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2 Phi Delta Theta members suspended by fraternity for ‘Free House Tours’ banner

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A banner encouraging new sorority recruits to visit for “free house tours” was hung from a window at Phi Delta Theta fraternity Friday, the first day of Greek recruitment, leading to the suspension of two chapter members and a Title IX investigation.

One student tweeted a photo of the banner before it was taken down and posted it to social media. Two men are visible in the photo.

Courtesy Photo

The banner, reading “new members … free house tours,” was up for about five minutes, Director of Student Involvement Nancy Loosle said.

The incident — reported to student conduct by a student Friday afternoon — is being reviewed to determine if a further investigation is warranted, Mandy Hambleton, assistant vice president for student advocacy, intervention and accountability, said.

Hambleton said the incident is being investigated as a potential conduct violation as well as a potential Title IX violation.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 forbids sexual harassment and sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding. Schools are legally required to respond promptly and effectively remedy hostile educational environments. Failure to do so puts an institution at risk of losing federal funding.

Hambleton said right now more information and context is needed to move forward.

“Right now I just basically have a picture,” Hambleton said.

An internal fraternity investigation, conducted by officers within the chapter, led to the immediate suspension of two chapter members.

Keehn Hanneman, Phi Delta Theta president, did not respond to requests for an interview but emailed a statement posted on Phi Delta Theta’s Twitter page: “The recent actions of two members of our chapter in no way align with the values of Phi Delta Theta. The members involved have been suspended effective immediately and further investigation is underway. We apologize for these actions.”

Student affairs was informed of the situation within a half hour of the banner’s placement Friday, by a member of the Greek community who saw the banner and reported it to the student affairs office, Loosle said.

“As soon as their leadership heard about it, they rushed to make sure it was down,” Loosle said.

The WSU student affairs account tweeted Saturday morning in response to the incident: “WSU does not condone sexual harassment in any form. The inappropriate banner at Phi Delt was addressed and sent on for further investigation.”

Loosle said this incident does not reflect the values of the Greek community at Wichita State as a whole.

“It’s unfortunate that a small group of individuals made a poor decision that now affects the entire Greek community,” Loosle said. “That’s why when issues arise, we deal with them and educate.”

Teri Hall, vice president of student affairs, said with recruitment starting Thursday night, the incident brought “a chilly climate to campus.” Hall said while the banner was “absolutely inappropriate,” the timing escalated the incident, both with recruitment beginning and with the apparent rollback of Title IX by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

“I think we’re all a little more sensitive because of the statements Betsy DeVos made (Thursday),” Hall said.

One student who wished to remain anonymous said she saw the banner as it went up.

She said it brought back memories of being sexually assaulted.

“When I first saw it, I was utterly disgusted,” the third-year WSU student said. “It really brought back those events. It gave me no hope for improvement.”

She said it’s undeniable “[the banner] had sexual baiting undertones.”

53 Comments

53 Responses to “2 Phi Delta Theta members suspended by fraternity for ‘Free House Tours’ banner”

  1. Richard Reed on September 11th, 2017 7:18 am

    The reaction to this was stupid. Why did people automatically assume devious undertones. I am doubting. I’ll make any future WSU donations if the University and students have become this reactionary to something that could be neighborly. Students are there to learn etc. not be a church for hypersensitivity and assume always devious intentions. This is not the place I remember fondly.

    [Reply]

  2. GolfDad007 on September 11th, 2017 10:56 am

    At first I was going to be embarrassed at my school for the Greeks promoting sexual harassment and rape culture…but then I saw the banner and now am embarrassed at my school for it’s hypersensitive PC culture.

    [Reply]

    Farmer Reply:

    Is it possible that Phi Delta was pledging that week?

    [Reply]

  3. WSUGrad on September 11th, 2017 12:08 pm

    This is crap. I can only imagine what the university would do about pranks that were pulled when I attended WSU. Come on, Shockers. Grow the hell up and get a sense of humor.

    [Reply]

    Consider this please Reply:

    I can only imagine how many students remained silent about the sexual abuse they endured when you attended WSU. It’s not funny and we won’t go back.

    [Reply]

    One. Reply:

    I was one of those students.

    [Reply]

  4. Allison Keith on September 11th, 2017 12:28 pm

    I feel like I’m missing something, could someone please explain why this is considered harassment?

