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.”

  • Alum

    Cornell suspended the fraternity on the very same day that the news of Wolfgang Ballinger’s lawsuit against Cornell was reported in the Ithaca Journal. Does this not look like retribution by Cornell?

    • You’re clearly in Psi U

      Actually it looks more like Psi U’s president raped someone, Psi U got put on probation, and then they violated their probation, knowing full well what the punishment was.

      • Alum

        Actually I’m an alumna, and no one in my family has ever been in a frat. But I can recognize retribution when I see it.

        • Clearly not.

    • nothinghaschanged

      Psi U is in desperate damage control right now. It’s unfortunate that the reputations of Cornell and Webster Hall (my favorite venue), to a lesser extent, have been hurt by a group of extremely predictable guys with bad affluenza. This is how I see their embarrassing allegations playing out:

      1. Psi U and close friends will reflexively deny and try to suppress everything not already established as fact – the Vendela Norman claims show this in action. One of the more “exclusive” frats, but I remember them welcoming groups of friends of friends of friends in their house ALL THE TIME. I ended up there several random nights while I was in college, yet was never really friends with any brothers. Maybe a lot has changed since I left.

      2. Psi U will extrapolate meaningless nuance of their situation to argue that they are being treated unfairly. They are very good complainers.

      3. When #1 and #2 get nowhere, they will try to intimidate the administration in fancy ways. Their rhetoric sometimes resembles what N Korea uses to threaten the world (see other comments lol), but this will get more serious when they lawyer up (one already has?).

      This is Cornell’s best chance yet to cut the cord, but this weird snooty cult won’t be gone for good. Psi U has expensive litigative acrobatics on their side and it will be effective to a certain extent.

      Keep Psi U on your resume for an easy screen at my fund!

  • James

    Vendela Norman has never set foot in psi upsilon. Her false account is a perfect example of the generalizations and lies that have been vastly spread by irritated Cornell students throughout campus

    • nope

      “generalization and lies” – LOL ok

    • Doesn’t Like Apologists

      Apparently this dude has sat on the steps of Psi U for the last two years taking a note of everyone’s name who went in and out.

  • Alum 2

    Why is the account by Vendela deleted now? Double standards.

    • John Doe

      Psi U hired a PR firm and lawyers to contact the Daily Sun about this, so the author removed it. Once again these guys are hiding behind their daddies’ money.

  • John

    It is odd that the writer (Chu) of this article has taken down Vendela Norman’s comment? It is probably due to the fact that it was slanderous and Chu put it in her article only to seek more readers. What has journalism come to? Where are the honest journalists that try and portray the situation objectively rather than use their subjective opinion to influence and form that of their readers.

    • psiurapes

      Maybe you should stop collectively raping people

      • Annie

        If you read the article you would’ve seen that they were kicked off for throwing a party on slope day, and that they had nothing to do with the accusations against their former president. Don’t be ignorant it does, nothing to help the situation. Aren’t these after all your peers?

        • CornellMed

          “Aren’t these after all your peers?”

          You’re kidding me, right?

          I honesty can’t imagine anyone other than psi u and those passionately connected with psi u defending them in these circumstances that they entirely brought on themselves.

          Psi U epitomizes everything wrong with the culture at Cornell right now and I’m glad the administration finally has the balls to take a hard stance against them.

        • Logic

          These people are not my peers. Do you think that when the members of this fraternity elected him as their president they weren’t aware of the character he possesses? No, rather, I’m certain they were fully aware and looked up to his behavior. I’m sure they all thought that being an aggressive, entitled man who doesn’t take no for an answer is cool and exactly what they wanted to be like. A mass of individuals at Cornell are aware of the reputation this house has had for years of being rapey and unsafe. They’re not my peers because I don’t associate with rapists.

          • Grace

            So you’re logic is guilty until proven innocent? You must be a Bernie Sanders supporter? By the mere fact you attend the same school as them they are technically your peers. Have you ever heard of the Duke lacrosse case? That whole team was rapists according to your logic. There were three players that were being accused of rape (by your logic they must have been guilty) and then they were proven to be wrongfully accused. But they must be rapists, according to your logic. Maybe read a bit, and try to be less ignorant… Who knows maybe one day you’ll be the one being accused.

