Sunday, April 05, 2015

The List of Fraternities That Are Getting Shut Down Just Keeps Growing

This from the Chronicle of Higher Education:
It’s hardly unusual for fraternities to be shut down. Greek life, after all, has a long history of mixing a spirit of camaraderie with a tendency toward destructive excess.
OU SAE leads racist chant

But ever since members of a University of Oklahoma fraternity were caught on video two weeks ago singing a racist chant, news of fraternities’ being suspended or shuttered has come at an unusually rapid clip. Whether the growing scrutiny is a byproduct of enhanced media attention, wider administrative oversight, more outrageous behavior, clearer evidence of it on social media, or something else is hard to know.

Here is a list of the most prominent cases of fraternity discipline to be reported in the last two weeks:

Fraternity: Sigma Alpha Epsilon at the University of Oklahoma
What happened: Members were caught on video singing a chant about denying membership to African-American students and lynching them.
Punishment: The fraternity was disbanded, and two members were expelled by the university. The national organization announced a series of diversity reforms.

Fraternity: Kappa Delta Rho at Pennsylvania State University’s main campus
What happened: Members were accused of maintaining a Facebook page where they shared photographs of nude, incapacitated women. One member, speaking anonymously, defended the page as “satire.”
Punishment: The fraternity was suspended for a year by its national organization. The university and the police are investigating.

Fraternity: Sigma Alpha Mu at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
What happened: Members trashed a ski resort, reportedly causing upward of $400,000 in damage.
Punishment: The fraternity was permanently disbanded by its national organization. A prosecutor filed charges against three members of the chapter and said he would charge other members when he learned their names. The charges include malicious destruction and drug and alcohol use by minors.

Fraternity: Chi Phi at the University of Wisconsin at Madison
What happened: The fraternity hazed new members, the university said, denying them food and making them undergo hooded isolation.
Punishment: The university removed the fraternity’s recognition as a student group.

Fraternity: Sigma Chi at the University of Houston
What happened: The university became aware of allegations of hazing.
Punishment: The chapter was suspended, and five students were suspended from the university.

Fraternity: Alpha Tau Omega at North Carolina State University
What happened: A student said she had seen illegal drugs at the fraternity and also alleged she had been sexually assaulted there.
Punishment: The fraternity was suspended.

Fraternity: Pi Kappa Phi at North Carolina State University
What happened: A book associated with the chapter that contained racially and sexually inappropriate language, along with derogatory comments about women, was found at a restaurant close to the campus.
Punishment: The fraternity was placed under interim suspension.

Fraternity: Pi Kappa Alpha at the University of South Carolina at Columbia
What happened: A member was found dead in an off-campus house under what the police have called suspicious circumstances.
Punishment: The national organization suspended the chapter.


Anonymous said...

OK, so we have 8 severe fraternity infractions listed here out of 5,500 chapters in the US or about or one for every 688 chapters.

2010 data on law enforcement shows over 1500 violations related just to excessive force by officers. There are about 12,500 police departments in the US. That comes to one excess force violation for every 8 or 9 departments.

I don't see anyone trying to close down the entire police department, even when those practices are part of an existing subculture of the department.

Just another media witch hunt, no different than entire law enforcement community being labeled as violent or racist.

Richard Day said...

No, these are just 8 recent cases. This is not a comprehensive listing.

I'm a frat guy myself, but I know that not all fraternities are alike...and some give the rest of us a pretty bad name.

Let's just be honest about that.

Anonymous said...

I agree as a fellow frat guy, that a few make us look bad - no different than what the media does to us as educators when one of us transgresses and we all get painted with the same brush of mistrust.

UVA response of initially banning campus fraternities based on what turned out to be a completely false gang rape report by fraternity member in Rolling Stones is just an example of how college leaders don't know what to do with greek organizations. I don't know many places where one can video tape some members of an organization engaging in misbehavior and not only have that organization barred but all other similar organizations which had not involvement. We don't close down Annapolis because midshipmen haze freshmen or female cadets much less cheat on electrical engineering exams - no we punish those individuals (not the organization or all service academies).
The fact is post secondary leadership is competing for every student they can get their hands on. Even EKU is trying to revitalize its identity and sense of place (though I am not sure how "green space" attracts undergrads unless they are goats or cows. Like it or not, fraternities and sororities have demonstrated an ability to attract and anchor students to a specific campus. They are a two edged sword that presents legal/publicity liability as well as culture and support for students which universities themselves rarely can muster.
I imagine if a couple of EKU or UK athletes engaged in vulgar, racist or even illegal behavior, that their teams would not be disbanded much less have all athletic teams terminated (ala UVA) based on a few individuals stupid behavior. I think we see that almost every season with the ongoing misconduct of individual college athletes, but don't see anyone closing the athletic department or disbanding the team.