Story by Taylor Soule
Photos by Luke Nankivell
Six 34th Street properties were damaged with black marker and paint early Monday morning, disrupting the Drake University Greek community just two days before the start of fraternity and sorority recruitment.
Drake Director of Campus Security Scott Law said the Des Moines Police Department is investigating the incident, which occurred Monday some time between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m.
Sidewalks, chapter signs and houses, and residents’ vehicles were damaged with black marker and paint. Recruitment banners were also stolen in the incident.
Three sororities and three fraternities suffered damage in the incident: Alpha Delta Pi sorority, Alpha Phi sorority, Delta Gamma sorority, Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and Theta Chi fraternity.
Chapter members discovered the damage around 7 a.m. Monday and cleaned almost all of it by 9:30 a.m., thanks to a combined effort from the entire Greek community.
“There was no finger-pointing like, ‘Oh, so-and-so could have done it,’” said Theta Chi President Sean Duncan. “It was really just, ‘Let’s all be a community and help each other out,’ which was nice. I think it just shows we really are a community at Drake. We’re not just a bunch of individual houses.”
When Interfraternity Council President Angel Gentchev heard about the damage Monday morning, he immediately emailed all chapter presidents and offered to organize a cleanup team.
“I said, ‘If anyone needs any help, I’ll get a group of guys together right away. We want to help. We want to fix this,’” Gentchev said. “Not only because recruitment is very big for us, but I think we have enough negative stereotypes based on movies and from society, so I think we just wanted to prove we are a very good family community.”
Panhellenic Council President Kathleen Diedrich echoed Gentchev’s praise of the Greek community’s immediate response.
“My first reaction was just, ‘I can’t believe this happened right now, but I also can’t believe everyone is pitching in and going above and beyond what I would have expected at 8 a.m. on a Monday morning,’” Diedrich said.
Despite the immediate response from the entire Greek community, the incident interrupted preparations for Sept. 11-15 sorority and fraternity recruitment.
Drake Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Brittan Williams said the incident was especially disruptive for residents of the six chapter houses that suffered damage.
“It’s definitely disheartening that an individual or group of individuals thought this type of action was necessary,” Williams said. “I think it adds additional stress and strain on our chapter members who are working very hard preparing for recruitment.
“I think there’s also an emotional aspect to it. For the members who live there, that’s their home. I think it’s personally jarring to have your own chapter property, your home away from home, be vandalized when you’re not aware of it.”
Law, the Drake Security director, said his staff has increased its overnight patrols on 34th Street in response to the incident.
Despite the damage and brief interruption, Diedrich, the Panhellenic Council president, said the incident renewed the Greek community’s cohesive culture.
“It was just a little speed bump that turned out to be something really productive and now moving forward into recruitment, everyone has a revived sense of this community,” Diedrich said. “If you succeed, I succeed and I want to make sure that your chapter house looks just as great as it did on Sunday night. Moving forward, it reaffirms that positive note we want going into recruitment.”