Pennsylvania State University Tuesday shut down a fraternity whose members allegedly photographed and posted pictures of nude women -- some of whom appeared to be sleeping or passed out, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The decision comes after a school investigation that reportedly found -- among other things -- evidence of hazing, drug use and sales, and sexual misconduct and harassment.
The pictures were allegedly posted by members of the university's Kappa Delta Rho (KDR) fraternity to private Facebook pages, with reports first surfacing about the situation in March. Penn State President Eric Barron said the investigation uncovered evidence of "exploitation in terms of photographs," the Inquirer reported. The university told the newspaper Tuesday night the investigation found there was harassment of two females, and "photographing individuals in extremely compromising positions and posting those photos online."
"The investigative report makes clear that some members of the KDR chapter promoted a culture of harassing behavior and degradation of women," Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs at Penn State, said in a post on the university's site. "These are not acceptable actions within a student organization that is recognized and supported by Penn State.”
The university decided to opt for a more severe punishment than was initially recommended by the student-led Interfraternity Council, which governs Penn State Greek life. The council had decided the fraternity would be able to keep its recognition on campus, while taking steps to change the culture of the group, WPMT, York, Pennsylvania, reported. Sims sent a letter to the council concerning the three-year loss of recognition, which said, "the sum of the organizational misbehaviors is far more than the university can tolerate" from a student organization on campus. The letter said some members of KDR were "passive observers" of the activities, but also said the investigation "revealed a persistent series of deeply troubling activities within the fraternity."
The investigation found pledges were required to make stories with pornographic photos and a "sex position of the day," the Inquirer reported. There were reportedly other instances of hazing covering a wide range of severity -- including pledges being forced to rest their body weight on bottle caps or being made to clean the fraternity house. State police reportedly began investigating the situation in January after a former KDR member revealed the private social media pages, but the status of the police investigation was not available Tuesday night, the Inquirer said.
“This is not a fraternity that's operating in an appropriate way,” Barron said, according to the Inquirer. “We're making a very strong statement about sexual harassment and sexual assault. So I'm not going to go back on that stance that we're taking.”