Widgets Magazine

University admins terminate Chi Theta Chi lease

Stanford moved Wednesday to revoke the lease of Chi Theta Chi, one of two non-University operated houses on campus, citing lease violations, liability concerns and “pressing life safety issues.”


“Stanford hereby elects to terminate the lease pursuant to the termination right set forth in…the Lease,” read a letter delivered to the Alpha Epsilon Alumni Association of Theta Chi Fraternity, Inc.


The University will take control of the house on April 2, due to “the Lessee’s failure to adequately respond to multiple and chronic breaches of the Lease,” read the letter, signed by Vice Provost of Student Affairs Greg Boardman and Senior Associate Vice Provost of Residential and Dining Enterprises Shirley Everett.


Chi Theta Chi, a house known for its independent spirit, began functioning as a co-operative in 1973 but did not officially split from Theta Chi Fraternity until the late ’80s.

Brendan O’Byrne co-authored this report. 

XOX is one of two houses, the other being Sigma Chi, that are not operated directly by Stanford University, but rather have lease-hold agreements. The University owns the land on which XOX sits, but rents the plot on a long-term contract with a land-use fee. In the past, this agreement has allowed students more autonomy regarding administrative decisions. A May 1990 report on “Co-operative Living at Stanford” describes the house as “a haven for groups seeking to avoid University red tape.”


“We are confused and saddened by the University’s attempt to remove ownership of the property from the house’s alumni board, which has controlled the property for decades,” said a press release from Chi Theta Chi. “This transfer of ownership would directly undermine the diversity of the living options available to to undergraduates – counter to the University’s stated goal.”


In what former XOX Resident Assistant (RA) Bear Douglas ’09 M.A. ’10 and former Resident  Computer Consultant Abel Allison ’08, both members of the XOX alumni board, described as an “ambush” in an email to a XOX alumni email list, a regularly-scheduled meeting between XOX representatives and Stanford Housing Wednesday was attended by Boardman, Dean of Residential Education Deborah Golder, Executive Director of Student Housing Rodger Whitney and other administrators.


The contingent informed XOX that after deliberation, the University decided not to renew the house’s lease for this coming fall and to take control of the house on the first day of spring quarter. Students will begin paying rent to the University at the start of spring quarter this year. The house, which normally remains open, will be closed this coming summer to allow for University renovations.


According to the email by Allison and Douglas, the University provided several reasons for its decision. University officials cited that XOX has been using the tax identification number of Theta Chi Fraternity, despite the receipt of a cease-and-desist letter from the organization. Both Allison and Douglas denied any knowledge of this violation or such a letter.


The email also said administrators allege that XOX has failed multiple fire safety inspections, is both financially and administratively incapable of avoiding ongoing defaults and has failed to maintain corporate status in California.


Administrators also cited concerns that the University is ultimately responsible in the event of any lawsuits against the house, according to the email. A portion of students living in XOX are assigned to the house through the University draw, a factor that creates additional concerns for administrators worried about the experience of students who did not actively choose to live in the house.


The University is “committed to working with the [XOX] alumni board and the residents of the house to continue a co-op in the Chi Theta Chi house,” Whitney said, emphasizing that the University is concerned foremost with ensuring the well-being of students and “the long and short-term stewardship of the house.”

  • Anon

    Correction: Sigma Chi is independently owned, not Sigma Nu.

  • Anon1

    All ought to be ill at ease with the current monopoly that VPSA has over student life at Stanford. Perhaps an entrepreneur ought to find a way to buy and lease a wealth of real estate in Palo Alto at cheaper rates and with less intrusive, intervening policies. As it stands, increasingly ResEd and Housing take more commanding and demanding roles, and we not only acquiesce, but also stagnate under their infantilizing, obtuse bureaucracy. Perhaps these representatives wouldn’t be so orotund and glutinous with power if there were some competition on the housing market. One might venture to suggest that an on-campus housing rate of, say, 60% instead of 96% would allow for a less hermetic, more imaginative so-called “Stanford experience.” 

  • Unite!

    If it weren’t so orotund, I’d tell housing to their faces that they’ve become glutinous with power!

  • anon

    Seriously, fuck resed and fuck the university for taking away the one bastion of independence and alternative culture at Stanford. Our administration won’t be happy until every student is a fucking start-up obsessed facebooking premed drone who quietly finishes their degree with all A’s and then goes on to pour their corporate paychecks into the alumni donation coffers. fuck this so hard


    Hear, hear, @f706ac0fb77776d6ee9bdc5b7916fdcf:disqus. Whatever legal violations the university may may have cited in its campaign to shut down XOX (which allegations are dubious at best), we all know that they are merely legalese excuses to accomplish what they’ve been trying to do for years: snuff out the co-op simply because it doesn’t vibe with Stanford’s truly nauseating culture of conformity masquerading as silicon-valley entrepreneurialism

