We Have to Protect the Children: Beta Edition

So I just read the campus-wide email (dang, crash beat me to it) sent by Deans Rick Culliton and Mike Whaley about Beta’s independent status on campus. I would like you all to join me in a resounding “WTF?”

Not that I keep up with frat news or anything, but I haven’t heard of anything really out of the ordinary happening at Beta in the 3.75 years that I’ve been here. I think a lot of us already knew that the house was privately-owned. And I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that 100% of us knew that people drink a lot at the frat. So what’s the point of this email?

Apparently, the Deans are simply worried about our safety and have taken Beta’s reluctance (failure?) to regain official recognition from the university as a sign that Beta bros don’t care about underage drinking in their house. [They mention “safety concerns and behavioral issues” and “illegal and unsafe behavior” but I think that’s just referring to the drinking, right? Is there something else we should know about, Deans?] And the worst part of it all is this: “Beta has chosen not to enter into an affiliation agreement with the University and to continue to prohibit Public Safety from addressing behavioral and/or safety concerns on its property.” That’s right, Psafe can’t bust Beta parties!

Lest you think that’s something to celebrate about, they make sure you remember that this is all about YOU and your SAFETY:

“we advise all Wesleyan students that they should avoid the residence because we cannot establish the safety of the premises…[yadayada]… until then, we remain deeply concerned about the safety of those students who choose to affiliate with the house or attend events there against our advice.”

Um, thanks for the advice? I’m pretty sure I don’t know anybody in Beta and I don’t party there myself, but if I had to guess, I would say that Wesleyan students who choose to spend their time at Beta know exactly what they’re doing. I bet there is a lot of underage drinking going on in the house (and elsewhere), but the “deep concern” seems a bit over the top.

Are they deeply concerned about the kiddies breaking the law? That happens here anyway. Getting the MPD to pick on Beta will just have them breaking the law elsewhere.

Are they deeply concerned about people getting alcohol poisoning? That happens here anyway and why would the house be to blame?

Are they deeply concerned about the fact that Psafe can’t babysit us? We’re big kids now. Anyway, Psafe busting parties doesn’t so much stop us from doing stupid and illegal things as it makes things way less fun and students more resentful.

I get that the administration wants to make it clear that whatever happens in Beta is not their fault. But there must be a way to make it clear that you’re not liable for these things without making the independent frat look like a den of sin and danger. Even more importantly, there must be a way for admins to acknowledge our freedom to make certain decisions without making it all about how bad things will happen to us if we don’t listen to the adults. Unless something else has been going on at the house that I don’t know about, this email just seems like condescending fear mongering (is there any other kind?).

Have a great spring break, everybody! But make sure you don’t have too much fun, or you could get HURT.

