Mar 2, 2012

Frat Pack – The Charter’s Names Explained

The Theta Omicron charter.

Ronan Costello

On Wednesday night The University Times published a photograph of the sealed inaugural charter of Theta Omicron, the Irish branch of the Zeta Psi fraternity. The charter was presented at the group’s banquet last weekend and a number of questions have arisen concerning those named in the document.

Ents Officer-elect Dave Whelan, Horse Racing Society auditor Jack Cantillon – who ran Whelan’s campaign – and Communications Officer-elect Owen Bennett were listed among the members of the fraternity. Last Friday both Whelan and Cantillon had vehemently denied that they were currently members of the fraternity. They said they had been involved with the fraternity before Christmas but had expressed their desire to discontinue involvement with the group shortly after posing in its Cancer Society naked calendar photo-shoot. The appearance of both Whelan and Cantillon’s names on the photograph of the framed and signed document seemed to contradict their claim that they had cut ties with the fraternity.


Whelan contacted The University Times on Wednesday night to explain the presence of his name on the charter. He said that the list of names for the charter had been sent to the American parent organisation three months ago and had not been amended since. Theta Omicron President Jack O’Connor corroborated this claim, saying that the chapter was under pressure to send the list of names to America before Christmas. There were, he said, “strict deadlines” for completing such preparatory steps before the fraternity could be officially recognised. As to why the list of names could not be amended, O’Connor simply said, “we couldn’t undo it. We are disappointed that there are mistakes on the charter and we’ll be making a new one. It’s a very important document to the fraternity.” Thus, it appears that no effort was made to amend the list of members from the time it was sent to America, before Christmas, until it arrived in Dublin last week, despite the fact that Whelan and Cantillon signalled their intention to leave almost as soon as the list was sent.

O’Connor’s recollection of the exact chronology of these events was hazy. On a number of occasions he said that he “could not remember exactly” the timelines or circumstances involved. O’Connor put this down to the fact that he was elected as President in late January and was therefore not in charge of keeping track of membership before Christmas. He would not reveal the identity of his predecessor but did say that the person was abroad at the moment.

Whelan said that he became involved in the fraternity in September of last year and was asked to join by friends of his who were involved. Cantillon’s involvement began later. Speaking to The University Times, Cantillon said that he was asked to go on a pub crawl with the group “around last November” and was subsequently added to their Facebook group. Both Whelan and Cantillon say that they became uneasy with the concept of the fraternity after the Cancer Society naked calendar shoot and expressed their intentions to leave at that time. O’Connor said that the fraternity was officially notified of the pair’s intention to leave after Christmas via text message. Both Whelan and Cantillon said that they attended a meeting “a few weeks ago” at which they were required to formally announce that they did not wish to be initiated. As reported previously, Whelan said that he left the fraternity because of his political ambitions and because he was uncomfortable with the “sexist and elitist” nature of fraternities.

An inconsistency in the account of how the charter was put together seemed to appear when Owen Bennett said that he was asked to join in the week before SU election campaigning began. Bennett said that he initially accepted the invitation to join the fraternity, then busied himself with his campaign, and then ultimately pulled out of the fraternity when he learned more about it. The presence of Bennett’s name on a list purportedly drawn-up three months ago, when he had only been approached one month ago, seemed to suggest a discrepancy.

When asked about this, Jack O’Connor said that Bennett’s name was added to the list of members three months ago, before Bennett was asked whether he would like to join. O’Connor said that he and a mutual friend of Bennett’s assumed that he would be interested and thus preempted Bennett’s decision. Bennett said that he was surprised to find his name on the charter and that it was “unfortunate that [he’d] become involved in the fraternity in this manner”. He added that he would try to get his name removed from the charter.

Another issue of contention was whether the chapter had sought official recognition from Trinity College. Both the Wikipedia page of Zeta Psi and an online membership sign up sheet stated that the fraternity was affiliated with Trinity. Yet O’Connor insists that “[they] don’t want a link to Trinity. It’s very much a Dublin thing.” He said that the fraternity has “less than ten” members from other Dublin-based institutions, including UCD, DIT and IADT. O’Connor explained that when he was notified of the connection that the parent organisation was making between the chapter and Trinity College, he contacted them requesting that they stop doing so. However, the chapter’s membership is predominantly made up of Trinity students.

The Theta Omicron sign up sheet, which says that the chapter is affiliated with Trinity College.

