This story has been updated to include a statement from the chapter and University.
Cornell’s Zeta Beta Tau fraternity has been placed on probationary recognition after the University found that it was conducting a “pig roast” in which “new members could accumulate ‘points’ by engaging in sexual intercourse with women.”
The new members were instructed not to inform the women of the contest and, in case of a tie, the member who had sex with a woman who weighed the most won, according to an investigation conducted by the University’s Fraternity and Sorority Review Board that concluded last month.
The report said the contest occurred in 2017, but did not specify who was involved or for how long the contest ran. The brothers were made aware of the allegations in December before a hearing with the review board.
Vice president for student and campus life Ryan Lombardi said ZBT’s behavior “is abhorrent to me and antithetical to our values as a community.”
“Behavior that degrades and dehumanizes women contributes to a climate and culture of tolerance for sexual violence,” Lombardi said.
In response to the report, ZBT released a formal statement saying these events were not “chapter sanctioned activities nor ones that brothers were aware of.”
The release also said that the “allegations described are contrary to the values that Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity espouses and works in direct conflict with the beliefs and missions of the Kappa Chapter.”
ZBT will be on probationary recognition for two years and must fulfill other requirements, including a full chapter brotherhood and external review by its national organization. It also has to participate in programs like Sexual Assault Awareness Week and Cornell’s bystander intervention program. The statement confirmed the chapter’s intentions of following through with these requirements, stating “this inexcusable behavior will not be tolerated.” “
Through this brotherhood review process if we identify individual brothers we find not committed to [social responsibility and integrity] they will be expelled from the brotherhood,” the statement said.
ZBT’s actions, according to Paul Russell ’19, interfraternity council president, are “not normal” and IFC has been “working to make sure these sorts of incidents don’t become normalized.”
“The IFC was appalled and disgusted by the activity described in the reports,” Russell said. “The decision about the specific sanctions placed on ZBT was made jointly by administrators and IFC leadership in a review board hearing earlier this year after a hearing and a review of the allegations.”
The review board found the chapter guilty of violating the University’s Fraternity and Sorority Recognition Policy by implementing section 11 of Cornell’s Fraternity and Sorority Expectations of Membership, which prohibits “sexually abusive behavior on the part of its members.”
“We think the IFC and the Office of Sorority and Fraternity life are uniquely poised to respond to this type of activity because we can and have mandated that the chapter now participate in programming to educate their members about sexual misconduct and help them to foster a healthy culture,” Russell said.
In the statement the brothers expressed their “mutual disgust,” saying they are “horrified at the notion of the degradation and/or objectification of women.”
“We intend to offer this programming to the entire community as we believe this is a message and area of concern that impacts the entire Cornell Community,” the statement said. “ZBT intends to be a convener and leader in this type of education.”
The chapter is also required to work closely with the OSFL this semester to hire an adviser, do a facility walkthrough, create a transition program and have monthly meetings about progress updates.
“While sanctions have been levied against this fraternity by the Fraternity and Sorority Review Board,” Lombardi said, “the campus community will be watching to see whether the members of ZBT – as individuals and as a group – live up to their public pledge to demonstrate ‘through our actions that this inexcusable behavior will not be tolerated.”
Alisha Gupta ’20 contributed reporting to this article.