Zeta Beta Tau's national leadership confirmed Tuesday that Columbia has rescinded ZBT's brownstone. Columbia's ZBT chapter will remain a recognized fraternity, according to a statement sent to Spectator by ZBT Executive Director Laurence Bolotin.
Interim Dean of Student Affairs Terry Martinez decided to revoke ZBT's brownstone, on 115th Street between Broadway and Riverside Drive, after members of the baseball team—which constitutes most of ZBT's membership—held a party on May 4 to celebrate winning the Ivy League championship. According to the ZBT statement—which was first reported by the Columbia Lion—administrators determined that this celebration was an unregistered party, and thus a violation of ZBT's social probation.
"A group of baseball players held an impromptu celebration at the ZBT house in the private room of two ZBT baseball team brothers who had been disciplined following a membership review which took place near the end of the Spring semester," the statement read.
ZBT had been placed on social probation following an hazing incident that took place in the fall. The ZBT national statement noted that the fraternity had been placed on probation following "a Fall incident which took place at the house that involved and that was initiated by students not affiliated with the fraternity," seeming to substantiate persistent rumors that ZBT was not entirely to blame for the unspecific hazing incident.
Columbia Student Affairs spokesperson Katherine Cutler confirmed the fall hazing incident Wednesday.
"It was brought to the University's attention that an incident occurred during the fall 2012 semester in the ZBT residence that may have involved hazing. Student Affairs initiated a thorough review of the organization and individuals involved with the case, and it was determined that an act of hazing took place in the house. As a result, all individuals found responsible received judicial sanctions," Cutler said in an email.
The Inter-Greek Council Judicial Board had originally recommended in January that ZBT lose its charter and housing, but after the fraternity appealed the sanctions, then-Dean of Student Affairs Kevin Shollenberger reversed the decision, allowing ZBT to keep its charter and brownstone pending the completion of an action plan.
That action plan stipulated that if the fraternity was found responsible for any additional violations—or if it failed to receive satisfactory ratings on its Alpha Standards—its charter would be revoked and its members immediately removed from the organization's brownstone. The unsanctioned celebration on May 4 was deemed a violation, according to the ZBT statement.
However, students were not removed from the brownstone immediately. The statement said that "due to timing of that membership review and of final exams, the Fraternity and University decided together to allow these individuals to remain in the property through graduation in mid-May."
"University officials were aware that the Chapter's leadership was not involved in organizing the celebration and of the progress made on its action plan to again meet the University's 'Alpha Standards,'" the statement added.
In addition to the delayed rescission of housing, the fraternity's charter has not been revoked.
"ZBT will continue to be recognized on campus and participate in all IGC activities and events, including recruitment this fall," Cutler said.
News of the fraternity potentially losing its housing surfaced on Wednesday, when Bwog reported that at least one transfer student had been assigned to live in the 115th Street brownstone. Several incoming transfer students have posted on Columbia Facebook groups that they have received housing assignments in the brownstone.
The brownstone will be used for general housing assignments this year, Cutler said, although there have been no discussions about future plans for the residence. Cutler added that all members of ZBT who were scheduled to live in the brownstone for the 2013-14 academic year will have guaranteed housing.
"Student Affairs will work closely with each member and staff in Housing Services to ensure as smooth a transfer process as possible," she said.
It is unclear where ZBT might look for future housing, especially now that the University has awarded three 114th Street brownstones—and several East Campus townhouses—to other Greek organizations and student groups. The chapter will work with administrators to determine future housing options, according to the ZBT statement.
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