'Pig roast' contest awarded fraternity members points for sex, chapter now on probation

2018-02-09 | The Kansas City Star

Feb. 08--New members of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity at Cornell University participated in a fat-shaming sex contest last year where they accumulated points for having sex with women, university officials say.

In case of a tie, the winner was the member who slept with the heaviest woman.

The game was called a "pig roast."

University official Ryan Lombardi called it "abhorrent."

"Behavior that degrades and dehumanizes women contributes to a climate and culture of tolerance for sexual violence," Lombardi, vice president for student and campus life, told The Cornell Daily Sun.

Cornell has placed the fraternity on probation for two years. In a statement, the fraternity said that members involved could be expelled from the chapter.

The fraternity said the events were not "chapter sanctioned activities nor ones that brothers were aware of" and 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."

According to its website, Zeta Beta Tau was founded in 1898 in New York City and is the nation's oldest and largest historically Jewish fraternity, with nearly 50 years of non-sectarian membership.

An investigation by the school's Fraternity and Sorority Review Board found that new members were told not to say anything about the contest to the women they had sex with. The investigation results are posted on Cornell's website.

What the fraternity did is not "normal," Paul Russell, president of Cornell's Interfraternity Council, told the Sun.

The council, he said, 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."

The school's Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life received multiple reports of misconduct at Zeta Beta Tau in 2017.

The investigation determined that the fraternity violated Cornell's policy prohibiting fraternities and sororities from engaging in hazing activities.

It also violated policies prohibiting any form of sexually abusive behavior -- physical, mental or emotional -- by fraternity or sorority members, the report concluded.

Along with probation, the chapter is required to conduct its own review, as well as undergo one by its national organization. Findings are due by March 31.

The chapter was ordered to hire a live-in adviser by the fall 2018 semester to stay there through the probationary period.

And, Cornell is requiring at least 75 percent of the fraternity's members to attend at least two events during Cornell's Sexual Assault Awareness Week in April.

"The brothers of the Kappa Chapter of Zeta Beta Tau would like to first and foremost express our mutual disgust along with those who feel hurt or victimized," the fraternity's statement said.

"Your feelings are legitimate and appropriate reactions to something of this nature. The Kappa Chapter of Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity is horrified at the notion of the degradation and/or objectification of women, and the impact it has had on men and women across the United States, and at Cornell.

"We, too, are in disbelief and even more so that these alleged actions may have been taken by those whom we called brothers.

"As a result, we are looking inward to ensure this type of behavior never occurs by anyone connected with ZBT, or the campus community as a whole, on our watch."