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Beta to remain on suspension

Published: Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Updated: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 17:08

The Beta Theta Pi fraternity at UCF will remain on suspension until further notice, according to the Florida Fifth District of Courts.

The fraternity's motion to stay was denied by the court Wednesday morning.

By denying the fraternity's motion to stay, Beta Theta Pi will remain on suspension until the court has come to a decision on whether or not the suspension should be uplifted completely.

If the motion had been approved, Beta Theta Pi would have been able to operate as any other Greek life organization until the court's final decision of the suspension was announced. This includes participation in rush and other activities.

In November 2008, members of the UCF chapter of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity were involved in an investigation conducted by the Oxford Police Department in Oxford, Ohio, facing charges of sexual misconduct, vandalism and destruction of property. Members of the UCF chapter were in Oxford, Ohio, for a national initiation ceremony.

In February, the UCF Student Conduct Board suspended the organization for two years.

Two individual members of Beta Theta Pi also faced charges from UCF, but both were dismissed.

The fraternity appealed the conduct board's ruling in May, but was denied by the university.

On June 2, the fraternity again appealed the ruling, this time to the Florida State Fifth District of courts.

In early August, members of both the fraternity and UCF administration met with a state-appointed mediator to try to come to a compromise, but nothing was resolved, said Jordan Kramer, the lawyer representing the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.

In the fraternity's appeal, the organization called for a motion to stay, which would grant them rights as a registered organization on campus until the final decision was made by the court.

UCF refused to comment on the denial of the fraternity's motion to stay.

Whether or not the court decides to rule in favor of the fraternity, Kramer said that the case is far from over.

"Individual members of the fraternity and their parents have expressed a great interest in continuing this further," Kramer said. "This is only the beginning. This case is far from over."

Kramer is an attorney with Howze, Monaghan, Theriac & Kramer, PLC. in Brevard County.

 

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12 comments

Stephen
Fri Aug 28 2009 17:09
Boots on the Ground, you say that "All the members had to do was to act in accordance with the ritual and ideals that they swore an oath to follow." Just because they're found "in violation" doesn't mean that they actually did, in reality, commit a violation. And you're right that the courts have said that the university can establish their own procedures for handling misbehavior. But the fact that such procedures can be legally established does not mean that such procedures are fair. The reason that many students wish that the Student Conduct Review Process would more closely resemble the Constitution is because many students do not feel that the procedures are fair and that the procedures in the Constitution ARE. Just because the university CAN do something does not make it right.
In the know
Thu Aug 27 2009 23:50
This is actually worse than Duke Lacrosse. In the Duke Lacrosse case the now disbarred Mike Nifong was trying to make headlines and get elected to office, so he was the main instigator. Duke University blindly followed his lead and did nothing to stop him or help the Duke students when they found out he was wrong.

In the UCF case the university administration and office of student conduct stand alone as the bad guys. UCF is acting as the Mike Nifong of this case. They are solely responsible for this travesty.

same as duke
Thu Aug 27 2009 14:40
Yeah I still don't know what the heck happened. Why would an entire fraternity be kicked out after a girl alleged that 15 raped her? Did they gang bang her in the name of Beta Theta @ UCF? What if there was only 1 UCF guy and 14 Ohio guys? This seems like Duke Lacrosse.

I’m not exactly a Greek enthusiast and I think some of our Greek organizations have brought us some insanely negative publicity in the past (pledges being found with diapers while broken hotdogs were on the floor and they were crying because presumably they were butt raped), but I don’t see how the entire fraternity should receive blame for the actions of a few.

Our administrators might have jumped the gun on making the decision to suspend them or kick them out just like they did to the Tailgating rules. They’re taking the “when in doubt kick em’ out” approach to cover their behinds. Now you might end up getting a bunch of naked people running around campus. www.knightstail.webs.com

Yea...i went there
Thu Aug 27 2009 13:51
This article was poorly written. First, its the Fifth District Court of Appeal, not the Fifth District of Courts. Second, the suspension would not be "uplifted"....unless it was inspired. Poor wording. Who writes this crap?

Oh, and by the way...Beta needs to rape chicks because they cant get any the normal way. What do you expect from a bunch of off campus rejects.

Not So Proud
Thu Aug 27 2009 01:57
@Boots on The Ground

It does say a lot about the character of the UCF administators. They don't appear to concerned about finding the truth. They would rather sacrifice 100 students they know to be innocent then admit they were wrong. The will protect the University's name at all costs even at the expence of their own students. They will bend or break the rules to get what they want.

Now thats what I call character.

But of course you are correct: If Beta would not have gone to Ohio for their initiation, or decided to go out to a bar to celebrate this event and their alumnus had never slept with a drunk girl he met at this bar, none of this would have ever happened. Shame on them! They deserve to be called gang rapists for that sort of behavior.