these safety concerns and behavioral issues

59 thoughts on “We Have to Protect the Children: Beta Edition

  1. Wes Alum

    As a Wesleyan alum and someone familiar with the so called “ negotiations”, I can say with certainty that the University’s position has been: sign the agreement, as is, or suffer the consequences. Do not believe that it is Beta that has failed to negotiate. This is certainly not only about campus parties at the Beta House. It is about the University’s attempt to exercise control over and deny Beta its independence. Read the agreement at betamuepsilon.com and you will see where it states “the Organization (Beta) understands that it is not required to enter into this agreement and that the only result of not doing so would be the loss of benefits described herein.” “The University does not have a policy of “recognizing” fraternal organizations. Such organizations are free to exist and/or operate either with or without any University benefits.” Well, apparently, another result of “not entering into the Agreement” is an email from Dean Wormer filled with inaccuracies and outright lies in a cheap and malicious attempt to force Beta’s hand with a PR campaign directed at the entire Wesleyan community. Further, those “benefits described herein” refer to off campus housing status which is being denied to Beta’s who are prevented from living where they choose. Beta’s who live in the house are forced to pay rent to the University for rooms they will never occupy, costing Beta alum up to $50,000 a year. Pretty harsh treatment from a new President who said Wesleyan fraternities are “energetic, vital student organizations” “that add value to the educational and co-curricular experience on campus” and “have historic roots with alumni that are important to maintain.” For now, however, the Administration is not content with it’s transparent attempt to starve the house financially: now they are on the attack with an ill conceived PR campaign intending to malign the Beta house and it’s members; as well as offend and frighten parents and the hundreds of Beta alum who received the email. Blogging: “I heard somebody got roofied at Beta” is as irresponsible and speculative as Dean Whaley’s statement that Beta is unsafe and “the University is deeply concerned about the safety of students who enter the Beta House.” Ridiculous. I can assure all Wesleyan students that Beta is up to code and insured. But I am touched by the University’s “deep concern”. I’ll tell you what else they are deeply concerned about: the Benjamins. Ahead of their email to the Wesleyan community the Administration contacted big alumni donors in a shameless attempt to convince them not to let this attack on Beta effect their donations to Wesleyan. Further, by denying Betas off campus status the University collects rent on rooms that will not be occupied. Deeply concerned, indeed.
    Please read the “agreement” and Beta’s reasoned response at http://www.betamuepsilon.com I think you will agree that signing the agreement would strengthen the hand of those within the Administration with an anti fraternity agenda. Whether or not you know any members of the Beta House or associate with them, you cannot support the University’s attempt to deny their right to associate with whom they choose and live where they choose while at Wesleyan. This is about independence and self governance: principles worth standing up and fighting for. If this hard line the Administration has taken is any indication of the University’s mind set today then it is not the diverse, open minded and inclusive school that I intended and, indeed, this is a sad day for Wesleyan.. I urge all fair minded and independent thinking Wesleyan students to express their outrage at the University’s latest attempt at controlling the lives of students by filling Dean Culliton and President Roth’s mailbox with your objections.

  2. Wes Alum

    As a Wesleyan alum and someone familiar with the so called “ negotiations”, I can say with certainty that the University’s position has been: sign the agreement, as is, or suffer the consequences. Do not believe that it is Beta that has failed to negotiate. This is certainly not only about campus parties at the Beta House. It is about the University’s attempt to exercise control over and deny Beta its independence. Read the agreement at betamuepsilon.com and you will see where it states “the Organization (Beta) understands that it is not required to enter into this agreement and that the only result of not doing so would be the loss of benefits described herein.” “The University does not have a policy of “recognizing” fraternal organizations. Such organizations are free to exist and/or operate either with or without any University benefits.” Well, apparently, another result of “not entering into the Agreement” is an email from Dean Wormer filled with inaccuracies and outright lies in a cheap and malicious attempt to force Beta’s hand with a PR campaign directed at the entire Wesleyan community. Further, those “benefits described herein” refer to off campus housing status which is being denied to Beta’s who are prevented from living where they choose. Beta’s who live in the house are forced to pay rent to the University for rooms they will never occupy, costing Beta alum up to $50,000 a year. Pretty harsh treatment from a new President who said Wesleyan fraternities are “energetic, vital student organizations” “that add value to the educational and co-curricular experience on campus” and “have historic roots with alumni that are important to maintain.” For now, however, the Administration is not content with it’s transparent attempt to starve the house financially: now they are on the attack with an ill conceived PR campaign intending to malign the Beta house and it’s members; as well as offend and frighten parents and the hundreds of Beta alum who received the email. Blogging: “I heard somebody got roofied at Beta” is as irresponsible and speculative as Dean Whaley’s statement that Beta is unsafe and “the University is deeply concerned about the safety of students who enter the Beta House.” Ridiculous. I can assure all Wesleyan students that Beta is up to code and insured. But I am touched by the University’s “deep concern”. I’ll tell you what else they are deeply concerned about: the Benjamins. Ahead of their email to the Wesleyan community the Administration contacted big alumni donors in a shameless attempt to convince them not to let this attack on Beta effect their donations to Wesleyan. Further, by denying Betas off campus status the University collects rent on rooms that will not be occupied. Deeply concerned, indeed.
    Please read the “agreement” and Beta’s reasoned response at http://www.betamuepsilon.com I think you will agree that signing the agreement would strengthen the hand of those within the Administration with an anti fraternity agenda. Whether or not you know any members of the Beta House or associate with them, you cannot support the University’s attempt to deny their right to associate with whom they choose and live where they choose while at Wesleyan. This is about independence and self governance: principles worth standing up and fighting for. If this hard line the Administration has taken is any indication of the University’s mind set today then it is not the diverse, open minded and inclusive school that I intended and, indeed, this is a sad day for Wesleyan.. I urge all fair minded and independent thinking Wesleyan students to express their outrage at the University’s latest attempt at controlling the lives of students by filling Dean Culliton and President Roth’s mailbox with your objections.

