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Black letter day arrived for the boys of Omicron Phi. After eight months of appeals, legal battles, treasury-clearing fees, hearings, and letters, the house members received official notice that their chapter would no longer be recognized by Omicron Phi nationals and the college was giving them until fall break to vacate their Victorian home south of campus.
Despite being a smaller fraternity, Omicron Phi, a regional fraternity with a near-century history at the college, was notoriously the hardest hazing house on campus. One-third of the pledge class was expected to drop before Halloween, and droppers were “encouraged” to remain silent by some of the juiced out actives. They were never on the school’s good side, and often found themselves in the Department of Greek Life’s dog house for delinquent paperwork and skipping required events, such as alcohol awareness and a hazing house of horrors.
Rumors often flew of just how hard the boys of Omicron Phi hazed, though the college had no evidence to make a case to yank their charter until a tragic misunderstanding the previous winter.
One night that December, a 19-year-old student was found passed out in the snow across the street from the front steps leading to Omicron Phi’s turn-of-the-century home. The student, who was near-hypothermic with a staggering BAC, was taken to a hospital on the west side of campus, where he was identified as a pledge of the fraternity and told police the members got him extremely intoxicated and left him in the snow to “sleep it off.”
The former pledge, known as “Failed Abortion” for his small head and large extremities, had rushed, signed a bid, and subsequently de-pledged in early November, never to be seen again by the general body. The pledge ed, a man averse to paperwork, failed to document the dropped pledge, and thus his name remained on university records. Despite the sophomore having no plausible connection to the fraternity that night and offering campus officials contradicting statements as he drunkenly tried to save face, no alibi or plea for leniency could save the chapter from the shutdown.
As expected, the boys didn’t take the news well. A few weeks later, on the eve of the shutdown, the president called one final chapter meeting.
“Men, I don’t care who recognizes us. I’ll always see you as my brothers. We’ll recharter or something. We can’t — we won’t — go quietly.”
“Rechartering will take years of appeals and paperwork. The college hates us and any nationals will see us as radioactive,” the former vice president of administration said. “They think we tried to kill a kid who wasn’t even pledging us anymore.”
“Well,” the president continued, “we have an order from the college to be out by dawn. I heard it’s because a fledgling Beta colony will be moving in later this week.”
The room erupted. The Omicron Phi house at 4490 Overlook Dr. was home to the Delta chapter for over 70 years. The house was a feat of architectural engineering and somehow withstood decades of debauchery. The tall, ancient panes rattled with the room’s anger.
“This place is falling in,” the former VP of the treasury shouted over the din. “Why the fuck don’t they just demo it?”
“Josh!” a man in his second semester as a brother shouted in the president’s direction,”I won’t stand to see some pussy Beta chapter take this house. I’ll Tienanmen Square the front yard if I have to.”
A fifth year, attending just his third meeting in two semesters, rose and cleared his throat. “All of you, shut the fuck up!”
The room fell silent.
“They’re taking the property,” he announced. “They’re not taking our house.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean, Carter?” Josh, the president asked.
“I pledged here before half of you dildos were twinkles in both your fathers’ eyes. I gave this house half the character it has,” Carter said, motioning to a door dangling by a hinge. “If I can’t continue to foster cordial and fraternal relations in this crack house, nobody will.”
With a swift wind up, the fifth year left his fist fly through the cracked plaster of the dining room wall. A quick left followed. The previously raucous room began to riot.
Screams of “tear it all down!” permeated the dining room walls as sounds of fists and feet striking plaster and drywall filled the corridors as one of the 12 graduating seniors reentered the room with a 20 lb. sledgehammer and swung at the dangling door, ripping half the frame from the wall in the process.
Soon, every brother in the halls of Omicron Phi held a blunt object — ranging from 10 lb. sledges to claw hammers to pipe wrenches — and swung on the antiquated home, bringing flurries of plaster raining down as far as the eye could seen.
After almost an hour of destruction, the home’s interior was devastated. Entire walls were missing. Planks from the original hardwood were torn asunder while upstairs lights shined through gaping holes in the ceiling. The kitchen cabinets lay in a heap on the cracked tile floor. Doors were ripped from frames and the large, oak front door laid on the steps beneath the porch after a team of JIs tried sledding into the front yard. Broken glass scattered the light from dangling bulbs protruding from their destroyed fixtures. Not soon after the demolition began, the boys laid down their weapons and retired from the ruin.
The first and final annual Omicron Phi sledgehammer party all but leveled the old Victorian home. For almost a half hour, the members ceased caring about legal battles, reparations and the consequences of their destructive actions.
They were united in a brotherhood of carnage, if only for one more night..