Cornell fraternity on probation for secret ‘pig roast’ sex contest

Posted at 4:53 PM, Feb 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-08 18:53:31-05

By Dakin Andone and Chuck Johnston, CNN

A Cornell University fraternity is being disciplined after some of its members participated in a secret sex game called a “pig roast.”

An investigation by the university’s Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life found members of the school’s Zeta Beta Tau chapter held a contest for new members in which they’d earn points for sleeping with women, according to a statement detailing violations by Greek Life communities on the school’s website.

“In the event of a tie,” it said, “additional points were awarded to the new member who had sex with a woman who had weighed the most.” The men were told not to inform the women about the contest.

The office was made aware of the allegations last year and conducted the investigation, which ended last month.

The fraternity has been put on probation for two years, according to the university. The chapter also will be required to hire a live-in adviser by the beginning of the fall 2018 semester, among a slew of other disciplinary actions, including participation in programs about sexual assault.

Some students, such as Cornell junior Sarah Wang, don’t believe the punishment is strong enough.

“At this point it’s kind of just standard that they kind of get off with some type of probation that’s not really a probation,” Wang told CNN affiliate WSTM. “I feel like there’s so many good things that go on on our campus and these are the kinds of things that people will remember us for, rather than the good things.”

The national fraternity said it was “deeply disappointed to learn of allegations that certain men in the Kappa Chapter at Cornell University engaged in activities that degrade women.”

‘Dehumanizes women’

Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi called the behavior “abhorrent” and said it was “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, adding that all members of the Greek system and everyone else on campus must “challenge any form of sexual misconduct and the behaviors that foster it.”

The national fraternity said it would work with the chapter and university officials to conduct a membership review “to rid the chapter of any men” who either participated in the game or had knowledge of it.

The statement added that the fraternity believes all men should treat women with dignity and respect.

‘Shocked and appalled’ at the allegations

The Cornell chapter said in a statement on its Facebook page that chapter leadership was “shocked and appalled” by the “allegations” when it was made aware of them in December. The contest was not sanctioned by the chapter, and the brothers were not aware of it, the post said.

“The allegations described are contrary to the values that Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity espouses and works in direct conflict with the beliefs and mission of the Kappa Chapter,” the members said.

The news comes at a time when fraternities and sororities have been under increased scrutiny for behavior that ranges from offensive to dangerous.

In 2015, the University of Oklahoma severed its ties with the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity after members were caught on video singing a racist chant.

A University of Alabama student is no longer enrolled at the school after a video she posted in which she repeatedly used racial slurs went viral last month. According to CNN affiliate WBRC, she was a member of the Alpha Phi International sorority.

In some of the most egregious instances, pledges have died. At least four young pledges died in 2017 on the campuses of Pennsylvania State University, Louisiana State University, Texas State University and Florida State University.

Three of those cases — in Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Florida — have been linked to fraternity hazing, and resulted in criminal charges being brought against fraternity members.

And last month, a Pennsylvania judge banned a fraternity from operating in the state for 10 years after being found guilty of manslaughter in the 2013 hazing death of Baruch College freshman Michael Deng. Four members who pleaded guilty were given jail time.

Correction: A previous version of this story attributed a racist chant to students of Oklahoma State University. The chant was made by students of University of Oklahoma.</em