          • Logic


            You can pretend my logic is flawed while daddy gets lawyers, but a large portion of Cornell’s community is fully aware of how rapey and creepy the current members of psi u are. If you are implying that electing Wolfgang to be their president is trivial, you are an idiot. If you are implying that Wolfgang using his daddy’s money to hire lawyers that are expensive enough to silence the girl that he victimized and assaulted makes him not a rapist, you are also an idiot. Stop being an apologist, sit down and accept that your clan of creeps has been disbanded.

    • John Doe

      It was removed because Psi U hired lawyers and PR firms to go at the Daily Sun and get them to remove that quote. Psi U hiding behind their daddies’ money again.

  • Cornell alumnus

    Also defamatory is Ritwik Dan’s characterization that Chi Psi was suspended for serious hazing. He obviously has no idea what happened there. It is probably the most unfair, most unwarranted, most punative and most groundless suspension in the Skorton-Murphy-Hubbell-Marchell-Apgar era. Someday people will wake up and realize those five people have committed more hazing and bullying and caused more emotional harm — and done more to weaken the Geeek system — than anything any student has ever done.

    Suspending Psi U for the years for having one party. You can’t be serious.

    • Marcos

      They were suspended more because Wolfgang is a suspected rapist apart of a notoriously rapey house. If you really think it was for the party I’m not sure what to tell you

      • Cornell alumnus

        Well, if it was for something other than the party, the university should say so. For an administrator to base a harsh decision on a pretext is bullying.

        • Think

          They did. The expulsion is for violatig probation. The probation was imposed because their president is a rapist.

  • Jay

    All of these comments defending Psi U are likely of people who are actually in Psi U right now and are unfairly taking it out on the author. So here’s what I have to say:
    Psi U’s former president is an alleged rapist and there are 31 complaints against Psi U currently being processed. It seems to me like the university is doing the sensible thing. If you defend Psi U, you basically are defending their ability to break the rules when they see fit, and that is a terrible burden to have to defend. It’s much easier to apply blanket rules to everyone.

    Good for Cornell for taking action instead of placing the frat on interim suspension only to later lift it. This is the right move.

    • Cornell alumnus

      Likely many of those 31 complaints date back to before current members applied yo to Cornell. OFSIL’s practice of dredging up old complaints does not meet any educational purpose.

      • CornellMed

        Sorry, but no. Classic psi u rhetoric right here. So many words with so little meaning!

  • Doesn’t Like Apologists

    Commenters who said Vendela Norman never stepped foot in Psi U sounds ridiculous – are you guys security guards there? You have no way of knowing every single person who has been inside of Psi U, despite the fact that you obviously live there. We’ve all heard a million worse stories about the weirdos in Psi U than hers.

  • Lee

    Agreed that all of these comments defending Psi U are from members themselves. There have been sexual assault violations that occur at the fraternity every year I’ve been at Cornell (whether they’ve been covered up or not) and I have a slew of female friends who describe the members of this fraternity as “creeps” and say they don’t feel comfortable going there. What Vendela Norman said was an expression of the true state of reality and it is blasphemous that even after the members of this fraternity elected a rapist to lead them, they have the audacity to act as if they have any sense of morality, integrity, or human value.

  • Dean Wormer

    Fat, drunk & stupid is no way to go through life, son.

    • boboz

      Right on!!!

      • Dean Wormer

        provisional recognition status = double secret probation

  • The Cornell Daily Sun and Chu do not represent the actual facts of situations and as a matter of fact any Sun article falls short of facts and heavy on sensationalism. Shame. Don’t believe everything or anything you read!!!!!

    • Lol

      Ok Wolfgang

  • Alum

    Knew a guy from there, Valdeez. Just like to crush beers and bro out. Top notch. Wouldn’t hurt a fly.

  • D. Westoby

    Cornell is currently searching for a new President. Whoever the Board of trustees anoints would get my vote if they

    1\ banned all fraternities and sororities — period. Seriously, the only reason the Greek system persists is (i) Cornell is afraid of offending rich alumni, many of whom have allegiance to some fraternity or sorority or other, and (ii) having the ‘bad stuff’ happen in a Greek house provides Cornell with a bit of legal cover.

    2\ got serious about putting the blocks on any of the institutional forms of abuse on campus (rush, athletic team hazing). Violations cause expulsion from the University. Period. Multiple violations on a tea (say), coach fired, team disbanded. Period. Problem solved very quickly.

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