[BREAKING] Beta Theta Pi Off Limits to Students for this Academic Year

beta

In an all campus email today, it was announced that Beta Theta Pi will be off limits to students for the full academic year starting on Monday, September 15. The administration’s decision was certainly amplified by this past weekend’s incident, in which a student was seriously injured after falling from a third story window. Along with this occurrence, Beta has been in the news in recent years for incidents of sexual assault. This is a definitive step for the administration, which has spent years refining housing policies to have more control over residential fraternities, in particular Beta Theta Pi.

The students who currently live in Beta will be given alternative university housing for the year. While the residence will be off limits for at least the full year, a final decision on the permanence of this resolution will be made by the Board of Trustees when they are on campus in two weeks.

Updated (9/15/14 5:29 PM): Beta is officially off limits to students for the year, starting today. An all-campus email today stated that any student found on the Beta property without permission from both the University and the alumni association that owns the house will be “charged with violating the Code of Non-Academic Conduct and sanctioned accordingly, up to and including immediate suspension.  Students may also be subject to trespassing charges via Middletown Police, at the owners’ discretion.” The e-mail is reproduced below.

Updated (9/10/14 7:05 PM): In a decision effective immediately, the national organization of Beta Theta Pi downgraded the Wesleyan chapter from “Probation” to “Suspended,” according to a press release (reproduced below). “Moving forward and building positively on that reality, Beta Theta Pi must continue to accept responsibility for its members’ actions that have not lived up to the expectations of the University, community and larger General Fraternity.”

Beta has been established at Wesleyan for 125 years, but the national organization stated the “challenging behavior” of the chapter’s last few years have required reorganization. “The University will receive Beta’s full commitment and cooperation during this process and will have an active partner in helping develop Beta’s future contribution to the student body and Wesleyan experience.”

Roth’s email below:

To the Wesleyan Community:

We write to announce that the Beta Theta Pi residence at 184 High Street will be off-limits to all Wesleyan students effective Monday, September 15, 2014.  The students currently living there will be provided with alternative university housing. The decision to prohibit students from using the Beta house is based on the long history of incidents there. Most recently, during a party at the house a student fell from a third floor window and was seriously injured. We have lost confidence in the ability of the fraternity members to manage social and residential activities at the house and abide by university policies.  Wesleyan has an obligation to do what it reasonably can to ensure the safety of every member of the community, including the Beta fraternity members and their guests. The Beta house will remain off-limits to all Wesleyan students for the rest of the academic year at least. Down the road we are open to seeing from the fraternity a considered plan for the house and social activities there that satisfies our expectations for residential life at our university.

Michael S. Roth

President

Michael Whaley

Vice President for Student Affairs

Beta Theta Pi’s press release, via Director of Communication Martin Cobb:

BETA SUPPORTS FRIEND’S RECOVERY; SUSPENDS OPERATIONS AT WESLEYAN

“As difficult as it may be at the beginning of the academic year for all of our undergraduate members to be moved by Wesleyan University out of the chapter house into alternative university housing, Beta Theta Pi undergraduates and alumni remain focused first and foremost on the recovery of the young woman who attempted to climb onto the roof of our chapter house this past weekend,” remarked Administrative Secretary Jud Horras. “She is a close friend to many undergraduate Betas and they are spending time in the hospital supporting her and her family. Initial accounts indicate this appears to have been a simple accident.” 

“Beta Theta Pi has enjoyed 125 years at Wesleyan, but the chapter has been in the midst of an extensive period of self-renewal and reorganization following several years of challenging behavior. Moving forward and building positively on that reality, Beta Theta Pi must continue to accept responsibility for its members’ actions that have not lived up to the expectations of the University, community and larger General Fraternity. To that end, effective immediately, the Fraternity is downgrading the chapter’s status from “Probation” to “Suspension.” This will provide an opportunity for appropriate measures of collaboration to be acted upon as a result of examining the broader context of the chapter’s culture and its short- and long-term future. The University will receive Beta’s full commitment and cooperation during this process and will have an active partner in helping develop Beta’s future contribution to the student body and Wesleyan experience.”

Known across the continent for its award-winning Men of Principle initiative, Beta Theta Pi ranks among the top 10 fraternities in number of chapters, undergraduate members and living alumni. This past academic year, the Fraternity achieved a 3.193 GPA, the highest mark in its 175-year history. Notable alumni include United States Senator Richard G. Lugar, Denison ’54, Legendary Basketball Coach John Wooden, Purdue ’32, Wal-Mart Founder Sam Walton, Missouri ’40, Nike Co-Founder Bill Bowerman, Oregon ’33, Hall of Fame Baseball Player Mike Schmidt, Ohio ’71, and Retail Guru Bruce Nordstrom, Washington ’55.

Beta Theta Pi was founded in 1839 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and consists of nearly 9,400 undergraduates on 131 campuses throughout the United States and Canada. The Fraternity serves more than 128,000 living alumni, some 1,500 volunteers, countless Friends of Beta and the parents of all undergraduates.

All-campus e-mail from Dean Rick Culliton, from Monday, September 15th:

Dear Students,

As a follow up to the September 10th announcement that the Beta Theta Pi house would be closed today, I want to provide you with notice about the specific policy now in effect.  The University’s existing Residency policy stipulates that Wesleyan students are prohibited from using houses or property owned, leased or operated by Greek organizations that are not recognized by the University.  Effective today, any student found to be at the Beta property at 184 High Street without permission from both the University and from the alumni association that owns the house will be charged with violating the Code of Non-Academic Conduct and sanctioned accordingly, up to and including immediate suspension.  Students may also be subject to trespassing charges via Middletown Police, at the owners’ discretion.

