In defense of Alpha Delta Phi

A recent article in the News (“Chi Psi pulls bid for Lake Place,” Nov. 17) implied that my fraternity, Alpha Delta Phi, disrespects women on a regular basis. It also suggested that we are a detrimental presence in our neighborhood. As the president and a three-year member of this fraternity, I reject both of these characterizations.

In my years with Alpha Delta Phi at Yale, our fraternity has never received a complaint, formal or otherwise, regarding the way we treat women. I know that, if such a thing were to happen, the member involved would come under extreme scrutiny. His membership would be questioned both by our chapter and the international fraternity. Whenever we host parties, we welcome all members of the Yale community to attend until our home is full, without respect to color, creed, gender or sexual preference.

Furthermore, this article perpetuates an unfair misconception that fraternity brothers at Yale are less than respectful, studious and hardworking. But it should be worth remembering that all three presidents of the United States who attended Yale College were in fraternities. Yale Alpha Delta Phi has produced two Supreme Court justices, two university presidents and the co-founder of Time Inc., among other prominent leaders.

If I didn’t know any better, I might enter Alpha Delta Phi and find myself disgusted. I would probably look on the ground and see drying, stale beer. Glancing at the walls, I might be taken aback by the streaks and splotches of mud. And certainly, my nostrils would be bombarded by the lingering stench of sweat in the air.

However, I do know better. I know that inside Alpha Delta Phi there are stunning oak floors varnished by a fine American lager. I know that our walls are decorated with the splashed-up signature of so many careless feet dancing the night away. I know that the very air we breathe is blessed with the constant reminder of all those merry nights spent huddled around our pong table. And I know, that in the absence of pristine floors, a glistening kitchen and the faint smell of Febreze, I have come to appreciate something far more profound — the brotherhood.

If I didn’t know any better, I might think that Alpha Delta Phi was a place just for lacrosse players. I might think that they would never open their doors to a non-athlete. I might even think they were a little bit elitist.

But I do know better. I know that among the brotherhood there are individuals from all across the Yale community. I know that non-athletes thrive within the fraternity and that all brothers are treated as equals. I know, after seeing our proud ranks lined up to march into the tailgates at exactly 9 a.m., that we only consider ourselves elite only when it comes to daytime partying in ridiculous costumes. And I certainly know that, during my freshman year, this lonely soul, 3,000 miles away from his hometown, was warmly welcomed by a friendly group of strangers at Alpha Delta Phi.

I know that I live with a group of certifiable goofballs — the biggest bunch of dinguses you will ever lay eyes upon. We have a guilty pleasure of playing Avicii just a little too loudly on Saturday mornings and playing John Denver just a little too late on Friday nights. We are a bunch of man-children clinging desperately to the last slivers of life before adulthood.

We break things and spill beer and make a ruckus in the first degree, but we are kind. We respect the Alpha Delta Phi, we respect our brothers before us and we respect our brothers to come, but most importantly, we respect Yale, the institution and the community. If ever in your life, you feel that I or any of my brothers are not upholding these values, I encourage you to reach out to me. In the meantime, I hope to see you all at 23 Lake Pl.

Connor Durkin

Nov. 20

The writer is a junior in Pierson College and president of Alpha Delta Phi.