    [Reply]

  5. Richard Reed on September 11th, 2017 12:30 pm

    Ive now talked to previous member etc. I guess guys being creepy and not knowing how to relate to girls as peers has a history. I still feel it was a hyper response. But this is also an opportunity for greek affairs to host socials or other healthy events where fraternity and sorority members learn to see each other as fellow shockers. The co ed dorms at Brennan Hall had a friendly respectful culture. Housing hosted welcome events etc. This is a teachable moment for the greek community and a chance to instil a culture of camaraderie. Reactionary responses will only teach them what not to do not what to do.

    [Reply]

    Drew Reply:

    The lesson they are teaching is that men are forbidden to speak to women, on your campus.
    These attitudes will leach into the workplace in a few years. Men are already very wary of interacting with women at work already, precisely because of this bizarre and totalitarian attitude towards heterosexual men.
    A teachable moment, perhaps.
    But the lesson learned – that their fear and hatred of us means we should view them with deep suspicion and mistrust – means that they will be on your own when their computer won’t work, or when their car breaks down, or when they otherwise need help.
    And many young women I see at work need considerable amounts of help.
    People who might be accused of sex crimes or sexual misconduct won’t want to interact with women at all.
    The consequences for them now -suspension, expulsion, a ruined career – are too severe to risk.

    [Reply]

  6. Go Figure on September 11th, 2017 1:14 pm

    I am soooo surprised that two comments here are coming from men. For you, is hypersensitivity, but for survivors, it is life or death.

    Shame on you, and shame on you if you are actually a parent.

    [Reply]

  7. This is not right on September 11th, 2017 2:09 pm

    People are finally speaking up about rape culture and it’s really nice to think that people are becoming unafraid to say “this is not right.” When the majority shame people for feeling violated, people lose their voice and lose a sense of their dignity. I commend those who said something and called it out.

    [Reply]

    Wonderingwhatiswrongwithyoupeople Reply:

    …its a tour of the house, not a rape…

    [Reply]

    Farmer Reply:

    Thank you …. I must be missing something since I cannot for the life of me see where and how that sign is “sexual harassment” …

    [Reply]

  8. Marie Fox on September 11th, 2017 2:36 pm

    It is a very sad day when a banner (that has absolutely NO undertones of sexual harassment) becomes a banner for hateful and unproductive discourse to occur. As a survivor of campus sexual assaults myself, I can understand that trauma is still a part of the one girl’s identity and how she perceives and relates to the world. I went through it myself. Part of that trauma and recovery means you Are hypersensitive and that you’re even looking for the innuendos because it helps you to think you are going to be safer, or more powerful. I’ve been there as well. Time will give you that perspective. I know it it made a difference for me.

    However, when you have NO other evidence that indicates these boys were trying to sexually harass female students-other than a banner-and you make allegations that have the potential to ruin and seriously damage their futures, maybe you need to step back and examine which one is the perpetrator.

    [Reply]

    Rwright Reply:

    They were suspended from their fraternity, one would assume that their “brothers” knew what the banner meant and acted accordingly. Those who best know these young men looked at the situation and acted, why do you think that is? They certainly wouldn’t suspend a brother because of something they didn’t intend.

    [Reply]

    Better answer Reply:

    OR they knew the University would massively overactive and the leadership decided to get in front of it to forstall and minimize the idiocy

    [Reply]

    Lolol Reply:

    You act like they actually had a choice. Statements like the statement they made and suspensions like these are only made because of strong societal pressure.

    [Reply]

  9. Equal on September 11th, 2017 3:32 pm

    Why wasn’t the alleged incident in athletics that was reported last January made this public?

    [Reply]

    ? Reply:

    Which incident?

    [Reply]

    Fire Reply:

    My understanding is that the Title IX Coordinator, Dr. Natasha Stephens, investigated an incident involving the Athletic Director. Maybe the Sunflower can confirm if this is true or not. It seems this should be investigated based on details I understand are related that to the allegation. Students can ask WSU Title IX, Human Reaources, and General Counsel staff as they all know about it. KBOR staff knownas well.

    [Reply]

  10. Steve on September 11th, 2017 4:28 pm

    For the posters that claim the banner had no sexual assault connotation, what do you think the banner is referring to? We all know the frat boys weren’t interested in showing off the architecture and décor of their house, so what plausible reason can you give for the banner that is not sexual?