  3. 420

    Do we really need to think harder about what illegal activities go on at Beta beyond drinking and assaulting women on the reg…

  4. 420

    Do we really need to think harder about what illegal activities go on at Beta beyond drinking and assaulting women on the reg…

  5. Anon

    This situation is not that unique. There are other houses on campus that are self owned (Psi U), and there are other houses on campus where safety precautions are ignored during parties (DKE). At one point, youngsters, there was another house that did both (Chi Psi) which was brought down at Wes for a number of major violations when the alumni simply couldn’t afford to clean up after the brothers anymore.

    Now that Psi U isn’t required to have female boarders, one has to conclude that Beta’s reluctance is not based on protecting fraternal secrets but linked to more nefarious activities. If the university simply does not grant off campus status to the brothers, the resultant financial burden to the chapter’s alumni will lead Beta to fold or come on campus.

  6. Anon

    This situation is not that unique. There are other houses on campus that are self owned (Psi U), and there are other houses on campus where safety precautions are ignored during parties (DKE). At one point, youngsters, there was another house that did both (Chi Psi) which was brought down at Wes for a number of major violations when the alumni simply couldn’t afford to clean up after the brothers anymore.

    Now that Psi U isn’t required to have female boarders, one has to conclude that Beta’s reluctance is not based on protecting fraternal secrets but linked to more nefarious activities. If the university simply does not grant off campus status to the brothers, the resultant financial burden to the chapter’s alumni will lead Beta to fold or come on campus.

  7. anon

    To #19, 18 isn’t necessarily saying there’s an increased prevalence at Beta, just that it HAS happened at Beta, and not a rumor or myth that earlier posters (#14) were saying it was.

    Honestly, bitch and moan about PSafe as much as you want, but i’d rather them coming through where I live than the real cops. I’ve dealt with Boston PD and those guys really could give less of a fuck about what you have to say. At least the PSafe officers don’t push you around or instigate conflict.

  8. anon

    To #19, 18 isn’t necessarily saying there’s an increased prevalence at Beta, just that it HAS happened at Beta, and not a rumor or myth that earlier posters (#14) were saying it was.

    Honestly, bitch and moan about PSafe as much as you want, but i’d rather them coming through where I live than the real cops. I’ve dealt with Boston PD and those guys really could give less of a fuck about what you have to say. At least the PSafe officers don’t push you around or instigate conflict.

  9. not mad

    “Mad” is a dumbass. PSafe is not better for dealing with everyday issues. I’ve talked to middltown police officers who think its absurd that they have to deal with weed arrests when psafe calls them when they could be dealing with actual criminals in the middletown area.

    Also psafe/physical plant stole my TV last spring break, but the only evidence I had was that it was gone and that my room had been searched for fire safety violations. Wesleyan is a terrible fucking landlord. The housing agreement is preposterous considering we HAVE to sign it to go to school here.

  10. not mad

    “Mad” is a dumbass. PSafe is not better for dealing with everyday issues. I’ve talked to middltown police officers who think its absurd that they have to deal with weed arrests when psafe calls them when they could be dealing with actual criminals in the middletown area.

    Also psafe/physical plant stole my TV last spring break, but the only evidence I had was that it was gone and that my room had been searched for fire safety violations. Wesleyan is a terrible fucking landlord. The housing agreement is preposterous considering we HAVE to sign it to go to school here.

  11. anon

    18:

    Let me preface this by saying that I’m sorry for what happened to you and the “other people you know”, and I’m not responding to detract in any way from what you’ve been through.

    I’m responding to say that your experience is not evidence for an increased prevalence of sexual assault at Beta compared to anywhere else on or near campus, and you don’t know why the email was written any better than the rest of us.

