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Druggings, alcohol abuse, endangering behavior: Documents reveal culture at disciplined Ohio State fraternities

The Ohio State chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon is suspended until December 2020. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

Among the new details about Ohio State’s investigations into misconduct at fraternities that were released Friday is a university finding that Tau Kappa Epsilon failed to take action into long-standing rumors that its members drugged women at parties.

TKE, which is suspended until December 2020 as a result of the investigation, allowed “conditions that create an environment ripe for druggings to occur to remain in place” by not responding to the date-rape drug allegations, documents show.

That finding was among several Student Code of Conduct investigations on six fraternities, including documented violations involving: TKE, Beta Theta Pi, Kappa Sigma, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Phi Delta Theta and Delta Chi.

Of the violations handed out, TKE’s were the most alarming, citing a date rape culture of more than two years. This helped ignite a university investigation in 2015 that spanned through the chapter’s intermediate demise in 2017.

TKE is the only fraternity of the six investigated that is accused of giving date rape drugs to women.

The investigation also found TKE violated the university’s alcohol and hazing policies, as well as engaging in “endangering behavior.”

The new details about fraternity misconduct were released Friday, months after The Lantern filed a request to obtain the records.

In November, Ohio State issued an indefinite, blanket suspension of all 37 Interfraternity Council Chapters after 11 individual chapters were under student conduct investigations during Autumn Semester. University President Michael Drake in February called the sweeping decision, which followed a nationwide crackdown on Greek life, a pause before we had a tragedy.”

Beginning in December, chapters began applying for reinstatement after submitting action plans that needed university approval.

Ohio State’s investigation into TKE began when a university-affiliated woman sent an email to a redacted recipient at Ohio State stating she attended a TKE party and lost all memory and recollection of the night within one hour of consuming her first drink. It is unclear on what date the email was sent due to the significant redactions made.

The email ended up on Assistant Director for Student Conduct Jeffrey Majarian’s desk Jan. 31, 2017, and sparked an investigation into the fraternity.

“I have suspicion to believe that I was given a drink containing a date rape drug at one of our on campus fraternity’s party,” the email states.

In the email, the female said she was let into a TKE party by the doorman and was given a red solo cup full of liquor and a mixer, which was made for her at a makeshift bar in the house by one of the fraternity members.

“After finishing my drink I remember dancing and socializing with my friends and those around me,” the email states. “My memory quickly fades approximately 15 minutes after finishing my drink.”

“I hear remarks that Tau Kappa Epsilon has built a reputation involving the use of date rape drugs against females,” the email states near the end. “I’m at a loss for words that I’m hearing this. How can this be acceptable behavior in any way?”

Another female who is a friend of the woman who sent the email had a similar experience at the TKE fraternity house that night, but the details were mostly redacted in the records.

Over a two-year period filled with complaints, the records show the fraternity consistently did not follow university policies or basic risk-management procedures, leading to multiple individuals reporting to have suffered physical or mental harm.

One individual said she feared for her “health and safety after observing an individual place an unknown substance directly into her beverage,” the report states.

The TKE fraternity chapter at Ohio State is suspended from campus until December 2020, said Dave Isaacs, a university spokesman for the Office of Student Life.

The suspension is the chapter’s second from Ohio State, the first coming in 2001 that sent the fraternity off campus for one year. The suspension in 2001 was for similar patterns of misconduct. A news release announcing the suspension at the time said the chapter was found to have participated in hazing activities and “other recent poor behavior.”

TKE can petition for re-colonization in the spring of 2021.

Beta Theta Pi

The Ohio State Beta Theta Pi house. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

A resident at an Ohio State dorm said she felt dizzy and lost memory of her day after drinking less than one cup filled of champagne at a Beta Theta Pi block party in the fall.

That and another incident, which led to the arrest of one woman after she reported she grew extremely intoxicated at an event put on by Beta Theta Pi, commonly known as Beta, led to an investigation issued to the fraternity Nov. 30.

It was charged with violations related to alcohol use and endangering behavior.

Beta appealed the violation, stating the disciplinary sanction was disproportionate to violations committed. “The charges were handed down to us not because we did not have a BYOB system, but because our system was incomplete due to the fact that it did not include a monitoring system for guests and members,” the appeal stated.

“Banning events with alcohol until September and placing us on probation through fall semester of 2019 does not give us an opportunity to showcase our new BYOB system.”

Doug Koyle, the assistant vice president for student life who formalizes any IFC disciplinary sanctions, rejected the appeal.

As part of the investigation, Beta had its probation extended through Dec. 16, 2019. It had previously been on probation through May.

Beta was found to have violated the two codes of student conduct and was notified of the decision Jan. 25. Beta was told it could have no more than five third-party vendor social events between Oct. 13 and Dec. 16 of the upcoming Autumn Semester.

Additionally, it can not host social events with alcohol present until Sept. 8.

Kappa Sigma

Kappa Sigma’s house on Indianola Avenue. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

Kappa Sigma is accused of hosting events where alcohol was not appropriately managed.

Men in the fraternity, according to documents, would put their own money together to buy alcohol for social events and serve drinks at a disproportionate frequency of drinks delivered to the crowd of guests. The documents state the fraternity had an average ratio of one person to eight beers, though it is unknown how exactly that number was determined.

Additionally, Kappa Sigma would assign two to three younger members to man the bar. These members were under 21 years old.

Kappa Sigma was issued a cease-and-desist letter on Nov. 10. The fraternity appealed the accused actions, stating the disciplinary action was “grossly disproportionate to the violation(s) committed.”

