Zeta Beta Tau Cornell University Suspended
Zeta Beta Tau Cornell house. Photo: Facebook/ZBT

Updated September 5, 2018: Back in February, Cornell's Kappa Chapter of Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT), was put on two years probation for partaking in a "pig roast" (i.e. sex contest) alleged in misconduct reports from 2017. Their national organization, ZBT National, conducted an external review — as they previously confirmed to Metro.

 

Cornell’s Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life conducted an investigation as well, which was passed to the Fraternity and Sorority Review Board. In an updated statement released by the university, it said that the Review Board, "considered all the evidence presented, including two non-anonymous reports, and concluded it was 'more likely than not' that the allegation — someone associated with the chapter encouraging new members to participate in the contest — occurred. However, the Review Board did not have evidence and therefore did not find that any individual associated with the chapter had in fact acted on such encouragement or that the contest had actually occurred."

 

ZBT National released the following statement:

 

After becoming aware of an alleged incident involving our Kappa Chapter at Cornell University in fall 2017, Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity immediately opened our own investigation and hired an independent, third-party investigator to look into the matter. While the University held the chapter responsible and imposed sanctions, it became evident that the University’s decision was based upon incomplete information. When we discussed this with Cornell administrators in the spring, they reviewed their findings and our third-party report and concluded that their initial statement misrepresented the findings. The University did not find any evidence that the alleged "contest" had occurred and issued a revised statement on its website.

 

While Zeta Beta Tau was pleased that the University did not find evidence that the alleged "contest" occurred, the Fraternity takes all allegations of misconduct very seriously and has a number of programs designed to educate our members on this important topic. We will continue to enhance our efforts in helping our men understand the essentials of a healthy relationship while never tolerating the mistreatment of any brother or guest within our chapters.

When asked if the two-year "probationary recognition" still stands, ZBT National told Metro, "Cornell University didn’t revisit the sanctioning process."

Originally Published February 7, 2018: Cornell's Kappa Chapter of Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT), the world's first "inclusive Jewish organization," was put on two years probation for partaking in a "pig roast." No, not for cooking a boar on a spit — for participating in a sex contest that rewarded new members for sleeping with the heaviest women on campus.

The "roast" was uncovered after Cornell’s Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life (OSFL) investigated misconduct reports from 2017. The investigation concluded in January of this year and revealed that new members of ZBT "could accumulate 'points' by engaging in sexual intercourse with women," reads a report released by the school.

"In the event of a tie, additional points were awarded to the new member who had had sex with a woman who had weighed the most," the report continues, adding that members "were told not to inform the women of the contest."

In addition to their two-year "probationary recognition," the chapter will be required to participate in Cornell’s Sexual Assault Awareness Week, hold monthly meetings with the OSFL and conduct a "full chapter brotherhood review." Their national organization will also be required to conduct an external review. You can read the full report here.

ZBT National told Metro in a statement that they "simply will not tolerate the objectification or degradation of any human being," and in their review, should they find that members "are not on board with our focus on heathy relationships, they will be removed from the Fraternity."

Cornell's Interfraternity Council (IFC) President Paul Russell told The Cornell Daily Sun, "We think the IFC and the Office of Sorority and Fraternity life are uniquely poised to respond to this type of activity because we can and have mandated that the chapter now participate in programming to educate their members about sexual misconduct and help them to foster a healthy culture."

When asked to comment on the probation and "pig roast," Cornell’s Kappa Chapter of ZBT directed Metro to a statement both issued to The Daily Sun and posted on Facebook last week.

"In response to the allegations detailed yesterday in the Cornell Daily Sun, the brothers of the Kappa Chapter of Zeta Beta Tau would like to first and foremost express our mutual disgust along with those who feel hurt or victimized," the statement begins. "Your feelings are legitimate and appropriate reactions to something of this nature. The Kappa Chapter of Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity is horrified at the notion of the degradation and/or objectification of women, and the impact it has had on men and women across the United States, and at Cornell."

It continues on to state that the "pig roast" wasn’t one of the "chapter sanctioned activities nor ones that brothers were aware of" until December. It expresses their compliance with the requirements detailed by Cornell’s Fraternity and Sorority Review Board and indicates that a "full membership review" will be conducted, which may result in the expulsion of ZBT Brothers.

IFC Executive Vice President Luke Bianco told Metro, "The members of this institution, both those who participated in this practice and those who simply stood by and did nothing, are widely recognized as problematic," stating that the IFC recognizes "the advantage in maintaining their [ZBT] chapter in order to efficiently manage the distribution of training with regards to sexual violence prevention." Bianco clarified that getting this chapter-wide education wouldn't be required had ZBT been removed from campus.

"We cannot be lulled into believing that this particular incident is the only example of sexism in fraternity life. The physical, mental, and emotional safety of our Greek and non-Greek student body must be prioritized, and we will continue to rely on our campus partners to ensure safety concerns are met," Bianco concluded. "It's on us to improve our culture. ... We cannot and will not shy away from this responsibility."