Beta Theta Pi suspended until 2022 for hazing violations

Investigations by the university and national fraternity staff found evidence of hazing, leading the Beta Theta Pi headquarters to immediately suspend the Alpha Rho chapter


Members of Beta pose outside of their Red Square home last week. Residents moved out of the house this past weekend. Photo courtesy of Alpha Rho chapter of Beta Theta Pi

Maya Lora, News

As one fraternity prepares to return to campus after a three-year suspension following hazing allegations, another was suspended last week after similar accusations surfaced.

The International Beta Theta Pi General Fraternity suspended Washington and Lee University’s chapter of the fraternity on Feb. 28 after conducting an independent investigation into hazing allegations.

The Alpha Rho chapter will not be eligible to seek approval to return to campus until 2022.

In its announcement of the immediately effective suspension, Beta Theta Pi provided the following as its reasoning:

“Following multiple investigations conducted in cooperation with Washington and Lee—each met by resistance and a lack of transparency from the chapter—the Fraternity has substantiated these allegations (complaints of hazing), discovering a systemic culture of hazing that includes physical intimidation, acts of servitude and the compelled consumption of concoctions intended to cause nausea,” the fraternity said in a statement posted on their website.

The university also concluded in its investigation that there was evidence of hazing.

Washington and Lee’s Interfraternity Council subsequently decided to impose sanctions. But national fraternity leaders stated they saw no evidence that the council’s sanctions would lead to long-term change and instead decided to suspend the chapter.

Both the university and Beta Theta Pi nationals stated that hazing runs contrary to each organization’s values.

The suspension affects 78 members and pledges. Pledges will be eligible to join other fraternities.

The Phi has yet to receive comment from IFC President Eduardo Corona Gonzalez, ‘19, and Alpha Rho President Chris Vlahoplus, ‘19.

In an email to the student body, Dean of Students Sidney Evans stated that the 24 students living in the Beta house were going to be moved to alternative on-campus housing. The university is also going to help affected students find dining options.

Beta is not the only fraternity on campus to recently face suspension in the wake of hazing allegations.

The university’s Phi Kappa Psi chapter received a three-year suspension in March 2015 but was reinstated by the Student Activities Committee last October. The fraternity, which operated as a social organization called the Phi Society, will return to campus on March 11.

Nationally, Beta Theta Pi came under fire after the death of a pledge at Pennsylvania State University last February. The university shut down the chapter last March, after 19-year-old Timothy Piazza died from injuries he suffered after consuming a large amount of alcohol as a Beta pledge.

At least 26 members of the fraternity at Penn State faced charges, including involuntary manslaughter, in what is considered to be one of the largest hazing prosecutions in history.