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Beta faces hearing today, hazing allegations loom

By Emily Crane
On February 21, 2014

The university administration is holding a hearing for the Beta Theta Pi (Beta) fraternity 12:30 p.m. Friday in Warfield Hall to investigate allegations of hazing. Though the fraternity faces allegations from both the university and the fraternity's own administrative office, no official charges have been filed by either party, senior fraternity member Winston Reid said.

"We are under investigation by Miami University but mostly by our own administrative office," Reid said.

In the face of these allegations, the chapter's disciplinary committee has begun a rigorous self-governing process, conducting a series of trials by chapter to consider expelling members from the fraternity, sophomore and disciplinary committee member Raphael Gobidas said.

"We are working to remove individuals from the fraternity and impose sanctions on ourselves," Reid said. "Security cameras are being installed in the house-they were installed yesterday-using our own money ... we just want to make sure everything is in order."

Gobidas said the disciplinary committee had already been in the process of reorganizing and restructuring the fraternity before the allegations arose.

In a trial by chapter, quorum must be reached in order for a member to be expelled from the fraternity. Though the chapter has held such trials in recent weeks, they never reached quorum and could not put the issue to a vote, Gobidas said. Reid later denied this, saying quorum had in fact been reached, however they did not get enough votes to remove the individuals on trial.

"In the Greek system, the executive board governs the chapter," Gobidas said. "When you can't prove that you're capable of self-governance, the university and the organization will get involved. It began to seem like we were incapable of self-governing so the university and organization jumped on our backs."

Reid said there would be a strong presence of fraternity members in the Warfield lobby during the hearing Friday to show their support.

"We are very passionate about this, as the alpha chapter [of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity], this is a big deal," Reid said.

He went on to emphasize that despite these allegations and what may come of them, Beta has produced men of excellence over the years.

"Beta is dedicated to building men of principle," Reid said. "During the pledging process, we pride ourselves on building men up; not tearing them down. We've had the highest GPA of all the Greek fraternities. We've been top in philanthropy, we've placed in the top in Greek Week for the past five years. Two of the last four student body presidents have been Betas. One of the two student trustees last year was a Beta."

Additionally, Reid wished to emphasize that this former student trustee, Lot Kwarteng, is now a senior and remains a member of Beta today.

President of the Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC) Samuel Crockett said the IFC would not be present at the university hearing Friday but they would follow up on the conclusions the university might make.

"The Inter-Fraternity Council has a strict, zero-tolerance policy on hazing," Crockett said in an official statement. "We approach these issues as serious offenses, and are making strides to eliminate hazing on our campus."

Director of University Communications Claire Wagner declined to comment on the hearing until after it takes place. Beta President Nate Calendar also declined to comment on the issue.


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