Not So Proud
Thu Aug 27 2009 01:21
@Proud to be at a college that knows the PR game

I am glad you are so proud. I doubt you would be if you really knew the details of how the OSC conducted itself. Any organization or student, including you, could be treated just as unfairly. That's what you should really be concerned about. Who is next on the OSC hit list. It's great to blindly believe that the ends justify the means until it's you who are made the scapegoat. Hopefully you will never have to experience being falsely accused of a horrible act like these guys were.

Just to bring you up to speed, it is now clear that the women in Ohio only had sex with one guy who was an alumnus. She apparently decided to pay back a few guys who embarrassed her has she left the hotel the next morning and cover up her promiscuity (she admitted to having "blackout sex" before several times and had a binge drinking problem) by reporting that she had been raped by 15 guys. She later recanted and said she only remembered having sex with one guy.

Once the university realized this they decided to resort to the organizational responsibility rule claiming since they invited the guy who slept with her that they were also responsible. They didn't bother to mention to the press that none of the guys in Beta had sex with her, that most of the guys in Beta never met her and that several didn't even go to Ohio. They just allowed them all to be called gang rapists by the press in order to save face.

I ask you to imagine for just one moment you were the one accused. Imagine that one day you were a proud UCF student and the next day you are being called a gang rapist on the evening news. Imagine the cameras and the microphones and the satellite trucks outside hounding you for days. Imagine that first call to your Dad or Mom to tell them you and all 100 of your fraternity members are accused of rape. Imagine the fear and anguish of being accused of something you consider abhorrent by your own university. All the while, remember that you never met this girl.

I ask you to truly imagine yourself as the one falsely accused sexual misconduct, branded as a gang rapist, then punished with a two year suspension for something you didn't do. Would you still be proud? Would you still think the university did the right thing.

Boots on the ground
Thu Aug 27 2009 01:12
College students do have constitutional rights...but a university is entitled to establish a procedure for dealing with misbehavior and other issues and the courts have consistently held that universities may do so. The criminal standard that you cited is just that--the civil standard is preponderance of the evidence, and that is much different than beyond a reasonable doubt.

Beta had plenty of chances to avoid this situation--the tipping point came before the assault. All the members had to do was to act in accordance with the ritual and ideals that they swore an oath to follow.

It says a great deal for the character of UCF that administrators were willing to tackle a difficult off-campus situation.

Your not a fan of contractions
Wed Aug 26 2009 21:41
I know it wasn't an accident because you did it twice.
Your in college and your still a moron
Wed Aug 26 2009 21:35
To "Proud to be at a college that knows the PR game",

Your an idiot. That is all.

Proud to be at a college that knows the PR game.
Wed Aug 26 2009 20:14
I don't know what happened, but it was certainly one of two things. Either Beta did some or all of what they were accused of in Ohio, or else they found themselves in a beartrap of bad PR by being faced with obscene charges. Thus, UCF made the decision to cut them either because they knew Beta did it (and proof or not, guilt is guilt), or else they had no idea if they did it or not but let the ax fall so that UCF could protect itself from the PR beartap Beta was already in.

In the incredibly negative court that is public perception, beta was guilty the second they were accused of the crime. UCF, however, kept itself out of that court of public opinion (as best as it could) by taking the action it did. I'm not a beta, and I could sympathize with them if they were wrongly accused and then dismissed by the college just to save face. But, I am a UCF student, and I don't want my college to be subject to the negative PR the beta brought upon us. Regardless of actual guilt (which could be the case), UCF took action to protect it's students reputations via it's own name, before protecting one of it's minor organizations.

And that's worse case scenario. For all we know, Beta was guilty, and UCF knew it. We all know OJ did it, so let's not pretend that innocent until proven guilty works everytime. The benefit of a doubt only goes so far.

In the know
Wed Aug 26 2009 19:34
@Someone had to say it above

The above comment is not to far off. Because many university student conduct organizations, including the UCS office of Student Conduct, do not have to hold to the same standards of due process and proof beyond a reasonable doubt like the real court system in the United States, they are allowed essentially to put people and organizations on probation with only hearsay evidence and supposition. (double secret probation)

The Office of Student Conduct at UCF essentially used the "We can't prove it, but we all know what happened" approach in hearings to find Beta "in violation". I only thank God we are not subjected to this mockery in the real court system. It is why are founding fathers were so careful to incorporate a bill of rights into the constitution. I guess the founding fathers should have included a line that "these rights also apply to college students".

Until something changes, I would warn any college student to be very careful as at present the OSC is essentially functioning by it's own set of bendable rules without any oversight. And if you think that that set of rules is "The Golden Rule", you better think again. Just ask Beta The OSC used the rules that suited them and helped them find Beta "in violation" and ignored or broke the ones that didn't suit their needs. Beta never had a chance!

Luckily we are not subjected to this foolishness in the United States of America. Wait, this is the United States of America!

Someone had to say it
Wed Aug 26 2009 15:43
Next, they will be put on Double Secret Probation!




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