Pennsylvania State University has shuttered one of its fraternities after frat members were accused of creating private Facebook pages to share pictures of sleeping or otherwise incapacitated barely clothed women.
An investigation into the activities of Kappa Delta Rho was launched by local police after a tip-off from a member about two Facebook pages that allegedly also offered images of drug deals and hazing rituals.
Penn State is only the latest big-name campus in the United States to suffer damage to its reputation after incidences of inappropriate or offensive behaviour by a fraternity or sorority.
“This action is being taken in response to… highly inappropriate photographs that were posted of activities and events that are in direct violation of the standards and values of a recognised student organisation and/or a fraternity at Penn State University,” Lisa Powers, a spokeswoman for the university, said. The suspension order came originally from the Interfraternity Council that oversees all Penn State fraternities.
Meanwhile, Vanderbilt University in Tennessee said it had launched a potential hate crime investigation into the appearance over the weekend of three swastikas inside a Jewish fraternity house. The graffiti was discovered early Saturday after a party at Alpha Epsilon Pi, officials said.
“The university condemns the reprehensible depiction of this symbol that since the time of Nazi Germany has come to be associated with hate, anti-Semitism, violence, death, and murder,” university provost Susan Wente said of the graffiti.
Earlier this month, the University of Oklahoma reacted swiftly after video emerged of members of one of its fraternities engaging in racist chants. Within days it expelled two students who belonged to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and were implicated in the incident.
Police officials at State College in central Pennsylvania said a first Facebook page created by the Penn State fraternity called Covert Business Transactions had been closed down but that a second page was created in its place called, simply, 2.0. They added while both pages have now disappeared and have been wiped from fraternity computers, they have print-outs of some of the offending images as evidence.
Lt Keith Robb of State College Police confirmed they included some of apparently unsuspecting – and unconscious women – in various states of undress. “It appears they were passed out or sleeping,” he said. The private pages were apparently accessible to about 150 people, including current members of the fraternity and former members.