University must update campus about Beta
Beta Theta Pi was suspended from campus last semester after allegations regarding the filming and circulation of sexually explicit photos and video, which led to a subsequent investigation into severe hazing. The suspension was announced in an email by Dean of Student Affairs Gina Casalegno. During the summer, Beta’s national chapter announced that their Carnegie Mellon chapter would permanently close.
Carnegie Mellon refused to comment on the incident at the time because the University Police’s investigation was still ongoing. However, since that message in the spring, there has been no update from university administration about the investigation’s progress or its conclusion.
Carnegie Mellon needs to inform the university community of the current status of the Beta investigation.
Beta has come into the spotlight again, as Rolling Stone magazine recently published its list of “The Most Out-Of-Control Fraternities in America” last month and ranked Carnegie Mellon’s Beta chapter fourth in the nation.
Though the scandal surrounding individuals in Beta may have faded, the incident itself has clearly not disappeared, and neither has its impact on the Carnegie Mellon community. Any violation of students’ rights to safety and privacy is a black mark against the university. Carnegie Mellon should avoid an unsavory reputation for Greek life, especially because Greek life is an important and vibrant part of the campus community. Carnegie Mellon should be as open and transparent as possible regarding the scandal’s aftermath to protect its reputation.
The university should be more responsible to its student body by informing the campus community if the investigation is still ongoing, and if it is not, what conclusions the University Police have reached so far. The university should also specify what legal repercussions the investigation will yield. While the university cannot release the names of individuals accused of crimes in connection with the scandal, the campus community should know if charges have been filed, and what those charges were.
The university should also open a dialogue about what steps are being taken to ensure that an incident like this does not occur again.
No matter how many individuals were involved in the incident, the university has an obligation to ensure that individuals do not commit acts of questionable nature within a student organization again. In creating a dialogue, the university should also inform the campus community of what steps they have already taken to minimize the possibility of future incidents.
The Beta scandal is a delicate issue, and must be treated with the utmost care. However, handling a situation with the care it deserves and failing to keep the campus community informed about such a monumentally important issue are not the same thing. The university should release an update on the Beta investigation as soon as possible.