News | Student Life

Inter-Greek Council Judicial Board votes to rescind Zeta Beta Tau charter after hazing incident

  • RESCISSION | The Zeta Beta Tau house on 115th Street between Broadway and Riverside Drive. The Greek judicial board recommended this week to dismantle the Columbia chapter of ZBT, but the fraternity will appeal the decision, national leadership said Thursday.

Updated, 6:55 p.m.

The Greek judicial board recommended this week to dismantle the Columbia chapter of Zeta Beta Tau, but the fraternity will appeal the decision, national leadership said Thursday.

Laurence Bolotin, executive director of ZBT international, said in an email Thursday that his organization had been informed that "the recommendation by the peer review board was to remove recognition" from Columbia's chapter.

The Inter-Greek Council Judicial Board recommended the rescission of ZBT's recognition, which would effectively end the chapter's presence at Columbia. The fraternity would also lose its house on 115th Street between Broadway and Riverside Drive.

"The organization will be appealing this decision," Bolotin said.

Student Affairs spokesperson Katharine Cutler said in an email Thursday that Dean of Community Development and Multicultural Affairs Terry Martinez had accepted the recommendation of the judicial board, and that ZBT has the right to appeal.

In a statement Wednesday evening, the IGC announced that a Greek organization would lose its charter after committing a hazing infraction, but did not specify the organization. IGC said the decision would be upheld.

"We are deeply saddened that this event took place and are extremely disappointed in the actions of this chapter and want to reiterate that the Greek Community at Columbia University does not align itself with organizations that engage in actions that psychologically or physically harm others," the council said.

"ZBT has a zero tolerance policy for hazing," Bolotin said, adding that the fraternity abolished pledging in 1989 in order to avoid hazing. "When situations arise that go against the values of the organization the Fraternity handles those issues on both an individual as well as chapter level."

The national organization "will be working closely with the Columbia University administration to determine next steps," Bolotin said.

The University Regulations define hazing as "any action or situation which recklessly or intentionally endangers mental or physical health or involves the forced consumption of liquor or drugs for the purpose of initiation into or affiliation with any organization," and note that "any organization that authorizes such conduct may be subject to rescission of its permission to operate on University campuses or property."

The council said that the Greek community at Columbia "made tremendous strides in defining and upholding the values of Scholarship, Leadership and Empowerment."

"Furthermore, the IGC fully supports the IGC Judicial Board and the Greek Community’s system of self-accountability. That being said, we do not believe that this incident at its core is an issue of weak Greek values."

Abby Abrams contributed reporting.

news@columbiaspectator.com | @ColumbiaSpec

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