    [Reply]

    Momma Bear Reply:

    Steve, these men just went through a 300k renovation to their facility. That is more likely the reason they would like to show it off. Also, I would like to note that it was assumptions that brought along this article in the first place, so assuming all “frat boys” cannot be upstanding men is outlandish. I’m surprised the University are still allowing the public bashing of these men and being made an example out of, simply because they are in a fraternity.

    [Reply]

    Rwright Reply:

    Their own brothers were the ones to suspend them from the Fraternity, not the school and not the police. After doing an investigation the fine upstanding young men let the not fine and not upstanding young men go. You talk about “bashing” but neglect to critically review the facts. Their own fraternity suspended them for actions the brothers felt was not appropriate. Take it up with the fraternity, not the campus, which so far has done nothing. And it isn’t “bashing” to report on factual information like a fraternity suspending its own members.

    [Reply]

    Dale Reply:

    If they spent $300,000 on renovations, then perhaps they could have spent some money to make an actual, well designed sign. One which accurately conveys and promotes their message of supposed “NEW MEMBERS, FREE HOUSE TOURS.”

    However, the ‘sign’ they made is on what seems to be a bed sheet. Rendered with poorly scribbled words. Which to me conveys a certain lack of concern, implying that this was a quick and rash decision. Making me question their decision making process, leading me to question their character, moral, etc.

    Many here are attempting to place these boys on a pedestal, while simultaneously looking past their erroneous decisions. I wonder ultimately what else they do in their bed sheets that is also poorly though out and disingenuous.

    [Reply]

    Stacy Reply:

    Maybe they wanted to meet new people? I would have loved to see the inside of their house.

    [Reply]

    Anon Reply:

    I was in the Greek system, years ago, as was my son-to-be husband. A phi delt, actually. Even back then, it was standard for the guys in the house to give tours to new possible recruits or pledges. Now what these guys are aiming for, who really knows because I guarantee everyone commenting here didn’t do a thorough investigation and ask them. And I am not in any way okay-ing rape culture or harassment of any nature. But he fact of the matter is, stuff like this used to happen all the time when I was Greek, and it truly was aimed and new potential fraternity pledges, and no one…I repeat NO one ever got this butt hurt about it.

    [Reply]

    Equal Reply:

    So sad. Nice use of “butt-hurt” in your response. WSU degree?

    [Reply]

    Nick Reply:

    Uh, I assume you meant “soon-to-husband”.

    [Reply]

    Michelle Wethers Reply:

    @steve

    -attracting new members to their frat
    -gathering a team to play pick up basketball
    -showing off how great an organization they are by having kids come through the house and meet the brothers on a house tour
    -invite recent sorority initiates to their house to meet bros and build bonds in the Greek community (maybe even flirt?)
    -not sexually assualt above girls because they are not monsters and also probably wouldn’t enjoy prison

    [Reply]

    Michelle Wethers Reply:

    -invite people over because they want to meet new people to drink wirh
    -find new people to tailgate and go to games
    -list goes on

    [Reply]

    Angst Reply:

    “Flirting” as you call it is even now strictly forbidden as it apparently constitutes sexual harassment. Very soon, speaking to women at all or looking at them (both are now very risky things to do) will also constitute “sexual harassment”. Following that, if things go well to protect women, men will not be allowed on college campuses at all.

    Nick Reply:

    Are you implying the only thing boys and girls do when alone in a room is rape and sexually assault each other?

    If so, your college experience was much different from mine…

    [Reply]

  11. Scott on September 11th, 2017 9:20 pm

    I think everyone is reading to much into this. Greeks have always had interlude relations. Social functions are regular events between fraternities and sororities. Sure, you can add your own twist to this and make things sexual, because “You know what they are getting at”. But where does that stop? When does asking someone for coffee or their phone number start falling under the same umbrella of sexual harassment as well? It is not a big leap when you read sexual innuendo into everything.

    [Reply]

    Scott Reply:

    *interhouse

    [Reply]

    Wow Reply:

    Wow. You can’t tell the difference?

    [Reply]

  12. Kim on September 11th, 2017 9:47 pm

    Please count me as another female who believes this is a case of overreacting to college boys simply being cheeky cute.

