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Doors close on Beta Theta Pi until at least 2014

Katie Higgins / Lantern photographer

After confirmed incidents of hazing and a “long laundry lists of things,” the Theta Delta Chapter of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity at Ohio State has been closed and can’t return to campus before January 2014.

The national headquarters of Beta Theta Pi announced in a letter on April 15 that the Theta Delta Chapter of the fraternity, founded in Columbus in 1885, “sustained a culture that was incongruent with university and Beta Theta Pi values,” while violating conduct standards and policies of OSU and Beta Theta Pi as a general organization.

According to the letter, the national level of Beta Theta Pi and OSU believe closure is the appropriate action after a recent hazing allegation, a lack of transparency during the subsequent investigation and an “on-again, off-again cycle of unacceptable behavior.”

Martin Cobb, director of communications at the administrative offices of Beta Theta Pi, said the investigation was sparked by a hazing allegation, but the closure was based upon “larger cultural issues” with the OSU chapter.

“It’s not worth going into all the details at the end of the day. We’re standing by our values and the expectations the university has of us,” Cobb said. “We have not had the type of chapter that Beta should have on the campus.”

In a letter to fraternity members, parents and friends of the fraternity, David Schmidt, General Secretary of Beta Theta Pi, said a pattern of unacceptable behavior led to the closure of the chapter.

“As a result of the chapter’s actions spanning a period of several years, including a pattern of unacceptable behavior and a lack of transparency and forthrightness during the investigation process,” Schmidt said in the letter, “the Fraternity’s Board of Trustees concluded that … closure of the (chapter) was the appropriate course of action.”

Dave Isaacs, Student Life communications manager, said OSU is in agreement with Beta Theta Pi nationals in that the violations made by members of the Theta Delta Chapter warrant closure of the organization.

“Both (the) Beta Theta Pi General Fraternity and Ohio State realize that the student code of conduct was violated,” Isaacs said. “This final incident confirmed by Beta Theta Pi General Fraternity did involve hazing.”

Clark Siddle, president of the OSU Interfraternity Council, said the exact reasons for the chapter’s closure remain unidentified, but that more than one violation contributed to the final decision.

“It’s a long laundry list of things,” Siddle said. “They probably could have recovered, but they just don’t care.”

The president of Beta Theta Pi at OSU had not responded to multiple phone calls as of Monday evening.

There are 2,466 initiated alumni, 45 undergraduate and 18 pledge members in the Theta Delta Chapter at OSU. Members in the fraternity have been placed on “alumni” status, according to the letter, and upon graduation will be entitled to the rights and privileges of Beta Theta Pi alumni.

Cobb said the members of Beta Theta Pi living in the fraternity house at 165 E. 15th Ave. will be permitted to remain in the house until the end of the academic year.

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