Sunday, August 21, 2011

U VA Shuts Down Zeta Psi

University officials shut down Zeta Psi fraternity

University denies renewal of Fraternal Organization Agreement, declares hospitalization of first-year pledge result of serious misconduct

By Rebecca Rubin, News Editor

Administrators decided to shut down the University chapter of Zeta Psi fraternity in late June after a pledge was hospitalized this past March.

In an email to fraternity and sorority leaders, Assistant Dean of Students Michael Citro announced “the University has decided not to enter into a new Fraternal Organization Agreement” with the Greek organization.

A first-year student pledging Zeta Psi was treated at Martha Jefferson Hospital March 1 for an electrolyte imbalance after consuming a bottle of soy sauce at the fraternity’s house. He was later transported to the intensive care ward at the University Medical Center, and spent four days in the hospital before being released.

After University police conducted an investigation of the event, Citro said the University concluded that the incident constituted serious misconduct. Citro referred to the event as “new member activities” in the email and did not specify whether this is a confirmed incident of hazing.

Dean of Students Allen Groves said he believes serious misconduct to have a broader meaning than the legally defined hazing.

“For my purposes, I don’t need to find that criminal law was violated in order to decide the FOA not be renewed,” Groves said. He added the organization participated in extraordinarily bad decision making, “violating the standard we expect our fraternities to maintain.”

Groves said although he believes this behavior regarding pledges was not an isolated incident, he does not think the members’ intentions were to harm anyone.

Groves confirmed that Neil Holby, a brother at Zeta Psi, has stepped down from his position as president of the University Inter-Fraternity Council because of the council’s by-laws.

The Zeta Psi house in Charlottesville is owned by alumni of the fraternity who have notified Groves that the brothers will not be occupying the space in the fall.

“They own the house; we do not,” Groves said. “We can simply terminate the FOA, but we cannot close down the fraternity … But, my understanding, based on conversations with alumni, is they will be ceasing operations this fall.”

The chapter may petition for a new FOA as early as 2013.

“The Zeta Psi chapter has a long history at the University, and we are committed to working with all stakeholders to facilitate a return of the chapter in the future,” Citro said.

Holby and members of Zeta Psi did not respond to email and phone requests for comment.
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