    I have no problem with you sharing your story. What I have a problem with is you sharing your story as if it is evidence of a greater trend. It’s like news networks using human-interest stories to pollute people’s perceptions.

  12. anon

    18:

    Let me preface this by saying that I’m sorry for what happened to you and the “other people you know”, and I’m not responding to detract in any way from what you’ve been through.

    I’m responding to say that your experience is not evidence for an increased prevalence of sexual assault at Beta compared to anywhere else on or near campus, and you don’t know why the email was written any better than the rest of us.

    I have no problem with you sharing your story. What I have a problem with is you sharing your story as if it is evidence of a greater trend. It’s like news networks using human-interest stories to pollute people’s perceptions.

  13. anon

    to all those who are getting pissy because we’re talking about sexual assault at beta: shut the fuck up. I have been sexually assaulted at beta, and so have other people I know, so stop pretending its some sort of feminist conspiracy. I’m not saying that beta brothers did it, but it is still an important “safety issue” that you guys are trying to ignore.

  14. anon

    to all those who are getting pissy because we’re talking about sexual assault at beta: shut the fuck up. I have been sexually assaulted at beta, and so have other people I know, so stop pretending its some sort of feminist conspiracy. I’m not saying that beta brothers did it, but it is still an important “safety issue” that you guys are trying to ignore.

  15. Mad

    I agree with 2012 though – the administration is trying to cover itself for several reasons:

    – If something really bad DOES happen at Beta, they’re covering their butts legally – they specifically warned the student body to be careful there
    – My other hunch is that I’ve heard Beta gets a lot of noise complaints from neighbors. They used to be able to call PSafe to break it up, who would break it up and people wouldn’t really get in trouble. Wes is now warning everyone that Psafe can no longer have any role in breaking up Beta parties – which means that if they get broken up, it’ll be Middletown Police breaking it up, with all that goes with it (arrests? fines? who knows)

    Honestly, I think Beta is the one who is being stupid here. PSafe is a lot better to deal with than Middletown Police any day, for routine things. I hope no one at Beta smokes pot, because they’re going to be complaining a lot if they get arrested later.

  16. Mad

    I agree with 2012 though – the administration is trying to cover itself for several reasons:

    – If something really bad DOES happen at Beta, they’re covering their butts legally – they specifically warned the student body to be careful there
    – My other hunch is that I’ve heard Beta gets a lot of noise complaints from neighbors. They used to be able to call PSafe to break it up, who would break it up and people wouldn’t really get in trouble. Wes is now warning everyone that Psafe can no longer have any role in breaking up Beta parties – which means that if they get broken up, it’ll be Middletown Police breaking it up, with all that goes with it (arrests? fines? who knows)

    Honestly, I think Beta is the one who is being stupid here. PSafe is a lot better to deal with than Middletown Police any day, for routine things. I hope no one at Beta smokes pot, because they’re going to be complaining a lot if they get arrested later.

  17. whatshername

    Dear “2012”,

    I’m a little confused. Did you not read what I wrote? I tried to find every motive I could think of based on the information given in the email. Really, the whole point of this post was to figure out why this email was sent because it was not clear. I appreciate that you’re helping to clear it up by providing more information. It would have made way more sense for them to say something to the effect of “We have had to deal with legal issues in the past because people thought that Beta was under our jurisdiction, but we want to make it clear that that’s not the case.” Instead, they painted a portrait of Beta that is unfair to the frat and to the students who they seem to think don’t know any better by going there.

    Also, I pretty much stand by everything I say when I post on Wesleying, but I don’t understand why you felt it appropriate to use my name in your comment. It makes it sound like you have a personal problem with me and the useful stuff that you do say is only second to you having been offended by my “ignorance and ridiculousness” at some point in the past. I don’t care that you’re sick of my posts, but I do care that you so quickly resort to name-calling when you’re upset about something written here. This discussion has nothing to do with me, and your point would have been better made by keeping me out of it.

    Please do comment if and when you feel that you have something to add, but just remember that personal attacks are not what Wesleying is about.

