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Acacia loses house, charter


By Nona Tepper



In 2002, Matt Cairns was president of Acacia at IU.

He said Acacia taught him to be a leader and that going greek was the best experience of his college career.

Ten years later, he still volunteers at Acacia International.

He serves as president of the fraternity’s building corporation, but he said sometimes he feels like he’s wasting his time.

“I’ve spent a lot of time over the last several years making sure our chapter is running as it should be, and it basically didn’t amount to much,” Cairns said. “It’s a tough feeling.”

In early May, IU and Acacia International announced the Indiana Acacia’s charter would be revoked. It was a mutual decision between IU and the international fraternal organization.

“Over the course of the last school year, the chapter has demonstrated behavior that was not consistent with the values of the fraternity,” Cairns said.

“I’m not going to comment on specific behavior, but some of the tenets of the fraternity are human service, leadership and scholarship, and the stuff that was going on was not consistent.”

In a report issued by the University, Acacians were accused of drug dealing, repeated drug use and hazing.

Problems were described as both serious and systematic on the Acacia alumni blog.
“We’ll let the guys who are on campus sort of graduate,” Cairns said. “Once we feel like things have settled down we’ll start anew.”

Assistant Executive Director of Acacia International Keith Bushey said the charter will be renewed in two years.

“Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got until its gone,” Bushey said. “These are college kids who need to learn that they are not invincible.”

About 150 Indiana Acacians are being screened for their role in suspicious activities.
Members will be placed on alumni status or asked to resign from the fraternity.
Further action will be taken at the University’s discretion.

“It’s unfortunate that a few of those individuals have tarnished the experience for everyone involved,” Bushey said. “The loss of a chapter of this magnitude is going to affect us.”

Tax forms filed in 2011 listed the total revenue of the fraternity as equal to more than $640,000. The house, at the corner of Fess Avenue and Third Street, was listed at about $1.7 million.

Bushey said the residence will be rented to another organization while Acacia’s charter is not active.

In 1987 Bushey served as house manager for the Indiana branch. He said he hopes the fraternity will return to campus stronger than before.

“It’s a part of my life that is on hiatus right now,” Bushey said. “But I know I haven’t lost my brotherhood.”

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