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Fraternity on probation for hazing

The+Beta+Theta+Pi+fraternity+house+sits+on+Hillside+across+street+from+campus.
The Beta Theta Pi fraternity house sits on Hillside across street from campus.

The Beta Theta Pi fraternity house sits on Hillside across street from campus.

Selena Favela

Selena Favela

The Beta Theta Pi fraternity house sits on Hillside across street from campus.

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A Wichita State fraternity has been placed on probation for hazing, but the university did not report it to law enforcement.

After violating university policies on hazing and underage drinking, Beta Theta Pi Fraternity has been placed on disciplinary probation, according to a student conduct case resolution form obtained through a Kansas Open Records request. The fraternity received a deferred suspension, which means members may continue to attend classes.

Mandy Hambleton, assistant vice president for student advocacy, intervention, and accountability, said “quite a few” members of the fraternity were involved in hazing activities that “affect” physical and mental health of new members.

Hambleton declined to disclose specifics of what happened during the hazing. She said doing so would disclose “personally identifying information.” She said she could not disclose the number of members involved in hazing because doing so has a “potential for leading to personally identifiable information.”

According to university records, the chapter accepted responsibility for hazing new members during its initiation week, Jan. 11-14, 2017.

“Beta Theta Pi has worked hand-in-hand with our General Fraternity, local advisors and Wichita State administrators to ensure that our chapter culture meets — and exceeds — the expectations of a Greek organization on this campus,” Patrick Osner, president of the chapter, said in an email.

“Our members have participated in countless workshops, trainings, exercises and heart-felt discussions, and recommitted ourselves to our core mission of developing men of principle.”

Hambleton said that the code of conduct is being revised to include four categories of hazing.

“The first is things that affect your physical health and safety,” Hambleton said. “The second is things that affect your emotional and mental health safety. The third one is things that interfere with your academics or your ability to kind of pursue your life, like going to work or going to church. The last category is things that encourage or require you to violate the law or university policy.”

Hambleton said the hazing at Beta fell into the first and second categories.

Hazing is a crime in Kansas.

The state of Kansas defines hazing as “recklessly coercing, demanding or encouraging another person to perform, as a condition of membership in a social or fraternal organization, any act which could reasonably be expected to result in great bodily harm, disfigurement or death.”

Wichita State policy has a different standard.

“We do not notify law enforcement,” Hambleton said of the student conduct office.

“If there was an ongoing threat to health or safety that we felt needed immediate law enforcement intervention, we would,” Hambleton said. “But typically we handle all of our reports internally.”

The university student code of conduct defines hazing as “an act or acts involving any activity which endangers the health or safety of a person or subjects him or her to onerous, degrading, or hazardous tasks for the purpose of admission into, or affiliation with any organization.”

While Hambleton said she got “varied answers” during the student conduct investigation regarding how long hazing was occurring, she knew the event “was not isolated for this particular semester.”

The disciplinary probation is effective until March 2020. The deferred suspension is effective until March 2019.

Hambleton said a deferred suspension does not mean the behavior did not warrant a suspension.

“But we’re going to let you have one last chance to prove that you can meet our expectations and stay in the community,” Hambleton said.

On March 9, the organization was prohibited from engaging in any form of chapter operations — including recruitment, hosting events, participating in programs, and philanthropic efforts — until the completion of a number of assigned sanctions, which included requiring all members to attend a series of culture workshops and training sessions.

The organization returned to its regular operations and activities early June, Hambleton said.

The chapter also underwent a process of membership review. This meant that the national fraternity headquarters staff met with all members to determine whether or not they could continue as members, Hambleton said.

Some members did not return after the membership review process.

“Many of the individuals were granted early alumni status and that means, for this particular group, that they are not allowed to be actively involved with the organization for the duration of their time as an undergraduate student,” Hambleton said.

Nancy Loosle, director of student involvement, said the Student Involvement office was first informed of the hazing allegations by a member of Beta. Student Involvement staff then turned this information over to Student Conduct, which began the investigation.

Hambleton said this was the first time she had seen a hazing case in her three years at Wichita State.

“It is definitely out of the norm for our community to be having issues with hazing, from what I’ve seen,” Hambleton said.

Vice President for Student Affairs Teri Hall said in February that the university was looking to expand Greek life on campus as a way of addressing issues with student retention.

“I’d like [the Greek community] to grow, but remain as strong and positive as it currently is,” Hall said Wednesday.

“Sometimes bad things happen,” Hall said. “But bad things can happen in any host of different kinds of organizations, not just necessarily Greek chapters.”

“A couple bad apples can spoil the barrel,” Hambleton said. “So it’s really important for organizations to be looking at individuals of quality character and not just trying to get numbers. I think because of the nature of the campus and this student body, sometimes that’s a challenge.”

Hall said she hoped the incident would serve as a wakeup call for other Greek organizations to review their behavior.

“When something happens that we’re not in support of, then it’s about education,” Hall said.

“The hope is that Beta has learned from this,” Hall said.

Hambleton said while it is important that students who wish to be involved in Greek life know what they may be signing up for, the incident should not permanently reflect on the organization’s reputation.

