The contestants — all pledges of Cornell’s Zeta Beta Tau fraternity — called their secret, fat-shaming sex game the “pig roast.”
The rules were simple: Would-be brothers allegedly earned points for having sex with overweight women. If there was a tie at the end, the victory went to whoever had slept with the heaviest woman. New members were told not to inform the women about the contest, according to a university report.
In 2017, the university’s Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life, which regulates fraternities and sororities, received reports about the alleged game, sparking an investigation by the university’s fraternity and sorority board that recently concluded.
The fraternity chapter has been put on a two-year probation, and the Ivy League university and the fraternity’s national office denounced the game, the latest example of a Greek organization behaving badly.
The board said the chapter violated university rules about Greek organizations that prohibits “sexually abusive behavior on the part of its members.”
It was unclear how long the contest had been going on or how many people participated.
In a lengthy statement on Facebook announcing the probation, the Cornell chapter of the fraternity said interactions connected to the game “were neither chapter sanctioned activities nor ones that brothers were aware of.”
“We, too, are in disbelief and even more so that these alleged actions may have been taken by those whom we called brothers,” the statement said.
Ryan Lombardi, Cornell’s vice president for student and campus life, called the game “abhorrent,” according to the Daily Sun, Cornell’s student newspaper.
“Behavior that degrades and dehumanizes women contributes to a climate and culture of tolerance for sexual violence,” he said.
The statement outlined corrective measures: The chapter will conduct a “full membership review,” expelling members as necessary. Fraternity brothers will also have to attend “multiple educational programs on the topics of healthy relationships.” Those programs will also be offered to the campus community at large. The fraternity is also getting a live-in adviser.
Zeta Beta Tau joins a growing list of fraternities that have been embarrassed and disciplined after horrific — and at times illegal — behavior.
In October, authorities arrested eight Louisiana State University students and two others on hazing charges related to the death of Maxwell Gruver, a freshman who died after a gathering at a school fraternity, The Washington Post’s Eli Rosenberg reported.
Gruver and other pledges were quizzed on fraternity history and told to drink if they answered incorrectly.
In December, members of the New Brunswick chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity at Rutgers University were accused of drugging members of a sorority with Xanax-spiked punch, according to NJ.com and the Daily Targum, Rutgers’s student newspaper. University officials and police investigators found no evidence to support the accusations, although the fraternity was suspended for other “policy violations.”
And last month, a judge held Baruch College’s Pi Delta Psi fraternity directly responsible for the 2013 death of freshman Chun “Michael” Deng, a killing that drew national attention.
Cornell’s Greek organizations have also run into trouble recently.
In September, fraternity Psi Upsilon shut down its Cornell chapter after an alleged assault that authorities said was being investigated as a possible hate crime.
The same month, a fraternity member was accused of chanting “build the wall” near the Latino Living Center.
The incident happened shortly after the Trump administration announced it would phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children, the Daily Sun reported.