Sign Up to Our Weekly Roundup

Get The University Times into your inbox every Sunday.
  • Murphy

    Its quite clear that the lads are lying through their teeth! For Bennett to say he was asked a week before has totally shot them in the foot and exposed them. I’d love to know the logic into why they felt the need to add Bennetts name to a Charter if he initially had no part in it whatsoever. Lads seriously, the truth needs to be told.

  • RK

    Personally I don’t have any strong feelings towards either side of this debate, being friends with those that wrote the orginal article as well as some of those named in conjunciton with the Fraternity. I feel the whole issue has been blown out of proportion for the sake of scandal. My only comments are these: those implicated should consider themselves lucky this is happening now and not 3/4 weeks ago; people need to stop taking things so seriously! Unless you’re genuinely offended/concerned, don’t overreact for reaction’s sake; and lastly, at this point honestly really is the best policy lads, all ya can be now is straight about it all.

  • Pádraig

    I don’t understand why the lads are now so ashamed of the decision they made to join up. It would never have been a big deal had they just been upfront about it all.

  • Zbigniew

    They are part of a group that operates on a secretive basis. They don’t have a public face other than private message from Jack O’Connor. They don’t act in an accountable manner.

    Why should we believe a word they say?

    I’ve heard that both Cantillon and Whelan ran for the head of the fraternity.

    Surely my claim is as valid, as accountable as that of an unaccountable organisation?

  • Alex

    I heard they hold back the electric car.

    • Ed

      Word on the street is that they rigged the SU elections too.

      • RC

        this reference is really lost on you isn’t it!

    • Jim

      Who makes Steve Gutenberg, a star!

    • S

      Apparently they rig every Oscar night too.

  • An anonymous commentator

    “He would not reveal the identity of his predecessor but did say that the person was abroad at the moment.”

    Andrew Nagle.

    • Spoofer

      I heard Conor Williams started it off

    • another anonymous commentator

      Probably setting up a fraternity in Russia.

  • Kevin

    who gives a fuck the lads can do what they like.

  • alex jones

    Some Questions that I think require answering:

    1. Have any of these gentlemen ever attended a bilderberg meeting?

    2. Have any of those named ever been to a meeting at the bohemian grove complex in California?

    3. Where were these gentlemen on November 22nd 1963?

    4. Are any of those named associated in any way with the trilateral commission?

    I believe several of these men have links to building 7 in the WTC. Can they elaborate?

    I think it is in the publics interest that the UT, having begun this investigation, really get to the bottom of these questions once and for all. They must be hiding something…

  • worried student

    Its extremely disappointing to see that the university times has lost its nerve, this “frat pack” must have some influence in college if they’re just going to sit back and report sabatical officers lies without further investigation. I’ve never had a problem with this “frat” but the issue has moved to how two newly elected sabatical officers were part of a controversial organisation and continue to lie so arrogantly to the students who they are supposed to represent. If they’re not even made accountable to the college media then who are they to? It looks like It’s just another case of the SU looking after their own and not the students that put them there.

    • Max Sullivan

      You’re damn right.

  • Sinead O’Brien

    Why does everyone care so much about this? Get over it! The boys said that they are not involved, and even if they’re lying about when they were involved, they’re not now so just let it go and get on with your lives!!

    • lul whut

      so you’re ok with your Sabbats lying to you??

  • Some random lad

    Andrew Nagle is clearly the next head of the frat. He’s had it plastered all over his facebook for ages now and even wears that t-shirt around Dublin.

    Pretty much states it right here:

  • Tim

    A dublin based frat is against the constitution of Zeta Psi. Whats the point in these lies these people involved with this keep telling people? If they really care about the honourable parts of greek life they have an interesting way of showing it.

  • Iawona guynow

    I want to see these students lined up in front square. If they are half as good looking and rich as reported…… I want a piece.

  • neil

    These lies just seem to be getting messier. Being associated with this circle jerk society is cringe enough without them digging more holes for themselves.

  • S

    What I find really concerning is that we have two sabbatical officers continually lying about their involvement in this. This is where I get more against the whole thing. If there was nothing but good intent behind this they wouldn’t be lying. While I really don’t care about the SU too much as I don’t really feel a massive difference is made by them I do think that liars like these should be called up.

    My overall concern in this is not the fraternity but the potential elitism that it could cause. There’s a lot of that in TCD either way and I don’t think this will help at all. I can just see it possibly spreading this culture of “we do whatever the fuck we want to” that seems so prevalent these days. I do hope that it would just be about distinguished sportsmen, intellectuals and other talents however the constant lying is doing nothing to convince me that this is the intent.

