immediately removed from his position as general secretary.
“Notwithstanding any bylaw reforms or changes in the DPE governance structure, we demand that Mr. Boyle be immediately removed from his leadership position, that there be a thorough investigation into his conduct, and that the National Leadership immediately apologize to the affected parties for his statements and practices,” the petition reads.
In an op-ed published by The Hoya on Aug. 29, DPE leaders at George Washington, James Madison University and American University urged individuals at Georgetown to take a stand against the fraternity, calling the activities of DPE’s board and the Georgetown fraternity misaligned with the founding mission of DPE.
“Incoming freshmen should not join Delta Phi Epsilon, and university administrators must address the chapter’s corruptive influence on the campus community,” the op-ed reads. “We strongly discourage Georgetown students from engaging with the fraternity until its leaders pursue sweeping reform in organizational governance and culture.”
Boyle condemned The Hoya’s op-ed and earlier reporting on the Georgetown board’s resignation in an email obtained by The Hoya.
Meanwhile, the Georgetown chapter of DPE Professional Foreign Service Sorority condemned Boyle in a Facebook post Aug. 30.
“The Sorority has always functioned independently of the Fraternity and Mr. Boyle,” the statement read. “We have worked at length to address the issues of mistreatment of individuals by Mr. Boyle. We no longer participate in any fraternity events and have very minimal interactions with the DPE brothers and Mr. Boyle.”
This post has been updated to reflect developments within the DPE fraternity.