Sincerely,

Dean Rick

Rick Culliton
Dean of Students
Wesleyan University
(860)685-2627


For further reading:

Nightmare on High Street: The Beta Chronicles (11/10/10)
Beta: Beginning of the End? (2/14/11)
Mapping the Student Response to Beta-Gate (2/16/11)
Roth Addresses ‘Too Broad’ Housing Policy (2/14/11)
Beta Signs Revised Housing Policy (6/17/11)
Settlement in Federal Lawsuit Against Beta and Wesleyan (9/10/13)
What’s Going on with Fraternities, Sexual Assault, and the WSA? (4/27/14)
Student Hospitalized After Falling from Beta Window (9/7/14)

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  • smh

    they really gonna try and say she climbed? no shame…

    • do you know something?

      do you have information to suggest something different happened? did she get pushed?

      • I imagine you know something..

        Not the police nor a single news source has thus far said anything about climbing. Beta needs evidence to prove that this happened if they are going to make this claim. The logic of ‘what else could have happened?’ is extremely weak. This is a creepy reply that fits in with the narrative Beta is pushing.

        • Are you serious?

          Maybe the police haven’t said anything because the investigation isn’t complete. Have you seen the window? You cannot fall out that window. You can only climb out that window. It is actually the assumption that we should presume “foul play” which needs to be proved with evidence, and its a narrative that is as weak as it is creepy and vindictive. People can have an a priori hatred for beta. Go ahead. But unless you have any sort of evidence that individuals in beta pushed their friend out of a window so that she could be hurt, they could be shut down and forced out of their historic house, you sound like an idiot. It’s okay to hate beta as an entity. Its absurd to make it seem like Beta is “victim-blaming”–which implies that it was in actuality Beta’s fault.

          • Stooly

            Negligent and reckless are both terms that could be applied.

          • 06459

            The real problem is beta has windows. If they had no windows this could have never happened.

          • Searching for the truth

            I am in no way saying that any specific member of beta is at fault for the incident. What I find ‘creepy’ about this press release where beta said she was climbing is that it absolves blame from beta entirely. If she was climbing,and I’m not saying that she wasn’t, then beta could use this to defend themselves in court. It feels as if the narrative of her trying to climb the house is being pushed by beta in order to protect themselves, especially in light of the fact that beta has this far been the only ones to come out with this version of the story.

          • Very serious

            I hope that the comment above is in no way construed as an attack on beta or an insinuation that I think any specific members are at fault. I am merely trying to find the truth in a situation in which a lawsuit is a viable possibility and where greater fraternity and university forces are definitely at play.

  • M ’15

    “the young woman who attempted to climb onto the roof of our chapter house this past weekend” –> that’s the first time I heard this part of the story, and it’s interesting that this is how I know it. Un/intentional victim blaming?

    • Tech

      Have you seen the window? You cannot fall out that window. You can only climb out that widow.

    • ???

      I agree. The implications of this statement are extremely serious. This statement needs to be substantiated.

  • l8r g8r

    Finally! It has been so clear to so many of us that the environment that Beta creates is an incredibly unsafe one. While this is just one step of many, it is surely a crucial one. Despite the fact that it is individual brothers who are often responsible for the assaults, the excessive drinking and a general disregard for safety. We must remember that Beta and other exclusive and largely male-dominated spaces are what enable and encourage such individual actions. I am by no means excusing any individual behavior as a byproduct of these environments, but rather attempting to say that while a house itself cannot do anything wrong (its an inanimate object) it does allow and excuse said unsafe behavior. I hope a place like this never reenters our community. Now how about we have a look at the remaining gender exclusive societies on our campus…

    • Stooly

      House is haunted by SPIRITS. Jack Daniels, to be specific.

    • FREEGUWOP

      Oh STFU

  • The Lord Protector

    Sorry me, I meant to say that “Now it is the time for the people of the Commonwealth of Wesleyan to stand up and demand the ABOLITION (not establishment) of all fraternities.”

  • The Lord Protector

    About time! Now it is time for the people of the Commonwealth of Wesleyan to stand up and demand the establishment of all fraternities. These institutions are not only unsafe, as shown by this tragic incident, but the also promote a culture of white male cis-gender misogyny. This is counterproductive to our Commonwealth and to the process of liberal arts education. The fraternities should have been abolished a long time ago, look what waiting for their establishment has resulted in. President Roth your slow actions have resulted in a tragedy. I hereby call for a Parliament to limit the office of Presidentship and to call upon the dissolution of all fraternities on campus as unsafe and backwards! Likewise I would like to also bring attention to another tragedy, the militarization of our campus. I hereby, along with other Delta Mu Tau members, call for the resignation of Scott Rhobde to the Dictatorship of Public Safety because he was not elected by a the student body. NO INSTALLATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION!

    Sincerely,

    The Lord Protector
    Founder of Delta Mu Tau and Sponsor of the Wesleyan Parliament

    • thetechbubble

      The solution to any world problem is to get rid of fraternities. Should clean up the Middle East, ISIS, etc. Obama must be thrilled Roth took care of this.

  • Serious Question

    What is happening to the students who lived there? Where are they going to live?

    • Move

      The University is moving them to other housing on campus.

      • Such a shitty situation

        I really hope they keep some of the guys together when they relocate their housing. As much as I believe maybe Beta had to go, those residents/students/brothers/peers just personally witnessed something awfully traumatic happen to one of their close friends. They shouldn’t be split up and lose their support system after such a terrible tragedy took an unbelievable toll on their lives.

        • i mean they can still go to usdan together..

  • FREEGUWOP

    this sucks.

  • karma

    FINALLY!

  • eva

    Don’t cry for me argentina

  • bummer

    bummer

  • damn

    noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo