Psi Upsilon Fraternity is located on 2 Forest Park Lane on West Campus.

Brittney Chew / Sun News Photography Editor

Psi Upsilon Fraternity is located on 2 Forest Park Lane on West Campus.

May 25, 2016

Cornell University Revokes Recognition of Psi Upsilon Fraternity

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Cornell University has revoked its recognition of the Psi Upsilon fraternity for three years effective immediately, the Office of Fraternities, Sororities and Independent Living announced today.

The revocation is a result of two recent incidents, including the fraternity’s alleged hosting of a Slope Day party, a “blatant violation” of the terms of interim suspension and the order of a University official delivered to acting chapter leaders, a University statement said.

The chapter’s recent judicial history — which includes 31 alleged judicial complaints — was also a factor contributing to the revocation, according to the statement.

The fraternity’s house, located at 2 Forest Park Lane, must be vacated by May 31. The chapter may appeal the decision in writing within 72 hours, the statement said.

The fraternity may request recognition anytime after the three-year period, but, if approved, the fraternity will remain on provisional recognition status for at least two calendar years, according to the University.

Without University recognition, no chapter can take advantage of benefits including normal operations and recruitment of new members, according to the University recognition policy.

No information was presented to the board that demonstrated the chapter’s involvement in the alleged sexual assault incident on Jan. 31, according to the statement.

The University placed Psi Upsilon on interim suspension on Feb. 1 following sexual assault allegations against president of Psi Upsilon fraternity Wolfgang Ballinger ’17, The Sun previously reported.

Ballinger pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree attempted rape, first-degree criminal sexual act and first-degree sexual abuse.

Ballinger is now filing a civil lawsuit against Cornell claiming that the University’s investigations do not comply with state guidelines, The Sun previously reported.

Several students, both in Greek life and not, said they agreed with the decision to revoke the fraternity’s recognition. Kevin Kee ’18 said he believes Psi Upsilon “had it coming.”

“There have been a lot of issues with sexual assault this year, so I assumed Cornell would put its foot down,” he said. “Even if the revocation was a result of breaking the rules, I think Cornell was just looking for an excuse to deal with [the sexual assault incident].”

Ritwik Dan ’18, a member of Cornell Kappa Sigma fraternity, said he was initially surprised by the news, especially considering Psi Upsilon’s reputation on campus.

“But after hearing about it, the revocation of recognition makes sense to me, not because I think it’s entirely justified, but because I think the University reacted the way I would expect it to after the events that took place,” he said.

Dan added that he believes there seems to be an “inconsistency” in the University’s punishments.

“A few years ago Chi Psi was kicked off campus for relatively serious hazing allegations, while this year Psi Upsilon is kicked off for throwing a party — albeit while under interim suspension — on Slope Day of all days,” he said. “Hazing is way worse than throwing a party, but the University gave the same punishment for two very different scenarios.”

Dylan Madoff ’17 said he believes there is no “gray area” regarding the revocation — the rules were “laid out” and “broken.”

“I don’t get the sense that these guys had any real fear of consequences at all,” Madoff said. “It makes me wonder where that sort of mentality came from. Either these Ivy League students made a one-off decision that was monumentally stupid or they have been getting away with way too much in the past.”