Penn State frat members suspended for nude photos on Facebook

Penn State frat members: The national office of Kappa Delta Rho says Monday the 38 members at Penn State violated the fraternity's values. 

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
James Vivenzio, left, listens to his attorney Aaron J. Frewiald during news conference Monday, June 8, 2015, in Philadelphia. Vivenzio, a former student who blew the whistle on a Penn State fraternity's secret Facebook page featuring photos of naked women says the university ignored his complaints about sexual assault, hazing and drug use. Vivenzio of Great Falls, Virginia, says in a lawsuit Monday against the university and the suspended frat that he waited eight months for Penn State to take action before going to police in January.

Nearly 40 members have been expelled from a Penn State fraternity that's been suspended for three years over a Facebook page featuring photos of nude and semi-nude women.

The national office of Kappa Delta Rho says Monday the 38 members violated the fraternity's values. Other members will be moved to alumni status.

Kappa Delta Rho executive director Joseph Rosenberg said in a statement that fraternity members who assumed responsibility for their actions wouldn't be expelled. He says chapter President Tom Friel exhibited outstanding leadership traits.

The actions have no effect on their status at the school.

In May, Penn State shut down the fraternity and the national KDR fraternity revoked the charter of the Penn State Zeta chapter for three years.

At the time Penn State found:

  • A persistent climate of humiliation for several females including regular posts to the Facebook page of photos that were embarrassing to women, including the aforementioned photos of unconscious or sleeping subjects.
  • Hazing - or fraternity initiation - activities including from pledge boxing matches, or making pledges "plank," holding their body weight on their arms, with bottle caps placed underneath their elbows.
  • Pledges also were made to create stories containing pornographic images and a "sex position of the day." 
  • The alleged use and sale of drugs and underage drinking.

The school says it won't recognize the fraternity until 2018.

Rosenberg said, according to Pennlive.com, that the fraternity is strengthening its programs regarding education on sexual assault and abuse of drugs and alcohol, and has entered into an agreement with Campus Clarity to provide training.

As The Christian Science Monitor reported: “Penn State immediately shutting down the fraternity shows they are willing to at least make swift progress when something like this happens.... Universities are starting to have more of a low-tolerance or zero-tolerance policy for racism and sexual violence on campus,” says Tracey Vitchers, spokeswoman for SAFER (Students Active for Ending Rape).

Some fraternities are trying to get out in front on these issues, inviting advocacy groups to offer prevention training to members, and that offers some hope, Ms. Vitchers says, even if the motivation is largely risk management.

Last fall, the Fraternal Health & Safety Initiative Consortium, representing members on about 550 campuses, began offering research-based curriculums in three areas: alcohol and drug abuse, sexual misconduct and assault, and hazing. The effort is sponsored by James R. Favor & Co., an insurance company.

There are also 40 chapters of the Fraternal Values Society, a group that promotes peer-led work to make fraternities and sororities more centered on ethical values. It’s an extension of the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values (AFLV), based in Fort Collins, Colo.

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