Penn State Shuts down Fraternity behind Nude Facebook Photos of Undressed Women

( [email protected] ) May 27, 2015 06:07 PM EDT
Penn State University
Protestors stand in silence against the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity, in front of Penn State University's Old Main building, in University Park, Pa., Monday, March 23, 2015. Photo: AP

Kappa Delta Rho, a fraternity responsible for posting humiliating photos of women in various stages of undress on Facebook, has been shut down by Penn State University on Tuesday. The punishment is scheduled to last three years.

According to Bill Schackner of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Penn State overturned an earlier ruling by the Interfraternity Council, or IFC, which decided not to pull the fraternity's recognition as a student organization. Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers stated that the university's decision would shut down Kappa Delta Rho.

"They cannot participate in any activities as a group, such as [Penn State's Dance Marathon], intramurals or homecoming," Powers said. "They can't take part in anything under the KDR name; they cannot wear their Greek letters. They cannot mix and mingle with other fraternities or sororities."

The university added through a statement that its actions were based on "a persistent series of deeply troubling activities." Damon Sims, vice president for student affairs, sent a letter to the IFC explaining Penn State's decision.

"We base this decision on the sum of misbehaviors exhibited by various members of Kappa Delta Rho. Not every member of the chapter was equally culpable for violation of the university's expectations for recognized student organizations," Sims wrote. "Even so, the sum of the organizational misbehaviors is far more than the university can tolerate from a student organization that seeks its imprimatur."

Schackner reported that the university's statement cited incidents of hazing, drug use and sale, underage drinking, harassment of two women and "photographing individuals in extremely compromising positions and posting these photos" as factors behind the decision to close down the fraternity.

"[KDR members] had over the course of time engaged in sexual harassment and misconduct [and] hazing activities," Penn State said about what it found during its investigation.

Sims elaborated on the reasoning behind the university's decision to shut down the fraternity in question.

"The University's educational purposes and its responsibilities compel a stronger response than you have recommended," Sims wrote. "We cannot both sustain recognition for this group, even if various stipulations are imposed in exchange for that allowance, and still make the case that such behaviors fall well short of our community's expectations."

Sims added that Penn State "retained the final responsibility for its recognition" of fraternities on campus.

"Penn State is deeply committed to sustaining a values-based community in which its various constituencies and their organizations demonstrate respect, responsibility, and integrity in all they do," Sims wrote.

According to Schackner, reports of the questionable private Facebook page surfaced in March, bringing up the issues of fraternity behavior and campus sexual assault in the national spotlight. It also occurred around the same time a racist fraternity video at the University of Oklahoma appeared, which led to student expulsions and the closing of the involved organization there.

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