Following an investigation over allegations of drug and alcohol violations, Theta Chi fraternity has chosen to cut ties with the University of Wisconsin.
In a press release Friday morning, the international Theta Chi Fraternity organization said they will no longer be a Registered Student Organization at UW, but the chapter will continue on campus.
“Theta Chi evaluated its experience with the University’s due process, and the resulting strain it has put on its members in Madison, and made the difficult decision to remove itself from formal University recognition,” the press release said.
According to the press release, one of the biggest concerns Theta Chi leadership experienced during the investigation process was the “absence of true due process,” such as the presumption of guilt the fraternity faced when dealing with the university.
Additionally, the evidence members provided to UW in an attempt to clear their name was called into question and decisions made in the disciplinary proceedings were based on “hearsay instead of facts,” the press release said.
“The Psi Chapter feels that it has been judged under a system with the precedent of ‘guilty until proven innocent’ rather than innocent until proven guilty,” the press release said.
Theta Chi was originally investigated for allegations of drug and alcohol violations that occurred in November 2017. The first of those incidents involved a female high school student whose friends alleged hospital staff found rohypnol in her system after attending a party at the fraternity. That charge was later dropped after Madison Police found no legitimacy to the allegations.
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Following the initial investigation, the chapter was charged with underage drinking at a tailgate party, sending an inappropriate text message and accusations that the high school student was drugged with rohypnol, according to a backgrounder.
On Oct. 9, the Division of Student Life opened another investigation over two additional charges — recruitment activities in violation of probation and unregistered social events at the house. In October, members of the fraternity were interviewed by the Division of Student Life.
On Nov. 26, the chapter was notified UW was investigating yet another charge for hosting a social event where a majority of attendees were allegedly drinking alcohol out of coffee cups. Following this charge, on Nov. 30, Theta Chi sent letters to the UW chancellor and vice chancellor of student affairs to notify them of their disaffiliation.
“Theta Chi no longer sees value or credibility in the Registered Student Organizations and [Committee on Student Organizations] given that violations of their own regulations have occurred in this investigatory process,” the backgrounder said. “In an effort to reduce the stress this process has placed on its students, the Psi Chapter will remove itself from formal university recognition and will now operate independently.”
In response to Theta Chi’s decision, Argyle Wade, interim dean of students, said in a statement that the university is disappointed with their decision.
UW said they made an attempt to communicate with the leaders of Theta Chi in hopes they would act “in a manner consistent with our expectations of our Registered Student Organizations,” Wade said.
Wade added the health and safety of UW students is their top priority, and allegations putting students at risk are taken seriously.