“I don’t think it’s a negative thing for new students to know anything that the organizations have done,” Hambleton said.

“I think it’s important to make sure that we’re not also putting a scarlet letter on certain organizations, because the whole goal of the conduct process is to help students learn to make better choices.”

18 Comments
  • Caleb Peterson

    Fake News. How would like to here some crazy stuff about Greek Life?

    [Reply]

    Caleb Peterson Reply:

    hear*

    [Reply]

    Fake Pres. Bardo Reply:

    It doesn’t matter what is best for students or even what they think. My presidential action team stands ready to make decisions that better our investors. They also continually send me ideas regarding more ways to increase the profitability of students.

    As always,
    Fake Pres. Bardo

    [Reply]

    Anon Reply:

    Lol, Fake News? It all seemed pretty straight forward to me. They broke university policies, which can be proven through open records, and were reprimanded. What exactly do you think makes this news fake Mr. Trump?

    [Reply]

  • Deferred Suspension

    So with the “deferred suspension” and everyone allowed to continue as students there is no real consequence. How would stating Person 1 or Person 2 did this or that identify people individually? Are there Betas with the last name One or Two?

    [Reply]

    One sided story Reply:

    Yes. They should report exactly what happened. All the specifics. They will not though because the accusations are rediculous and the organization was strong armed into agreeing with what ever the university told them to agree with or that they would be kicked out and collectively punished. They are trying to protect themselves with broad statements and non-specifics from this screwed up investigation and charges, not the students.

    [Reply]

    Fake Pres. Bardo Reply:

    They do as I tell them to, otherwise they would all end up as ‘triples’ in the dorms!

    I am king Bardo! Bow before me, you indebted students!

    As always,
    Fake Pres. Bardo

    [Reply]

  • Fake Pres. Bardo

    Drink coffee from my innovation campus and this wont happen!

    Sadly, boys will be boys.

    As always,
    Fake Pres. Bardo

    [Reply]

  • Cigs inside

    Shoutout to Mandy Hambleton for staying #woke on this one. KAKE news has broken this story wide open. Can’t wait to hear about all the underground sex trafficking going on also. Purge Greek life in totality. The student body doesn’t need 90% of the student leadership. Anarchy is frat.

    [Reply]

  • Joe

    If this is true: “an act or acts involving any activity which endangers the health or safety of a person or subjects him or her to onerous, degrading, or hazardous tasks for the purpose of admission into, or affiliation with any organization.” then I do not believe there was a hazing incident. The most important line stating: “For the purpose of admission into, or affiliation”, keep this in mind when tying such a crime to any organization. This campus administration has their favorites and punishes accordingly.

    [Reply]

  • Same Old

    The Sunflower needs to have Mandy document the history of conduct cases with the Betas as well as all fraternities and sororities. It is extensive and ugly. There is absolutely no support from Bardo to hold fraternities and sororities accountable. He has stated just the opposite directly to the Greek leaders.

    [Reply]

  • Sometimes Bad Things Happen

    Indeed. Many bad things. Issues with drugs, drug paraphernalia, sexual assault, hazing, alcohol poisoning, bullying, intimidating conduct staff, sharing nude pictures of female students to name a few. This is certainly a community to grow! When the alums speak, Bardo listens. It is an impossible position for Mandy Hambleton to be in or anyone associated with the conduct process. Never understood moving the “bad apples” to alum status instead of just kicking them out.

    [Reply]

    Frat star Reply:

    Sounds like someone didn’t get a bid.

    [Reply]

  • Disappointed Student

    This entire situation was blown way out of proportion from the start, and Beta was unfortunately made an example of for all other organizations to see. In fact, there are likely worse things going on under the radar that campus chooses to keep secret. Greek Life, and particularly this chapter, will continue to be scrutinized for years to come without being given proper recognition for their major accomplishments. What this article fails to disclose is that Beta annually posts a house GPA far above the all men’s average (even finished first among all fraternities in spring 2017). Not to mention all the community service hours logged, philanthropy dollars raised, and so on. Bardo talks about becoming a more “traditional” university, however, this will never happen as long as student conduct holds the ever-tightening reins. Would have transferred years ago if I knew this was the direction we were heading. Anyone still wondering why Lyston resigned?

    [Reply]

  • Kat

    Handing out suspensions/expulsions, reporting to law enforcement, giving identifying information all mean greek students (at least a few) out of campus. With enrollment drops, administration can’t handle that. So “let bad apples count to help fill the basket.”

    [Reply]

  • Consistency

    How can Mandy allow all the fraternity members to continue as students and not an individual student who had a deferred suspension and has completed the sanctions?

    [Reply]

    Grammar Reply:

    Go look up what a deferred suspension is. You can still go to school. Have you ever heard of diversion before or have any concept of what it is?

    [Reply]

  • Steve

    Greeks and athletes receive special treatment especially from Dr. Bardo with his fetish for transforming WSU into something more to his personal preference. The entire Greek system could disappear from WSU tomorrow and very few people would even notice.

    [Reply]

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