Fraternity loses alcohol rights as result of party

by Mike Wereschagin

As a result of a party at Zeta Psi fraternity Sept. 29, at which a University freshman was allegedly raped, the fraternity’s Alumni Board banned alcohol from the chapter house premises Monday.
Though Zeta Psi is now dry, fraternity members might still find themselves in some hot water.
The University’s Interfraternity Council, the body of oversight for fraternities, is holding a closed hearing tonight to address charges that the party in question violated IFC guidelines.
The IFC could require fraternity members to take alcohol-awareness seminars, issue fines up to $700 and suspend Zeta Psi from the council.
“We’re not looking at the rape issue,” said John Schmidt, head of the IFC’s judicial panel.
The IFC cannot hold Zeta Psi accountable for the sexual assault because the alleged rapist is not a fraternity member.
“But it looks like they had serious risk-management violations,” Schmidt said. “It is because of those violations that this incident happened. It is damaging to the entire greek community’s reputation.”
Risk-management policies are guidelines set up by the national or international headquarters of fraternities to deal with everything from alcohol to firearms to hazing in chapter houses or chapter-sponsored events.
The Sept. 29 party might have violated three or more of Zeta Psi’s risk-management policies. One in particular, which prohibits parties being open to the public, would have kept the alleged rapist out.
There are also concerns that minors, including the reported sexual assault victim, were served large amounts of alcohol.
Schmidt said this incident is the worst reported to the IFC in the last four or five years.
“But that’s just out of what was reported to us,” he added. “Just because something wasn’t reported doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”
John Stacy, Zeta Psi’s alumni president, spearheaded the effort to make the fraternity house dry to prevent future parties from getting out of hand.
“This is the best policy as far as I’m concerned,” Stacy said. “I’m glad we did it. They can still have parties but there will be no alcohol.”
Another contributing factor to the incidents at the Sept. 29 party was that it was open to the public, Stacy said.
“I think having parties open to the public is a bad idea,” he said. “It seems like everybody else is doing it but that doesn’t mean we should.”
The IFC also prohibits open parties at fraternities when alcohol is present.
Richard Breeswine, executive director of Zeta Psi’s international headquarters, was hesitant to criticize the chapter because he had not heard back from the insurance investigators assigned to the incident.
“It is unfortunate that this incident happened in the chapter house,” Breeswine said. “As far as who is responsible, I think that is a question best left for the investigators.
“What surprises me is that the IFC believes they can hold a hearing at this point. I would like to talk to someone at the IFC who believes they have all the facts.”
Breeswine said the international headquarters’ role at this point is to make sure the chapter is prepared for the hearing.
University Zeta Psi members did not return phone calls Wednesday.

Mike Wereschagin welcomes comments at [email protected]