Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Foreign Service Fraternity was founded in 1920 at Georgetown University, just months after the establishment of the university’s School of Foreign Service. Many of its founders were World War I veterans who realized that the United States needed a fraternity to support international business and diplomacy. Their vision has withstood the test of time: DPE continues to drive toward a purpose of improving global relations; most notably, our alumni have strengthened the U.S. Foreign Service by serving as ambassadors to the European Union, Singapore, Thailand, Jordan, Australia, Kuwait, Colombia and Brazil, among a variety of other postings.
While our mission remains vital, our organization’s integrity has been greatly damaged by Terrence Boyle, a Georgetown alumnus and the fraternity’s longstanding general secretary. Serving as the premier national officer for the past 40 years, Boyle has subjected undergraduate student leaders to a hostile environment of unrelenting sexism and bigotry. As reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Boyle has a history of requiring female members to cook and clean for Georgetown brothers, all while refusing to give them voting rights within the organization. This summer, when chapters attempted to enfranchise female members, Boyle insisted that reformers were creating a “hermaphrodites-only … society.”
Boyle has also alienated foreign-born members of the fraternity by claiming that the involvement of foreign nationals harms our mission. His antiquated views could not be further from the truth. Our international brothers and sisters have provided us all with rich opportunities to engage with professionals and scholars from diverse and wonderful backgrounds. By facilitating an international exchange of ideas, our foreign-born members strengthen ties between the United States and the world.
After Boyle rejected the attempt to enfranchise DPE women, our alumni launched a massive grassroots campaign. In response to his comments and strong history of prejudice, over 500 alumni of Delta Phi Epsilon signed a petition calling for Boyle’s resignation. The petition further declared that Boyle’s actions were “completely inconsistent with the values of DPE and simple basic human decency” and that alumni were “ashamed to be part of an organization whose leadership would engage [in such] conduct.”
While the petition was supported by almost every chapter of DPE, active brothers of the Georgetown fraternity were notably absent from the list of supporters. Our brothers at Georgetown, the only chapter that has continued to support Boyle, have made a cruel compromise: They have traded their integrity for continued control of the national organization. As the longest standing chapter, the national board of DPE is wholly controlled by male alumni of Georgetown University. Instead of opposing a toxic patriarch who has alienated both the campus and alumni community, Georgetown brothers continue to stand by him.
We, the presidents of the fraternity at The George Washington University, James Madison University and American University, can no longer ethically cooperate with Boyle or his board. Our message is simple — please don’t join DPE’s fraternity at Georgetown University. The activities of Delta Phi Epsilon’s board and Georgetown fraternity are not in line with our community’s values or mission. Georgetown alumni, students and faculty must take a stand against the fraternity at Georgetown, not only for the sake of decency, but for the long-term repercussions on the Foreign Service and U.S. influence abroad.
Incoming freshmen should not join Delta Phi Epsilon, and university administrators must address the chapter’s corruptive influence on the campus community. We strongly discourage Georgetown students from engaging with the fraternity until its leaders pursue sweeping reform in organizational governance and culture.
Andrew Lama is a senior at The George Washington University. Shima Wani is a junior and James Shaver is a senior at James Madison University. Stephen Young is a senior at American University. Lama, Wani, Shaver and Young are all serving as presidents of Delta Phi Epsilon at their respective universities.