    At the end of the day, this isn’t a massive deal, certainly doesn’t deserve the attention it is getting but it does represent a culture of undeserved entitlement that could get worse if allowed to.

  • Fionnan

    Well said Mr/Mrs S great post. I have no problem with these lads setting up any group they want, but if its going to negatively affect society in college by alienating people and creating a social class system (mush like the US) I want to encourage everyone to barate them at every opportunity for being so pig-headed and elitist to even consider creating such an atmosphere in this college. Thats my main worry about this group.

    • S

      Thank you and it’s Mr :) I think that should be the main point raised about this. Whatever the yahoos over in the States do in their frats doesn’t bother me. Too much drinking? I don’t mind, I know I’m prone to doing the same thing. Very messy parties? Pranks in college? None of these seem to bother me. It’s the thought of alienating those who are not deemed worthy that I really dislike. As I said, if it was a frat based on raw talent and a place for these people to meet I wouldn’t mind at all but I doubt that’s the case. That’s my only issue with it however what is worrying me more recently is the increase of on campus thefts!

  • Big Mick Burke

    It’s just lads who were losers in school trying to feel accepted by setting up a “group” and asking “cool” people to join.

    • brian

      lol so true!

  • Seabass

    If there was an actual members list and people have seen it, can we not just organise to fly all the fucking idiots on it over to Homs?

  • Mr Pseudonym

    It is understandable that, with our sheltered, European lives, we forget the great suffering of so many peoples of this planet, and afford minor problems undeserved significance.

    However, it is entirely objectionable that the poster, Seabass, (al-be-it with heaps of irony) would elevate, to the level of the Syria conflict in which thousands have died, a spat within – without hyperbole – one of the most privileged groups in one of the most privileged societies ever to have existed.

  • Turbot

    Seabass – I’m torn. On the one hand I think that us salt water fish should stick together (especially in the face of depleting fish stocks). But on the other I think that by making (what I assume you presume) is a ‘joke’ about the state-sponsored slaughter of innocent civilians in Syria you are infact a ‘fucking idiot’ yourself. I think spending an hour or so in the company of someone like yourself would be punishment enough.

  • Rainbow Trout

    Even as a fresh water fish I have to agree with Turbot – Seabass should spend less time trying to think of gags which include reference to world events (presumably under the pretence that doing so makes him look smart) and spend more time shutting his big, fat, salt-water gills.

  • Dublin Bay Prawn

    I might be a small eyed, large tailed, bottom feeding crustacean; but even I have the mental capacity to see that @Seabass is a wanker of the first degree. I put the middle fish finger up to anyone who thinks what is happening in Syria is in the least bit funny.

  • Unwanted anchovy (ina caesar salad)

    Ok, so I’m only small fry, but I’d like to add my opinion into the debait.
    Turbot I’d prefer it if you didn’t drag the name of all marine animals through the sediment by cursing on-line.
    On the other fin, I do agree in principle with your points. Seabass you must be stark raving mad, perhaps you can’t kelp it. To contemplate netting the suspects and packing them off to Syria is chadness, and I do hope you change your tuna.
    Leave them be: whatever happened to innocent until proven gillty?

    • lul whut

      you are my hero.

  • Plankton

    Seabass if I only had the mussels I’d show you a thing or two on account of your brill thought out opinions, but no-one ever listens to me; is it because I’m at the bottom of the food chain?

  • Edward J. Mowery
    • Hon. MacNeill

      Kelleher, of course you’d forget your Dickie bow…letting the frat down!!!!!!!

  • M-J

    For me the real news is not this rather frivolous debate, but the fact that Mr. Mowery (1906-1970) is back up and investigating.
    I would remark that his usually inflammatory text is a little rusty (and grammar is well out) after presumed metaphysical incarceration, and he could do with upgrading his camera, but the main fact is that he is back with us: Perhaps there is hope for us all?

  • Tupac Shakur

    Gosh! A comment from Edward J. Mowery despite his death in 1970! I suppose there’s hope for all us dead folk after all! Right, I’m off for a game of Scrabble with Princess Dianna.

  • Give it a rest

    Innocent until proven guilty – absolutely right – and now we have photographic as well as the charter evidence we can safely say they are.
    Three cheers for Trinity, and three cheers for the backlash to this muppetry! May we never have fools stupid enough to try and pull this stunt ever again.

  • Anonymous

    Went for lunch with them a few days ago, while I’m not going ahead with joining I can assure you you’ve gotten your facts all wrong as we were given a brief history of how this chapter was established. The claims of sexism and elitism are laughable, I was shocked at the mixture of guys in the group