UI FIJI fraternity president elected as new Interfraternity Council president amid lawsuit against chapter

The council represents most fraternities at the UI, and it works as a liaison between the fraternity community and the university.


Rachel Wagner

The Phi Gamma Delta house is seen on Monday, Aug. 30, 2021.

Caleb McCullough, Executive Editor

As Iowa’s Phi Gamma Delta chapter faces a lawsuit over an alleged sexual assault last year and a review over compliance from the national fraternity, the Iowa chapter’s current president, Mason Miller, was elected president of the UI’s Interfraternity Council this month.

The Interfraternity Council is under the Division of Student Life and acts as a liaison between the fraternity community and the university. The council announced the results of the election in a Nov. 9 email, obtained by The Daily Iowan, to members of council fraternities. Miller and the new slate of IFC executives will take over in January 2022.

Miller was not president and did not hold any officer position in the fraternity, commonly called FIJI, when the assault allegedly occurred in September 2020. Miller did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The DI reached out to the UI Division of Student Life for confirmation of the results before obtaining the email. Anne Matthes, director of Student Life communications, referred the DI to the IFC bylaws.

“Regarding IFC elections, according to the bylaws, executive council candidates must be in good university standing with the university and be a member of a member chapter/colony in good standing,” she wrote. “A simple majority is required for executive council positions.”

Matthes confirmed the results of the election on Thursday.

Miller was not named in any legal action against the fraternity, and while the fraternity is a defendant in a civil lawsuit, it is not in poor standing with the UI.

When asked for details about the election, including how many candidates were up for the election and what percentage of votes Miller received, current IFC president Will Hochman also pointed to the bylaws, saying he couldn’t provide more information.

On Nov. 15, the UI FIJI fraternity posted on the chapter’s Instagram congratulating Mason Miller on his election win.


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A post shared by Phi Gamma Delta – Iowa (@iowafiji)

“This accomplishment is something Mason has looked into since being a part of Greek life,” the post read. “After being an outstanding president for our fraternity this past term, we know he is the right man for the job.”

In August, a petition circulated alleging that two members of Phi Gamma Delta had sexually assaulted a University of Iowa student in September of the previous year. Protests broke out over the next few days calling for the removal of the fraternity from campus.

In October, University of Iowa student Makéna Solberg filed a lawsuit against the two former members, Carson Steffen and Jacob Meloan, as well as the Iowa FIJI chapter and Phi Gamma Delta Educational Foundation, Inc., alleging the two men assaulted her at a party at the FIJI house in September 2020.

The Daily Iowan received permission from Solberg to use her name in its reporting.

The lawsuit alleges that the two men took videos and photos of the incident and they were shared among the fraternity. It also asserts that the Iowa FIJI chapter and Phi Gamma Delta Educational Foundation failed to supervise their members and protect guests during an official function at the fraternity house.

The lawsuit also said members of the Iowa chapter “aided and abetted” the alleged assault by sharing photos and “directing their deletion to hide the acts, and instructing solidarity in silence to its members which intended to, and have in fact, frustrated investigation into the sexual assault.”

In addition to the lawsuit, the national Phi Gamma Delta organization is performing a review of the Iowa chapter in the wake of the allegations. In a post on the UI’s Division of Student Life webpage, the UI said the review would include questions regarding law and policy violations, chapter and member-level accountability, and more.

The Interfraternity Council is made up of campus fraternity members. Officers in the council are elected by a simple majority, and each of the 17 IFC fraternities gets a vote.

The council’s mission is to “cause closer working relationships and coordination among its member chapters and the University of Iowa,” according to its constitution.

Rylee Wilson and Josie Fischels contributed to this report

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story said that Director of Student Life Communications Anne Matthes did not confirm the results of the IFC election. She did not confirm them before publication, but on Thursday sent a list of officers elected in the most recent election, including Miller. The article has been updated to reflect the new information.