  18. whatshername

    Dear “2012”,

    I’m a little confused. Did you not read what I wrote? I tried to find every motive I could think of based on the information given in the email. Really, the whole point of this post was to figure out why this email was sent because it was not clear. I appreciate that you’re helping to clear it up by providing more information. It would have made way more sense for them to say something to the effect of “We have had to deal with legal issues in the past because people thought that Beta was under our jurisdiction, but we want to make it clear that that’s not the case.” Instead, they painted a portrait of Beta that is unfair to the frat and to the students who they seem to think don’t know any better by going there.

    Also, I pretty much stand by everything I say when I post on Wesleying, but I don’t understand why you felt it appropriate to use my name in your comment. It makes it sound like you have a personal problem with me and the useful stuff that you do say is only second to you having been offended by my “ignorance and ridiculousness” at some point in the past. I don’t care that you’re sick of my posts, but I do care that you so quickly resort to name-calling when you’re upset about something written here. This discussion has nothing to do with me, and your point would have been better made by keeping me out of it.

    Please do comment if and when you feel that you have something to add, but just remember that personal attacks are not what Wesleying is about.

  19. anon

    This is fucking ridiculous. No one gets sexually assaulted at beta, the brothers who live there are actually really good guys. Stop spreading nonsense.

  20. anon

    This is fucking ridiculous. No one gets sexually assaulted at beta, the brothers who live there are actually really good guys. Stop spreading nonsense.

  21. 2012

    ashley castro, i am so sick of your ignorant and ridiculous posts. why would you just ASSUME that the administration has no motive for this?

    the reason this e-mail was sent out is because the university is worried about the potential legal ramifications of beta’s off-campus status. apparently they almost got sued earlier this year when a student ended up in the hospital after drinking too much at beta, and they just want to make it clear that they have no control over beta so that they are not liable if something like that occurs again. that’s why it got sent to parents too.

  22. 2012

    ashley castro, i am so sick of your ignorant and ridiculous posts. why would you just ASSUME that the administration has no motive for this?

    the reason this e-mail was sent out is because the university is worried about the potential legal ramifications of beta’s off-campus status. apparently they almost got sued earlier this year when a student ended up in the hospital after drinking too much at beta, and they just want to make it clear that they have no control over beta so that they are not liable if something like that occurs again. that’s why it got sent to parents too.

  23. WesStudent

    Generalizations about sexual assault are utterly ridiculous, and have no place here. It’s quite easy to use words like ‘rape’ and ‘roofie’ when talking about a fraternity; let’s not use this opportunity to throw them around without any substantiation. Just trying to keep the discussion civil here, people.

  24. WesStudent

    Generalizations about sexual assault are utterly ridiculous, and have no place here. It’s quite easy to use words like ‘rape’ and ‘roofie’ when talking about a fraternity; let’s not use this opportunity to throw them around without any substantiation. Just trying to keep the discussion civil here, people.

  25. alum

    the attempt to frame this discussion equating Beta with sexual assualt is very disturbing.

  26. alum

    the attempt to frame this discussion equating Beta with sexual assualt is very disturbing.

  27. anonimouse

    not that im one to defend beta, but it seems like the university is trying to find a scapegoat here. a little absurd.

    though if that shit about roofies is true, someone should call the MPD.

  28. anonimouse

    not that im one to defend beta, but it seems like the university is trying to find a scapegoat here. a little absurd.

    though if that shit about roofies is true, someone should call the MPD.

  29. anon

    not to downplay sexual assault- but i do not think it is fair to keep claiming beta brothers are responsible for rape and sexual assault unless you have victems actually telling you- rape and sexual assault happen all over campus- and i am not saying that it does or doesnt happen at beta, just maybe u should get to know some of those guys before u overgeneralize- the majority of them that i know are very nice people

  30. anon

    not to downplay sexual assault- but i do not think it is fair to keep claiming beta brothers are responsible for rape and sexual assault unless you have victems actually telling you- rape and sexual assault happen all over campus- and i am not saying that it does or doesnt happen at beta, just maybe u should get to know some of those guys before u overgeneralize- the majority of them that i know are very nice people

