Fraternities taking heat for cases of bad behavior
Racist chants. Nude photos of unconscious women. A criminal investigation into hazing. Fraternities around the country seem to be coming under fire as never before over behavior that would shock the frat boys of Animal House.
Racist chants. Nude photos of unconscious women. A criminal investigation into hazing. Fraternities around the country seem to be coming under fire as never before over behavior that would shock the frat boys of
Despite a major national push to reduce drinking and sexual assault on campus and increase diversity, some fraternity chapters have failed to clean up their act. Universities - and the fraternities' national offices - are quickly punishing the offenders amid yet more promises of reform.
Some critics blame popular culture, saying it is making fraternities essentially ungovernable.
"There's this underlying acceptance that boys will be boys, this is fraternity life, and this is what you have to accept when you walk through the doors of a fraternity," Ellen Kramer, legal director of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said Wednesday.
Defenders of fraternities say that the organizations do a lot of good work on campus and that the focus on fraternity misconduct is misguided.
Bad behavior inside the walls of a frat house - or on campus generally - is nothing new, of course. Alcohol, immaturity, and freedom from parents have been a potentially troublesome combination for generations of undergrads.
But the incidents at the University of Oklahoma and Penn State, in particular, have stunned many and happened despite heavy scrutiny of misconduct at colleges.
At Penn State, police are investigating allegations that members of Kappa Delta Rho used a private, invitation-only Facebook page to post photos of nude and partly nude women, some apparently asleep or passed out. A former member told police the page was used to share photos of "unsuspecting victims, drug sales and hazing," according to court documents.
The Facebook posts were "very sad and very offensive," Penn State president Eric Barron said Wednesday, adding that students could be expelled.
The page came to light Monday night, nearly a week after a University of Oklahoma fraternity was shut down when members were caught on video singing a racist song. The school expelled two students identified as ringleaders. Sigma Alpha Epsilon disbanded its OU chapter and announced Wednesday that it will require all its members nationwide to go through diversity training.