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University suspends Theta Chi fraternity due to conduct violations

February 19, 2018 By Meredith McGlone

The University of Wisconsin–Madison chapter of Theta Chi fraternity, 210 Langdon St., has been suspended from all university activities until Oct. 21, 2018, due to violations of the Student Organization Code of Conduct.

The student-led Committee on Student Organizations found the chapter violated the code of conduct on three separate occasions in November 2017:

  • On Nov. 4, three underage women consumed alcohol at a party at Theta Chi. One was a high school student who became incapacitated and was taken to the hospital for alcohol detoxification treatment. The high school student’s friends later reported that the drug Rohypnol was found in her system. The high school student was accompanied by friends during the incident and there is no indication she was sexually assaulted.
  • On Nov. 18, Madison Police shut down a tailgate party at the chapter house after members disregarded warnings that the crowd had grown too large and no more guests should be admitted. An underage woman was found to be drinking alcohol and reported that hard liquor also was being served.
  • On Nov. 20, it was reported to a Fraternity and Sorority Life staff member that a Theta Chi member sent a text message to a woman asking her to write the Greek letters theta and chi and “rush” on her breasts and send him a photograph.

The suspension means that the chapter is barred from holding events and activities and from operating with the rights and privileges of a registered student organization. Theta Chi will be unable to admit a fall pledge class. Chapter members must also complete workshops on healthy and respectful relationships and sexual consent.

After the suspension ends in October 2018, the organization will be placed on probation with alcohol restriction (meaning no alcohol is allowed at any events) until Nov. 25, 2018.

It will then be placed on general probation until Nov. 18, 2019. If an organization commits additional violations while on probation, sanctions may be more severe, up to and including termination.

The decision was delivered to the chapter today. The chapter has the right to appeal the decision to the Division of Student Life.

“UW–Madison takes conduct violations such as this very seriously. Theta Chi’s actions show that it has failed to ensure a safe and respectful environment for members of the campus community. The chapter will have to demonstrate a commitment to safety and to upholding campus and organizational values of respect and inclusion by completing the sanctions,” says Kevin Helmkamp, associate dean of students.

The Center for Leadership & Involvement within the Division of Student Life has begun a review of conduct violations by student organizations, including those committed by fraternities and sororities, over the past two years. This review began in the fall semester and was not prompted by any specific incident. The review is currently at the data collection stage; information on next steps will be shared during the spring semester.