     “Oh, look at my fucking startup. It further automates some financial transaction or links some trivial aspect of our day-to-day lives to existing social networks.”  I mean, I used to think the Ivy League was pretentious, and that Stanford was a “chill”, west coast alternative. But really, at least kids at Harvard or Yale are open about being snobs, whereas at Stanford we quack to the tune of frisbee and longboards, then work on startups that we’re only interested in because they could make us rich, and justify it all as hip Bay Area individualism and have wet dreams about becoming the next Mark Zuckerfuck. That’s what it is at Stanford -and what ResEd is not so subtly hammering home -it’s the chimeric triumph of capitalism, a debilitating and isolating overemphasis on sticking it alone, which is precisely at odds with the cooperative spirit of Chi Theta Chi. The university is only comfortable with the types of individualism and imagination that lead to new technology paradigms and PhDs , not the types that foster loving, alternative communities that reserve the right to get weird. As far as I’m concerned the university can suck a hoover-tower sized cock.

    Long live Chi Theta Chi.

  • Anonymous

    As a Stanford parent, I am extremely disappointed and downright disheartened at this move by the University administration to quash and squash this alternative community at Stanford.
    Surely the administration can work with Chi Theta Chi without resorting to this extreme measure.

  • 08 Alum

    This is disgusting.  The University told Chi Theta Chi THIS WEEK that they’re taking over the coop in the spring?  With absolutely zero attempts to work with them?

    Evil.  Absolutely evil.  XOX plays an important role on campus, and the loss of this autonomous house will leave students with even fewer housing types to choose from.

    Stanford, what happened to respecting your students?

  • coterm4ever

    Yes. Excellent. They’ll take over XOX and then force everyone to buy a shitty, overpriced meal plan. Excellent. 


    OCCUPY XOX!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Asdsa

    Perhaps this entrepreneur can name all these off-campus houses after grateful dead songs.

  • Asdfa

    or, like, be like columbae and synergy.

  • llama

    I love Columbae and Synergy, but the university is constantly trying to bring both of those houses closer to being just self-ops, and the amount of independence of these houses pales in comparison to XOX. Just now ResEd is trying to paint over all of the murals in Columbae for who knows why and Columbae might not be able to do anything to stop them. XOX is different, and is a bastion of individualism and independence that even Columbae and Synergy can’t be.  These actions of the University only further show the complete disregard for student welfare and choice.

  • former XOX manager

    XOX was the highlight of my Stanford experience. If they lose their house, it will taint my memory of Stanford and how incredible of a place it can be.

  • Stenford Chi Theta Chi Parent

    As the parent of a Chi Theta Chi student I amdisheartened as to the actions the university has taken against this residence and the manner in which it has transpired.  A frank discussion and intellectual compromise seems to be in order as to how the values and history be preserved.  Like everyone I am concerned about potential violations and building codes, however these issues are better dealt with by carpenters and electricians than by lawyers.
    As a parent I am also disturbed by the timing of this action.  My student is at Stanford to learn and study, not to have to worry about housing disputes, writing legal letters and being an activist for a kitchen and bedroom…….

  • anon

    but if you don’t live in the bubble, you won’t get the proper ‘stanford experience’, which obivously, creates the necessary feelings of belonging to encourage giving to the university.  I think they’re concerned that XOX residents might not be getting the right message: the one that will keep the university rich.

  • Angry Student

    I hate Stanford.

  • Core Values
  • Theta Chi alum ’77

    What?!  Occupy Theta Chi!

  • Por me

    Damn, XOX was where I had my first decent meal on this campus…chicken alfredo and mozarella bread. yummmmmmmm.

    Fuck these conformofascist fools! Ayyy the brutes!

  • XOX1983-1986

    ResEd’s “core values” include “Take Ownership” — they’ve planned this for a while!

  • Dubious

    Indeed, Black Mold is just legalese for a toxic fungus that can cause severe hemorrhaging of the respiratory system.  Fear not XOX residents, I’m sure that you will be allowed to pursue whatever counter-culture lifestyle you wish after the University takes over your housing.  Fortunately for you, and perhaps unfortunately for us, you will have to pursue that lifestyle in a somewhat less life threatening cesspool.

  • Snoopy

    OXOX – I’ve always wanted to get another kiss in there!!!

  • Snoopy

    Way to go Stanford, you found another way to coddle us to death. I believe I’ve heard this is part of their master plan to make campus into a giant amniotic sac. Our parents will sign a waiver and then set us loose as we float around for four years, are fed wild rice and quinoa through a tube, and hear recorded comp-sci lectures. Don’t forget the weekly beer ration, you know to keep us edgy and stuff. 

    Wacky walk will be indeed very “wacky” as we learn how to use our legs again. Hi Mom and Dad!!!


    What the hell are you talking about? This is nonsense.

  • Project

    This meeting between Rodger Whitney and XOX representative caught on video 🙂 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHuf27fYkRQ

  • Judyhess

    What a down right horrible shame to end the lease to the most wonderful campus housing. At 73  I have seen a lot of  housing but none so fantastic as chi theta chi. This facility is one of the best working households I have ever encountered…the kids work so well under these circumstances please rethink what you are attempting to do.

    Judith Hess