A former fraternity at the University of Central Florida is openly taunting the public school's administration and Greek life officials, advertising themselves as a organization not bound by any rules.
The former Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity chapter was closed and had its charter revoked in January for university violations. However, over the past few months, the remaining members have continued to operate as the "Gazoni Family," advertising the organization as a frat with no rules.
"We ultimately decided to persevere and not tolerate getting bullied by umbrella organizations such as Greek Council, UCF and Lambda Chi Nationals any longer," said Yuval Mor, the acting president of the Gazoni Family. "We organized ourselves back together merely days after our dismissal from the institution. That is basically how it started."
The group changed its name to Gazoni Family, after the last name of "a notorious brother [from] relatively long ago," Mor explained. The university doesn't own the house where the frat members live, so the organization will keep the same residence. Mor said they have a good relationship with the property managers, and continuing the lease hasn't been an issue.
The organization's Twitter feed is a stream of boasting about partying and advertising that the Gazoni Family plans to continue to rush as an unofficial fraternity. In April, the group cohosted an event with the YouTube channel "I'm Shmacked," which documents college partying. Mor said they aren't trying to portray themselves as "rebels" or send a message to the university of disrespect or resentment. "Our product is just simply better," he said.
Colleges and universities shut down more than three dozen fraternities in the spring semester for various incidents of misconduct, which experts characterized as a "zero tolerance" approach. Some private schools have moved in recent years to ban fraternities altogether.
However, because UCF is a public university, it cannot ban students from joining private organizations.
"The UCF chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha had its charter revoked earlier this year for behavior that does not reflect the values of the national organization. UCF supported that decision and does not recognize Lambda Chi Alpha as a registered student organization, including a small group of students formerly in the chapter who call themselves the Gazoni Family," UCF spokesperson Zenaida Kotala said. "We do not approve or support the online material used to promote this unregistered group of students." The UCF Greek Council referred questions to the school's press office.
When it disaffiliated, some of the group's biggest issues were related to finances, partly because fraternities often have high insurance costs. Mor said they are getting help from alumni, and no longer have to pay a national fraternity office $20,000 a semester.
"We have the right to assemble, and are taking the proper due diligence just like any other registered organization to prevent any issues from both a safety concern and a legal standpoint," Mor said.
This story has been updated with a comment from UCF.
Tyler Kingkade covers higher education at The Huffington Post. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.