Beta found guilty of six violations

by Jeffrey Beyer | 7/23/96 5:00am

The College has placed Beta Theta Pi fraternity on full social restriction for an indefinite period of time and has imposed three other sanctions following a judicial hearing last Thursday.

Under the sanctions, Beta will be unable to conduct Fall term rush this year.

Dean of Residential Life Mary Turco -- who presided over the hearing -- included the Coed Fraternity Sorority Judiciary Committee in the hearing, at the request of Beta President Keith Lockwood '98.

Turco and the CFS Judiciary Committee found the fraternity guilty of violating all six charges of which it was accused, three of which are Beta codes or policies.

The six charges Beta was found guilty of stemmed from a series of unspecified incidents that allegedly took place the evening of June 26, according to an Office of Residential Life information release.

Aside from the indefinite suspension with social rules, Beta is suspended indefinitely from the CFS rush process.

The earliest Beta can apply to the College for reinstatement in the CFS rush process is Nov. 26, making Fall term rush an impossibility for the fraternity.

In addition, Turco's ruling explicitly states that Beta may not "conduct an informal, underground rush during the fall of 1996."

Beta must also write a statement to the Dartmouth community by Aug. 5 that explains what happened on June 26, acknowledges wrongdoing on Beta's part and apologizes to the people involved in the incidents.

By the end of today Beta's president must write letters of apology to the students who were involved in the incidents on behalf of the entire fraternity.

Dean of the College Lee Pelton said although he was not present at the hearing, "given what I know of the facts, this seems to me to be a reasonable outcome."

Pelton said Beta impressed him as "a house in disarray, and it will require some significant action on the part of its members -- its undergraduate members and its alumni members -- to correct some serious organizational problems."

Pelton declined to comment on the nature of the incidents of June 26.

"The committee's ruling states that it should be Beta who explains what they did, and I think I should respect that," Pelton said.

The College's group accountability statement -- which states an organization can bear "corporate" or group responsibility for the actions of individual members under certain circumstances -- was considered in the ruling, Pelton said.

"All members of the organization need not be present for corporate responsibility to be recognized," Pelton said. "It refers to significant numbers."

Pelton said, "The College believes that in this community, as in the real world, there are and there should be corporate consequences for the behavior of individual members."

The CFS Judicial Council handles matters regarding group accountability, while the Committee on Standards adjudicates cases of individual wrongdoing.

Lockwood declined to comment on the June 26 incidents or the ruling of Turco and the CFS Committee, as did Beta chapter advisor William Glos '58.

Both Lockwood and Glos said Jack Burnett, president of Beta's Board of Trustees, would comment on the hearing, but The Dartmouth was unable to contact Burnett last night.

Coed Fraternity Sorority Council President Henry Rosevear '98, who chairs the CFS Judicial Committee, also declined to comment because of the "extreme confidentiality involved in the case."

The suspension of Beta marks the second time in three years that the fraternity has been sanctioned by the College.

In May 1994 the College derecognized Beta for a year and imposed 10 other penalties after the fraternity was found guilty of seven separate charges stemming from an incident of hazing.

Those penalties were in addition to 11 other sanctions imposed on the house by Beta's Board of Trustees.

Last summer, Beta was condemned -- though not sanctioned -- by the College following the discovery of a racist and sexist poem that was read aloud at one of the fraternity's weekly meetings.

In response to the poem, Pelton wrote a letter last September that rebuked Beta and called on them to react in a positive way to the incident.

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