Three fewer fraternities are recognized by Ohio State after being suspended late last semester for hazing, alcohol and other violations.
The university suspended its Sigma Pi and Zeta Beta Tau chapters through August 2023, and its Phi Delta Theta chapter through August 2024, according to conduct outcome letters sent to the organizations in November.
The suspensions essentially shut down the fraternities and their operations at Ohio State for several years.
The violations included hazing, alcohol, failure to comply with university or civil authorities, and endangering behavior, which Ohio State defines as “taking or threatening action that endangers the safety, physical or mental health, or life of any person, or creates a reasonable fear of such action.”
Two of the three fraternities were disciplined for similar violations in 2017, when Ohio State implemented a blanket suspension of all 37 of its fraternities governed by the Interfraternity Council because of a high number of investigations into their conduct.
Members of Phi Delta Theta were alleged to have made new members participate in “lineups,” requiring them to hold “stress positions” including wall sits and others described as “the rack,” and “the beetle,” according to university conduct documents. New members also had their university identifications, wallets and phones taken from them and were confined to the chapter house for days ahead of initiation, the documents said. And they were made to run errands, clean, and drive to bars for older members.
The chapter also continued holding events and meetings even after the university placed the group on an interim suspension in August.
The university revoked the Phi Delta Theta chapter’s status as a student organization through August 2024. The chapter had previously been placed on disciplinary probation in February 2018 through December 2018 for similar types of violations.
Brothers of Ohio State’s Sigma Pi chapter were also alleged to have made new members participate in physical activities such as holding “stress positions” including wall sits and push-ups, as consequences for missing quiz questions during new member meetings, university conduct documents said.
They also allegedly made alcohol available to new underage members and made new members run errands, conduct interviews with older members and serve as sober monitors, door security and bartenders at fraternity events.
Ohio State revoked the Sigma Pi chapter’s status as a student organization through August of 2023. The chapter had previously been placed on disciplinary probation in November of 2018 through May of 2019 for alcohol violations.
Ohio University expelled their chapter of the same Sigma Pi fraternity in April 2018 after the death of 18-year-old pledge Collin Wiant. The university found that chapter violated hazing, drug and alcohol consumption and other rules. In November, seven former fraternity members and two others were indicted in connection with Wiant’s death. The indictments came after The Dispatch published a six-part investigation called “Broken Pledge,” which detailed the hazing and death of the Dublin native.
Ohio State’s Zeta Beta Tau members were alleged to have hosted an Aug. 24th event in which alcohol was made available to underage students, university conduct documents said. At least one student became so intoxicated that he or she required attention from university staff and OSU police. On Aug. 27, the university delivered a directive to the fraternity to have no events with alcohol until further notice, but the chapter allegedly held another event with alcohol less than a month later, the records state.
The chapter had previously been placed on probation in November 2017 through May of 2019, but misconduct reports involving Zeta Beta Tau continued to roll in, university conduct documents said. After issuing the 2017 probation, the university received six reports of misbehavior, in addition to the recent August and September alcohol violations.
Conduct documents said Zeta Beta Tau offered no information to suggest it was willing to initiate a culture change.
“In short, the chapter had all of the information, education and motivation to follow risk management policies and university procedures,” the documents said. “What it lacked was the desire to do so.”
The national parent organizations of the three fraternities did not immediately comment Friday.
The chapters lose all rights and privileges of a student organization. Of the three fraternities, Phi Delta Theta was the only one to be approved as a second-year housing option for its members. The university worked with about 20 sophomore members to relocate them to campus housing following the fraternity’s suspension in accordance with Ohio State’s second-year campus living requirement, Ohio State spokesman Dave Isaacs said. The other two organizations had chapter houses that were independently owned and did not house sophomores.
Each of the three chapters can petition to return to campus following their suspensions, Isaacs said in a written statement.
“The chapters will also be required to take steps to demonstrate that they each operate in a manner consistent with the Code of Student Conduct, Sorority and Fraternity Life policies, student organization guidelines, other relevant university policies and all state and federal laws.”