Penn State University has shut down a fraternity chapter for what it calls “a persistent series of deeply troubling activities within the fraternity,” including hazing, underage drinking and drug use, and sexual harassment.
The university said Tuesday that Kappa Delta Rho has been suspended for three years, overriding Penn State’s Interfraternity Council, which called for a less severe punishment. Among numerous allegations, members have been accused of posting photos of nude women — who appear unconscious — on a private Facebook page.
“We base this decision on the sum of misbehavior exhibited by various members of Kappa Delta Rho,” Vice President of Student Affairs Damon Sims wrote in a letter to the council. “The sum of the organizational misbehavior is far more than the university can tolerate from a student organization that seeks its imprimatur,” he also said in the letter.
Earlier this year, a former fraternity member reported private Facebook pages, which contained photos showing women in “extremely compromising positions,” according to Sims. An investigation by the university revealed members allegedly had been posting embarrassing photos and using demeaning language to describe women, according to the Associated Press. They allegedly had been harassing two female students, “who were degraded through multiple postings,” Sims said.
In a document obtained by the Huffington Post, the council said Kappa Delta Rho members “were aware of the expectation that the new members publish, on a regular basis, a document titled ‘Stall Stories’ where active members and, in some instances, unaffiliated students were harassed and degraded in flyers left in public view throughout the chapter house.” In a statement released Tuesday, Sims also said pledges “were made to create stories using pornographic images and a ‘sex position of the day.'”
On Tuesday, Kappa Delta Rho’s national executive director, Joseph Rosenberg, said the university’s report did not find any member had committed sexual assault.
Members were also accused of hazing, including instances in which pledges were forced to run errands, clean the fraternity house, box each other or plank “with bottle caps on their elbows,” meaning they had to bear their body weight on their arms with bottle caps under their elbows, the university explained in a statement.
Alleged underage drinking, and using and selling drugs were also part of the reason for the university’s decision, Sims said in the statement.
“The investigative report makes clear that some members of the KDR chapter promoted a culture of harassing behavior and degradation of women,” Sims said in the statement. “These are not acceptable actions within a student organization that is recognized and supported by Penn State. We must respond accordingly, and we hope by doing so it is clearly understood that our university will not tolerate such actions.”
The university has declined to release its report to the public, according to the Associated Press.