Cut free by AU, nationals, ZBT appeals decision
Martone cites 'violations,' ties severed with fraternity
AU severed its affiliation with Zeta Beta Tau fraternity's Beta Psi chapter on June 30 for what Dean of Students John Martone called "flagrant and serious violations of University policies." ZBT national followed suit August 10 by cutting off ties with the AU chapter.
In a letter to ZBT's Executive Vice President, James E. Greer, Martone outlined the chapter's "clear disregard and lack of understanding of ... appropriate and reasonable behavior."
For the last several years, ZBT has had trouble with the university and ZBT's national organization. ZBT national placed the AU chapter on indefinite probation in April of 1992. In October of 1993, the national suspended AU's chapter for one year, expelling twelve chapter members after an investigation into hazing violations. Two members were subsequently found guilty of hazing and ten were found guilty of violating the terms of their temporary suspension.
On Nov. 11, 1993, the national organization suspended the chapter until October 1994 because of alcohol, drug and physical abuse as well as violation of the hazing prohibition. In December of 1993, the university withdrew all student organization privileges until the end of the 1994 fall semester. Martone said he warned ZBT at that point that further problems would lead to permanent loss of university recognition.
While under suspension last semester, ZBT published a "Formal Book," which, according to Martone's letter, included statements "suggesting physical harm and death to several University officials." The group held their formal on April 22 of last year at the ANA Hotel, despite its suspension. The event happened to be on the same night and at the same place as the International Students Dinner, attended by a number of university officials.
On Aug. 10, 1994, National ZBT President Leonard Koman wrote a letter to the AU chapter members severing all relations.
"As a result of the chapter's Spring 1994 Formal, held in defiance of the fraternity's suspension ... this action terminates the relationship between you, as a group and individually, and Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity."
The chapter filed an appeal with the national organization, and, according to ZBT Chief Judicial Officer Gary Schwartz, was placed under "social suspension" on August 25 pending a review in late October.
Depending upon the outcome of the review, AU's ZBT chapter could officially lose the right to use the identity, symbols and rituals of ZBT, as well as the fraternity's group liability insurance and federal income tax exemption.
The issue of hazing new members of ZBT is still a concern of Brian Leckrone, Advisor for Greek Affairs. Despite a New Brotherhood Program, developed in 1989 to stop hazing, Leckrone said he has seen evidence of hazing activities in ZBT as recently as last year. Leckrone sent a letter to the chapter on July 29 of this year withdrawing use of the university's name in conjunction with the organization, use of university facilities, listing in student and university publications, university sponsorship of program activities, and official participation in organized AU fraternity rush.
Despite its troubles, though, the members of the AU ZBT chapter are optimistic the now unofficial chapter can turn itself around. Over the summer, the group elected all new members to its executive board and held a meeting Thursday night to plan upcoming projects. Although no longer recognized by AU, chapter President Brian Tunick said the group will continue to prepare for the future.
"We want to put what's behind us behind us," he said. "I've put too much into ZBT and I don't want it to die"