    [Reply]

  13. WSU Alum on September 11th, 2017 10:25 pm

    The banner was not even let go of before the boys pulled it back in. Notice the boys haven’t even let go it it. In my day, we girls would have said “hey take the banner down” What is happening when college kids can’t communicate verbally before trying to make the news? And BTW, fraternity house tours are given probably every day all over the country without girls being assaulted.

    [Reply]

  14. Hmmm on September 11th, 2017 11:12 pm

    It isn’t sexual harassment to solicit sex which is what this banner seems to be referring to. The assumption that frats are “rape hives” and that any sexual innuendo is somehow “harassment” is asinine.

    [Reply]

    Irony Reply:

    Ya! Wait…what? I totally disagree with you…but the way you framed it did honestly crack me up as if you were a comedian making obviously ridiculous statements to prove the ridiculousness of the statements. It was all just so ironic that you sort of proved the other side’s point.

    [Reply]

    Geez Reply:

    Good Lord. Did you even read this before submitting it. You think the banner solicits sex and that is not sexual harassment? Sexual innuendo isn’t sexual harassment? Oh boy.

    [Reply]

    Nick Reply:

    No, sexual innuendo is not always sexual harassment. The latter has a well defined legal definition.

    [Reply]

  15. Generating a lot of good discussion on September 12th, 2017 12:11 am

    I think this is pretty cool how it is generating a lot of discussion. At least differing opinions people are talking about it from very different opinions. This is really good. Obviously there is some issue that people are wanting to grapple with because it is ruffling lots of feathers from both sides.

    [Reply]

    Angst Reply:

    Yes, well, when it comes to sexual harassment you are not permitted to have any differing opinions that deviate from the progressive opinion. Not if you want to graduate without a negative mark on your transcript.

    [Reply]

    Alec Rawls Reply:

    Inviting the neighbors to visit is “harassment”? Now THERE is a sick mind.

    Pass a law requiring all students who take classes in SJW garbage to have an SJW warning impressed on their degree so that everyone will know not to hire them. Imagine how quickly just a few of these harridan’s could destroy any productive enterprise.

    [Reply]

  16. Let's pretend on September 12th, 2017 11:11 pm

    What I gather from this discourse is that most people commenting validate and perpetuate rape culture. Our ugliness manifests itself in the downplaying disturbing social norms sexual harassment (etc.)This social norm is meant to be broken.

    Let’s pretend for a moment that this isn’t about sexual harrassement…
    even then…
    the comments of many reveal that people are entirely insensitive and illogical about why sexual harassment is a horrific phenomenon.

    [Reply]

    Fire Reply:

    There seem to be several comments from the same person who can’t tell the difference between normal behavior and exaggeration. Must be a reporter for Fire.

    [Reply]

  17. WSU Alum on September 12th, 2017 11:46 pm

    https://www.thefire.org/wichita-state-university-must-end-investigation-of-free-house-tours-banner/

    [Reply]

    Fire Reply:

    Yeah, let’s listen to Fire. What a waste.

    [Reply]

  18. Really on September 13th, 2017 12:40 pm

    It’s a joke not a dick, don’t take it so hard. That being said frat guys are still douche bags.

    [Reply]

  19. Frank on September 14th, 2017 11:41 am

    I feel like if it would get past Disney PG ratings without any trouble, its likely not sexual harassment. The only thing that makes this sexual is your mind. It took me several comments to even get why people were angry.
    And REALLY? LOL! That tiny hidden innuendo sent someone into panic attacks?
    Better not ever watch any cartoons, films, read or look at t-shirts because thats about as tame as it gets out there kids.
    Good luck being a normal human!

    [Reply]

  20. FreeHouse Tours on September 14th, 2017 2:40 pm
  21. Ponz on September 16th, 2017 3:12 pm

    How long before men on campus are required to wear burkas to prevent triggering female students and faculty?

    [Reply]

  22. Alec Rawls on September 18th, 2017 2:53 am

    How in the world is it inappropriate for boys to invite neighboring girls to come tour their house? And the boys apologized??? They take back the invitation? They agree that meeting the neighbors is a bad, bad thing? Especially if the neighbors are girls?

    Of course boys should never want to meet girls, and girls should never want to meet boys. Just the thought is enraging… to ISIS and the TALIBAN! Holy cow what moral garbage our universities have become.

    [Reply]

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