A task force will review Pennsylvania State University's Greek system in the wake of revelations that a fraternity shared online pictures of naked women while they were asleep or passed out, the school's president said Monday.
"This comprehensive examination of fraternity and sorority life and its culture will not be simple and it may not be comfortable," Eric Barron said.
His announcement came in a statement Monday evening but had been in the offing for days, after news of Kappa Delta Rho's private Facebook pages stirred up a growing chorus of calls for action.
The task force will include alumni, students, experts, trustees, and representatives from national organizations, and be led by the school's vice president for student affairs, David Sims.
The group will assess whether fraternities and sororities meet their core values, the state of sexual misconduct and alcohol abuse, race and diversity awareness, accountability for misconduct, what might improve the system, and whether the school and the Greek system's student, alumni and national branches are working in concert.
Greek life involves only a fraction of the more than 95,000 students enrolled at Penn State campuses statewide. About 6,500 students belong to 88 fraternities and sororities on the main campus in State College.
As he has since the scandal broke, Barron acknowledged that fraternity misconduct has become a problem across the country.
"For decades, fraternities and sororities have played an important role at Penn State, providing leadership, community service, and support to their members and the university," he said. "However, incidents of sexual misconduct, hazing, and alcohol abuse here and across the nation are all too common and demand immediate attention."
Penn State's announcement came on the same day that police in Virginia suspended their investigation into allegations of gang rape that were chronicled in Rolling Stone and have since come under scrutiny. Charlottesville police said they could not substantiate the claims.
Two weeks ago, members of a Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter in Oklahoma were caught chanting racist lyrics.
Kappa Delta Rho's chapter in State College was suspended last week by its national organization after a former fraternity member tipped police off to the invitation-only pages' existence in January.
The postings remain under police investigation. An affidavit on the case stated the subjects of the photos did not appear to be aware the pictures were being taken. The Facebook pages also included information on drug sales and hazing, according to police.
News of the pages mobilized about 100 students to rally Friday in support of the women in the pictures and to push the university to action.
One of the organizers of that event, Lauren Lewis, said Monday she was concerned the task force would lack teeth.
"A task force is also a way to keep the issue at bay before people move on to something else," said Lewis, a senior from Tyrone, Pa. "I think there's more that needs to be done."
Aaron Portner, a junior from Philadelphia and former president of another Penn State frat, Beta Sigma Beta, said fraternity brothers voiced "disgust and shame," but not disbelief, upon hearing of the Kappa Delta Rho allegations. He believed the task force was overkill.
"It's important to hold specific people accountable and not go on a misguided moral crusade" against Greek life, Portner said.
Barron said there would be no rush to judgment for Kappa Delta Rho. There have been calls for the expulsion or suspension of the chapter's members, he said, but a police investigation and review by the Office of Student Conduct are underway.
"I ask for your understanding as due process proceeds," he said.
In previous comments, the president said any task force would likely resemble a similar assembly gathered to review sexual misconduct on campus.
The report on sexual assault and misconduct from that task force spurred the university last month to announce sweeping changes, including requiring most employees to report allegations, changes in the campus' hearing process, and more training for employees.