8 more fraternity scandals that made national headlines

Family and friends of Armando Villa rally July 9, 2014, to call for an end to fraternity hazing at Cal State Northridge. Villa, a student at the school, died while on a hike with fraternity members, reportedly from excessive hazing.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The offenses are numerous and well documented: A Yale fraternity chants, “No means yes, yes means anal,” on campus. Partygoers at an Arizona fraternity dress as racial stereotypes to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A Michigan fraternity and sorority are suspended for trashing ski resort rooms to the tune of $230,000 in damages.

A video posted online Sunday that shows University of Oklahoma Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity brothers chanting a racist tune is only the latest instance of a Greek institution caught in a national scandal over rowdy, racist, sexist or illegal conduct.

Here are some of the recent cases that have made national headlines:


-- Three fraternities at Cal State Northridge have been suspended since the death last year of a 19-year-old student. Armando Villa became dehydrated July 1 during a mandatory hike while pledging for Pi Kappa Phi. That fraternity and two others have been shut down over allegations of hazing and sexual misconduct.

-- A northern Michigan ski resort has accused University of Michigan fraternity Sigma Alpha Mu and sorority Sigma Delta Tau of so thoroughly trashing rooms this year that cleanup costs totaled $230,000. The fraternity is no longer recognized as a campus organization, and the sorority has been placed on disciplinary suspension for two years. A criminal investigation is underway.

-- The Clemson University chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity was suspended in December after holding a “Cripmas party,” where white students dressed up as gang members. Campus administrators castigated the party, but many students said it reflected a deeply ingrained sense of racial hostility at the South Carolina school.

-- A Wesleyan University student filed a federal lawsuit against the Psi Upsilon fraternity and its Wesleyan chapter in May, alleging she was thrown over a couch in a common room and raped while others watched after she tried to leave a party in 2013. The student contends that the fraternity’s negligence allowed her to be assaulted.

-- Georgia Tech’s Phi Kappa Tau fraternity made headlines in 2013 after a fraternity-wide email that offered advice for “luring rapebait” at parties was leaked online. It was suspended in 2014 for three years because of several violations of the student code of conduct.

-- Arizona State University revoked fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon’s affiliation with the school in 2014 after it threw a Martin Luther King Jr.-themed party that mocked African Americans. Photos from the event showed mostly white attendees wearing baggy basketball jerseys and bandannas and drinking from watermelon cups along with hashtags such as #blackoutformlk, #ihaveadream and #mlkparty.

-- Another ASU fraternity had its status revoked in 2013 after a 20-year-old student with a blood alcohol level five times the legal limit was dumped at an emergency room. His Sigma Alpha Epsilon brothers left only a Post-it note with his name scribbled on it to identify him. In 2012, another student, 19-year-old rushee Jack Culolias, drowned in a river after drinking at an event thrown by the fraternity.

-- Delta Kappa Epsilon, the Yale fraternity that counts both Presidents Bushes as alumni, was banned from recruiting members or holding any events on the campus for five years in 2011. The fraternity’s offense: Pledges were required to chant sexually offensive remarks including, “No means yes, yes means anal,” while gathered on the university’s historic Old Campus quad. Here is a video of the incident from the Yale Daily News.

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