The AD Battle Continues

The beleaguered and derecognized Dartmouth fraternity Alpha Delta is once again in conflict with Hanover’s zoning administrator. Last April, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled against the fraternity in a dispute over whether it could still inhabit its million-dollar house on East Wheelock Street without the permission of Dartmouth College. The College decided that same month that it would not re-recognize Alpha Delta after eighteen months of negotiations; re-recognition would have spared the fraternity from eviction.

Now, Valley News reports that fraternity leaders want to use the former fraternity house as office space for their alumni and to overturn the Hanover Zoning Administrator’s decision that blocked such use of their property.

The Zoning Administrator Judith Brotman declared that the house’s zoning district only allows office spaces insofar as they relate directly to the institutional purposes of the property owner, in this case, the Dartmouth Corporation of Alpha Delta Fraternity. Brotman determined that the group’s articles of agreement, which state Alpha Delta’s purposes, did not permit the use of the building for office space. She denied a zoning permit because those purposes do not seem to indicate the organization’s ability to rent office space for commercial tenancy.

Alpha Delta’s attorney, Barry Schuster, responded that Brotman had misunderstood the intentions of the fraternity for the space. He disputed her decision, claiming in a September letter to the Zoning Administrator that “the corporation does not intend to permit any use of the property by anyone whose activities do not relate to the uses of the institution having ownership interest in the property.”

A hearing before the Zoning Board of Adjustment was scheduled for Thursday, October 26, to reconsider Brotman’s ruling at Alpha Delta’s request, but has since been postponed due to a request from the organization for a continuance.

This zoning debate is the latest tribulation for the fraternity, which has struggled with the administration of both the College and Hanover for some time, having been derecognized in the spring of 2015 after a branding scandal. Alpha Delta’s return to campus as part of Greek life seems impossible at the moment; as of last spring, the College was resolute in refusing re-recognition to any banned Greek organizations.