Miami fraternity closing immediately as hazing alleged

OXFORD, OH (FOX19) - The founding chapter of an international fraternity at Miami University fraternity is closing.

The university said Friday that Beta Theta Pi has decided to close its Alpha chapter effective immediately following an investigation of allegations including alcohol abuse, a pattern of misconduct and hazing.

"Some of the concerns involve alcohol, serving it to minors, overuse of alcohol and some other conduct violations. The specifics of which I really just don't know," says Claire Wagner, a spokesperson for Miami University.

Miami and the general fraternity leadership have been monitoring the chapter for some time and observed a pattern of irresponsible behavior and lack of leadership, the university said.

"The national headquarters and the officers at that level talked to some of the members of the fraternity and talked to some Miami officials and did their own investigation that included very many members and said this is a culture," adds Wagner. "This seems too broad to fix with just saying we are going to stop events or something or sanction you. We need to close this down and start anew."

The decision to close the fraternity came Friday and now more than 30 members of the fraternity are forced to move out of the house by March 4.

The university is helping students with housing and meal plans immediately so they can move to campus starting at 5 p.m. Saturday. Upper class members have the choice of moving to campus or to other off-campus housing.

"Accountability and personal responsibility are core values at Miami, especially for those who lead student organizations," said Mike Curme, interim dean of students. "We expect our Greek organizations to model these values and adopt the highest standards of leadership and behavior."

The President of Interfraternity Council Sam Crockett says the situation is unfortunate.

"It is unfortunate that you do end up having cases like this where we aren't able to be proactive and instead have to be reactive and our goal is really to stop that before it gets to that point," said Crockett.

Crockett hopes that this serves as a warning to the other Greeks so that this doesn't happen again.

"We will be conducting more educational programs on hazing prevention, on alcohol awareness, which are all things we normally do anyway but this really gives us context to be able to say, 'this is real,'" he adds.

Beta Theta Pi will be shut down for two years but will work toward rebuilding the chapter for the fall of 2016.

The university said that its officials strongly endorsed the decision. It said it has zero tolerance for hazing.

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