Zeta Delta Xi ("Zete") is a local, co-educational fraternity at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. It traces its origins to 1852 as the Epsilon chapter of the all-male national fraternity Zeta Psi. In 1982, the Epsilon chapter decided to admit women as brothers. This led to the chapter's disassociation from Zeta Psi in 1986, and the birth of Zeta Delta Xi on 24 January 1987. A shortened version of its name, "Zete", is commonly used to refer to the fraternity or a member.


Origins as Zeta Psi

Zeta Delta Xi began life in 1852 as the Epsilon chapter of the national, all-male fraternity Zeta Psi. It was the eighth Zeta Psi chapter in the nation and the sixth fraternity to take root at Brown University.

For the next one hundred thirty years, the Epsilon chapter of Zeta Psi remained a fixture of life at Brown University. The activities of the Epsilon chapter during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are rather poorly documented; however, it is known that three members were expelled from Brown University in 1876 for "voluptuous activities." In 1916, the fraternity moved into a house at 48 College Street. This remained its quarters until the 1940s, when Zeta Psi IHQ sold their house to the university and expelled them from the organization, they then moved into on-campus housing around the newly-constructed Wriston Quad. The old Zeta Psi house is now the home of the Classics Department. [1]

Going co-ed and the birth of Zeta Delta Xi

In 1982, the Epsilon chapter decided to expand its membership to include women. Although the Zeta Psi national organization acquiesced in the Epsilon chapter's decision to admit women as local members, it still refused to recognize women as members of the national organization because Zeta Psi's national constitution prohibited women from becoming brothers. Restricting women to local membership had two significant consequences: it barred women from participating in certain Zeta Psi ceremonies, and prohibited women from becoming officers within the local chapter.

The chapter's members were upset at the inequality of this arrangement, and officially began considering women as full brothers (including electing women as officers) in defiance of Zeta Psi's national constitution. In 1986, the Epsilon chapter further defied the national by electing a female president and arranging to have her represent the chapter at the Zeta Psi national convention. The national organization, outraged at the chapter's violations, threatened to revoke the Epsilon chapter's charter if it did not bring itself back into compliance with the national constitution including the removal of all female officers from their positions and the demotion of female brothers back to the status of local members. On December 10, 1986, the Epsilon chapter decided that it could not justify membership in a national fraternity that did not recognize all of its members, and voted unanimously to withdraw from Zeta Psi.

Within weeks after receiving the Epsilon chapter's letter of withdrawal, Zeta Psi declared the Epsilon chapter dead, and removed all Zeta Psi property from the chapter house at Brown University. This included almost all of the chapter’s property—ranging from couches and televisions to photographs of past members.

On 24 January 1987, all of the members of the Epsilon chapter formed a new organization known as Zeta Delta Xi: a local co-ed fraternity, independent of Zeta Psi.

Zeta Delta Xi since 1987

Since 1987, Zeta Delta Xi has thrived on campus, continuing to uphold its founding ideals. Its membership is drawn from people of many diverse interests and backgrounds, with relationships founded on equality and mutual respect. In 1994, for instance, it was the first fraternity at Brown University to elect an openly gay man (Cristobal Modesto '95) as President.

The strength of the relationships forged in the fraternity is reflected in the large number of Zetes who continue their relationship with the house beyond their undergraduate years. Many of Zeta Delta Xi's alums make regular pilgrimages back to Zete in January, to celebrate the anniversary of their founding, and in May, to watch younger members graduate. These elders form a strong community and a shared support network that lasts long after graduation.

Notable Alumni

Brian Floca, children's book author and illustrator
Aaron Schatz, founder of Football Outsiders


  • On Friday afternoon of Spring Weekend every year, Zete throws SpagFest - students spend several hours eating spaghetti and garlic bread and drinking beer, wine, and soda.
  • Each year during commencement, current brothers and alumni gather on the steps of 48 College Street, the former fraternity house, to cheer the graduating seniors.
  • Starting in 2005, Zete cooperated with Alpha Epsilon Pi, with whom they share a building, to throw Oktoberfest, with hot dogs, kielbasa, and German beer.


This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Zeta Delta Xi, that was deleted or is being discussed for deletion, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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