Koyle did not find the punishment to be disproportionate, though he modified the fraternity’s date at which it could host social events from April 21 to April 14.

Kappa Sigma formally accepted responsibility for alcohol violations on Feb. 15. No specific individuals are on record to have suffered from harm due to the alcohol activity in which the fraternity was punished.

The fraternity agreed to stricter risk management practices such as a BYOB policy and paid security to properly identify anyone at the event as 21 years or older.

Similar to Beta Theta Pi, Kappa Sigma has a strict schedule for the amount of guests at social events. Until Sept. 8, the fraternity must keep a 1-to-1 ratio of members and nonmembers at social events.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon

The Ohio Theta Chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at Ohio State located on Indianola Ave. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

Sigma Alpha Epsilon, commonly known as SAE, was issued a cease-and-desist in early September. On Dec. 8, the Office of Student Life charged SAE with four violations: endangering behavior; alcohol use; failure to comply with the university; and disorderly or disruptive conduct.

While it was under cease-and-desist, the fraternity hosted a social event in which it failed to properly identify guests’ ages; implement a system of alcohol distribution control; and purchased alcohol by using its members’ dues as well as charging guests to attend the event, according to the documents.

The event resulted in two noise complaints and SAE failed to comply with law enforcement when the complaint was received.

The fraternity accepted responsibility for all four counts of conduct violation, and SAE had its disciplinary probation extended through Autumn Semester 2019. It had previously been through December 2018. Until then, it will be under a “heightened state of warning that does not otherwise control or direct” the chapter’s functioning, according to report documents.

Delta Chi

Delta Chi was found to violate the university’s alcohol policy while also engaging in “endangering behavior.” The infractions specifically stem from incidents on Oct. 28, in which the fraternity failed to implement sufficient BYOB procedures; failed to mark the hands of guests who were under 21; and provided beer and Four Lokos to guests.

Two individuals who consumed alcohol at the Oct. 28 event would later be transported to the hospital, documents stated, after a resident adviser at a campus dorm responded to a message about people who were intoxicated in a hallway.

On Nov. 16, Delta Chi was informed of the possible conduct violations. It was found in violation of those policies on Jan. 23, and the fraternity accepted responsibility for the violations on Jan. 30.

It appealed its sanctions on Feb. 22, arguing they were “grossly disproportionate,” but its appeal was denied by Ohio State on March 9.

Delta Chi’s sanctions include disciplinary probation until Dec. 16; undergoing a risk management analysis that results in the chapter putting together a two-year action plan; strict adherence to BYOB policy; providing paid security at any social event in which alcohol is present; and providing documentation that shows how the chapter is following policy, such as by maintaining guest lists.

The chapter also received a ban on having alcohol present at any social event until Sept. 8, at which point a “progressive return of social privileges” begins.

Phi Delta Theta

On Oct. 13, Phi Delta Theta, commonly known as Phi Delt, was notified of a student conduct investigation regarding the fraternity’s alcohol use and endangering behavior. It was found, on Feb. 14, that the fraternity did not conduct endangering behavior, however Phi Delta did accept responsibility for improper alcohol use.

The fraternity is under disciplinary probation until Dec. 15.

According to the IFC website, Kappa Sigma and SAE are not able to participate in social events. Phi Delta, Delta Chi and Beta are approved for social events. TKE is suspended until 2021.

Full investigative documents can be viewed at the links below.

Correction 4/28: The article originally listed Delta Sigma as one of the six fraternities included in the investigations. The correct fraternity that was investigated for Student Code of Conduct violations is Delta Chi.

7 comments

  1. Scott Dybiec here, OSU Class of 1990. We’ve known the causes of this from research done on fraternity culture. Here’s one from 1989:

    “..the social construction of fraternity brotherhood reveals the highly masculinist features of fraternity structure and process, including concern with a narrow, stereotypical conception of masculinity and heterosexuality; a preoccupation with loyalty, protection of the group, and secrecy; the use of alcohol as a weapon against women’s sexual reluctance; the pervasiveness of violence and physical force; and an obsession with competition, superiority, and dominance. Interfraternity rivalry and competition-particularly over members, intramural sports, and women-encourage fraternity men’s commodification of women. We conclude that fraternities will continue to violate women socially and sexually unless they change in fundamental ways. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/249667825_Fraternities_and_Rape_on_Campus

    How many women were drugged and raped, how many pledges hazed and hospitalized, and how many lives wrecked, because the college and university administrations across the country, including those at OSU, have dragged their feet on implementing common sense recommendations from these studies?

    • Barry McCockinner

      ok fag boy

    • Scott… Can we add to the official research the fact that every single person who has ever had any personal experience with frat culture has monumental evidence to back up what those reports conclude? OK, so mabye there are frats out there whose sole purpose is to exist for the good of the community, frats that consist of men who aspire to be positive role-models, etc. But no one’s ever actually found one. Greg (Class of 90)

  2. Abolish all fraternities. Force them to exist, and be policed, the same as all student groups. No special treatment or privileges

  3. There was a dude pulling night burglaries near campus. He was only after money laying around, maybe some drugs, booze, and steaks in the freezer.
    He said he would do someone who was all passed out drunk. Women and dudes reported this guy. They eventually caught him and he got sent to a mental hospital for close to a year over all that.

  4. Spotter of trends

    I am seeing a trend in fraternities suspended by the university. Of all fraternities suspended by the university- how many are owned by alumni or housing corporations? How many are living in university housing or have lease agreements with the university?

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