  31. anon

    actually to clarify- if u are sexually assaulted on campus and report it to psafe it is dealt with by the school judiciary committee and the victom can also elect to pursue the matter legally (via MPD)- which if u want that fucker to get what ze deserves and go to jail rather than just being suspended or getting a warning – u should probably go to MPD- wes is a little better, but many campuses deal with sexual assault by having the perpetraitor write an essay on why sexual assault is bad

  32. anon

    actually to clarify- if u are sexually assaulted on campus and report it to psafe it is dealt with by the school judiciary committee and the victom can also elect to pursue the matter legally (via MPD)- which if u want that fucker to get what ze deserves and go to jail rather than just being suspended or getting a warning – u should probably go to MPD- wes is a little better, but many campuses deal with sexual assault by having the perpetraitor write an essay on why sexual assault is bad

  33. senior, also

    I would say that the maintenance and safety of the building itself would be an issue, too. I also agree with 3 that when people say “safety problems” in connection with Beta I think sexual assault and rape. As a woman, I wouldn’t feel safe going there without a big group of friends.

  34. senior, also

    I would say that the maintenance and safety of the building itself would be an issue, too. I also agree with 3 that when people say “safety problems” in connection with Beta I think sexual assault and rape. As a woman, I wouldn’t feel safe going there without a big group of friends.

  35. senior

    The reason why this email came out now is that negotiations begun anew by the administration to get beta back on campus just fell apart. This was not prompted by any move on beta

  36. senior

    The reason why this email came out now is that negotiations begun anew by the administration to get beta back on campus just fell apart. This was not prompted by any move on beta

  37. b

    at 3 & 4: repeated instances??? even if this were the case, wouldn’t a sexual assault at any other campus residence be reported to MPD anyway? That is, isn’t PSafe required to notify police if any crime has taken place on campus?

  38. b

    at 3 & 4: repeated instances??? even if this were the case, wouldn’t a sexual assault at any other campus residence be reported to MPD anyway? That is, isn’t PSafe required to notify police if any crime has taken place on campus?

  39. anon

    yeah, agreed with number 3, they sent an email out about some students being roofied there last year.

  40. anon

    yeah, agreed with number 3, they sent an email out about some students being roofied there last year.

  41. anon

    part of the reason i think the university is justified in wanting Beta to affiliate with the university is because of the repeated incidences of sexual assault that happen at beta. when someone is sexually assaulted at beta, they cant report it to psafe because its off campus, and thus would have to call the MPD, which people who have been sexually assaulted are reluctant to do.

  42. anon

    part of the reason i think the university is justified in wanting Beta to affiliate with the university is because of the repeated incidences of sexual assault that happen at beta. when someone is sexually assaulted at beta, they cant report it to psafe because its off campus, and thus would have to call the MPD, which people who have been sexually assaulted are reluctant to do.

  43. anon

    This is basically posturing by the school with a threat to pressure MPD to break up parties. Wes wants them to be a program house and let non-Betas live there so they can collect $$ and police it via Psage. This weak sauce by the admininstration.

  44. anon

    This is basically posturing by the school with a threat to pressure MPD to break up parties. Wes wants them to be a program house and let non-Betas live there so they can collect $$ and police it via Psage. This weak sauce by the admininstration.

  45. anon

    I’m no history buff, but if I recall correctly, a little less that 3.75 years ago a large crew of non-Wesleyan-affiliated persons (“townies” if you will) rolled up to a party at Beta. A fight broke out, and a Wesleyan student got stabbed.

    That said, I agree with your post. There’s danger everywhere, on and off campus. It feels to me like the administration sent this email because they’re a little peeved that Beta is choosing to exercise all the autonomy provided by living off-campus in a privately owned house.

  46. anon

    I’m no history buff, but if I recall correctly, a little less that 3.75 years ago a large crew of non-Wesleyan-affiliated persons (“townies” if you will) rolled up to a party at Beta. A fight broke out, and a Wesleyan student got stabbed.

    That said, I agree with your post. There’s danger everywhere, on and off campus. It feels to me like the administration sent this email because they’re a little peeved that Beta is choosing to exercise all the autonomy provided by living off-campus in a privately owned house.

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