June 27, 2013

Four Greek chapters sanctioned; two others closed

The university has announced the results of recent reviews of four Greek chapters at Cornell following hazing incidents, and action has been taken including suspension.

The review and sanctions of the chapters – Phi Kappa Psi, Chi Psi, Sigma Nu and Delta Phi – stemmed from incidents during the spring semester, with different actions based upon the severity and number of incidents each chapter was involved in.

Also, after separate outside reviews and closer scrutiny by their national organizations and alumni, the Cornell chapters of Alpha Tau Omega and Zeta Beta Tau are being closed.

  • After a hearing May 8, the University Fraternity and Sorority Review Board found Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, a university-owned house, responsible for failing to comply with the university’s recognition policy as it applies to hazing, its deadline for initiation and the conditions of interim suspension. The fraternity’s New York Alpha Chapter was placed on provisional recognition status for a period of at least one year.
  • The University Review Board placed the Alpha Psi Chapter of Chi Psi fraternity, a privately owned house, on provisional recognition status for a period of no less than four years for violating the University Recognition Policy as it applies to hazing, following a hearing April 26.

As a condition of recognition, each chapter will employ the services of a live-in adviser and will work with the university and its national organization and alumni to identify activities and a new member orientation timeline that comply with applicable policies and expectations. In addition, Chi Psi will restructure its organizational leadership and practices and educate all members on hazing and the policies in place. Each chapter’s progress and compliance will be assessed and their recognition status determined by the review board in one year.

  • In separate hearings in April, the Greek Judicial Board (comprising peer members of Cornell’s Greek community) found the Gamma Theta Chapter of Sigma Nu fraternity and the Pi Chapter of Delta Phi fraternity (aka Llenroc) responsible for violating university policy against hazing.

Sigma Nu received an official disciplinary warning and is required to host a hazing awareness program for members this fall. The next new member class also is required to attend a hazing awareness session.

The board placed the Delta Phi chapter on disciplinary probation for one year, required the chapter to host a hazing awareness program for members this fall, and revoked one day of formal recruitment in January 2014.

“In all of these cases the partnership with the alumni and the national organizations proved to be very effective in our response and in planning for the future of these four chapters in particular,” said Travis Apgar, associate dean of students for fraternity and sorority affairs. “These were all appropriate actions taken based upon the circumstance. We saw an increase of reports this year, from students in particular.”

Apgar also credited “the self-governing judicial body’s commitment, and the university’s commitment, to put an end to hazing.”

  • The National Fraternity of Alpha Tau Omega revoked the Beta Theta chapter’s charter June 10. The national fraternity described the chapter as having “been in decline for several semesters,” and a visiting national consultant recently learned that the chapter had violated risk management policies applying to alcohol and other drugs, and had failed to follow other national fraternity policies and expectations. The alumni hope to rent the property to graduate students until the chapter is able to return.
  • Zeta Beta Tau’s headquarters and local advisory board decided to close its Cornell chapter after a membership review determined an inability to comply with university and ZBT expectations. The Kappa chapter of ZBT will reorganize and is making plans to resume operations in the 2014-15 academic year with new members. The property will either be left vacant or rented in the interim.

Both actions “demonstrate a proactive position the national organizations and alumni are taking to address risk management or other issues within a chapter,” Apgar said.