Theta Chi approved to move home following fire code failures

Elin Johnson, Features Editor

Following the incident last year where an inspection by the fire marshall led to the expulsion of men from the fraternity house, the brothers of Theta Chi may live in the house starting Sept.  21.

“In November 2017 the fraternity was required by the McMinnville Fire Marshal to upgrade, by the start of the 2018 academic year, the existing monitored fire alarm system to a more comprehensive monitored system comparable [to] the fire alarm systems that are installed in the Linfield College residence halls,” said Theta Chi Alumni Advisor Buzz Stroud.

Stroud said Theta engaged the same contractor that often does work for Linfield.

The approval and start of work began much later than was originally planned. This means that at the beginning of the 2018 academic year the brothers of Theta Chi were not allowed to live in the house under any circumstance because neither the installation of the fire alarms nor the inspection of the house were complete.

The installation of the new fire alarm system was finalized on Sept. 19.

“While the installation has been in progress I and several members of the fraternity have been working concurrently, on an almost daily basis, on repair and cleaning projects in the fraternity house,” Stroud said.

Matthew Nagy, class of 2020 and president of Theta, explained how prior to the expulsion at least 21 men were living in the house. It was not at maximum capacity.

Nagy was involved in the process of making improvements to the house. He described how Theta alum came back to Linfield to help with improvements that were about more than just fire safety.

“I think having a place where we all see each other every day definitely makes us closer. It’s like having 20 other roommates,” Nagy said.

Like the other fraternities on campus, Theta recently went through a fall recruitment process. Nagy said that not having full access to the Theta house did not hinder their ability to recruit and that previously unaffiliated men who were interested in becoming a Theta regardless of the housing situation.

Theta could hold one recruitment event at the house which involved a walk though as long as an alum presence was there to oversee the situation.

“Our one event there [at the house] was plenty enough to show the improvements we’ve been making,” Nagy said.

While the house is out of commission members of Theta have been moved into Newby Hall and other on campus and off campus locations. Newby was closed to residence this year but is being used as emergency housing due to the situation.

“We have placed an RA in Newby and will use Newby as apartment housing for the remainder of fall and spring,”said Jeff Mackay, the Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life. “If we have space in Newby this fall and spring we can use this housing for emergency housing for any student or students who may need it.”

Contrary to Nagy’s repeated statements that no Thetas lived in the house between the beginning of this academic year and the date of the final fire marshall inspection, observations have been made of students entering and exiting the Theta house during off-hours. Nagy declined to comment on this.