Cal fraternity suspended over hazing, drinking concerns

UC Berkeley's Beta Theta Pi fraternity has been suspended over concerns about hazing and underage drinking.
November 8, 2013 5:36:01 PM PST
A fraternity at UC Berkeley has been suspended over concerns about hazing and drinking.

Beta Theta Pi on Channing Way threw a big party earlier this fall. It was the last straw, of sorts, that cost them their charter.

Their motto is "Men of Principle." But now, the men of Beta Theta Pi are without a chapter at UC Berkeley. That's after the fraternity's national organization decided to close it for failing to clean up its act in terms of hazing and underage drinking.

UC's chapter was supposed to reorganize and police itself. But in an email to students, parents, and alumni, Beta's national secretary David Schmidt wrote, "This behavior ultimately culminated this fall in an unauthorized party that also disregarded all forms of reasonable and required risk management."

Beta members still living at the house would not comment.

"Things have increased in terms of alcohol consumption and issues with underage drinking, specifically," Jason Sam said.

Sam belongs to another fraternity at Cal.

"I think a lot of it just comes down to the leadership within fraternities in general because every fraternity has their own executive committee," he said. "They have leadership and it's Berkeley, there are smart kids here, it's probably just poor decision-making."

Thursday, ABC7's I-Team showed how binge drinking at Cal has gotten out of hand. Not just at fraternities, but dorms, apartments, and other places students party.

"If you're not guiding them, then what do you expect?" one student asked.

He says the media and UC administration shouldn't just focus on binge drinking, but what leads to it in the first place.

"Some of these peers of mine are going through a lot of tough things that no one is highlighting," said the student. "And the fact that is getting more attention than their struggles, is a little surprising."

As for Beta Theta Pi, the students who live there can stay until their lease expires. The Cal chapter can apply for re-installment, but not before 2015.

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