Cornell University’s chapter of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity has been put on probation for two years after the university’s Fraternity and Sorority Review Board determined that ZBT had conducted a “pig-roast” sex contest. The fraternity will be required to have a live-in advisor, conduct a member review and complete mandatory educational programming.
The Fraternity and Sorority Review Board finished its investigation in January 2018, and found that the incident, which occured in 2017, was a contest for new members to earn points by having sex with the most women. In the event of a tie, the winner would be the member who slept with the heaviest woman. The new members were instructed to withhold information about the contest from the women involved.
The national ZBT organization issued a statement condemning the Cornell chapter’s actions.
“Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity was deeply disappointed to learn of allegations that certain men in the Kappa Chapter at Cornell University engaged in activities that degrade women,” the statement said. “Based on findings of the University’s Fraternity and Sorority Review Board, we are working with campus officials and the chapter on an action plan that includes a comprehensive membership review to rid the chapter of any men who may have participated in, or had knowledge of, these alleged activities.”
David Gonzalez acts as assistant director of Fraternity and Sorority Life in the Center for Student Life at NYU. For him, ensuring that there are institutional parameters for dealing with problems — both large and small — is important for making sure such incidents do not happen at NYU.
“Major misconduct behavior [often] stems from the enabling of smaller stuff that avalanches into something bigger, much like what we may have at Cornell,” Gonzalez said.
School of Professional Studies junior Max Kaplan is the president of NYU’s Zeta Beta Tau chapter as well as its Interfraternity Council. He was very disappointed in his fellow brothers at Cornell.
“I come from a chapter of ZBT where respecting women is probably our number one priority,” Kaplan said. “[ZBT] should have been punished a whole lot harder. They should have been removed from campus.”
Steinhardt senior Lauren Serritella is a member of the NYU Panhellenic Council. She believes that in light of the #MeToo movement, women are more willing to come forward about their sexual assault experiences.
“The community is much more open to having these conversations and women are starting to feel more comfortable with coming forward and talking about what’s been happening to them,” Serritella said. “Also, a lot of the men have been more willing to come forward and ask more questions.”
The fraternity’s executive director, Laurence Bolotin, said that the investigation into Cornell’s ZBT chapter is very much ongoing and pointed to the organization’s aforementioned online statement.
Correction, Feb. 15: A previous version of this article said that Laurence Bolotin, the executive director of Cornell’s ZBT chapter, did not respond to a request for comment. However, he did respond, and the article has been updated with his response.
Email Darcey Pittman at [email protected]