STAFF EDITORIAL | Kill the rumors, address why TKE closed

Published Aug. 29, 2012

After an investigation, an unsuccessful appeal and the removal of three Greek letters, Tau Kappa Epsilon no longer has a place at Butler University.

Anyone not involved knows nothing about why the doors closed, and everyone who is involved isn’t talking—opening the floodgates for nasty rumors and speculation.

Butler officials are in a position to take an opportunity to show how the university takes students’ bad behavior seriously, yet they have shied away from taking a stand.

The speculation—the rumors of hazing, the thought of sexual misconduct  and the possibility of poor academic standing—will be heard over their silence and vague answers.

In the end, it serves in the best interest of everyone in the Butler community to dispel the rumors and reveal why a fraternity that had been here for more than six decades suddenly disappeared from campus.

The community could have greatly benefited from having an open, honest and transparent conversation with administrators. Instead, the Butler community was left with a vague email over the summer and general comments from university officials.

In “TKE chapter shut down” (Aug. 22), President Jim Danko said that the charges against the organization were serious enough that people were at risk.

The TKEs were not acting as they should have and were violating university policy, a communications director with the TKE’s national headquarters said.

Even more troubling is that Danko and Vice President of Student Affairs Levester Johnson were both quick to say that TKE had been under the university’s magnifying glass for quite some time—three to four years.

If people were at risk because of what TKE members were doing, those actions should not have carried on for three to four years.

Despite university policy violations and risky behavior, the only thing any administrators or the national headquarters will reveal is a laundry list of what could have gone wrong with the chapter—anything from academic performance to day-to-day chapter operations to recruitment and hazing.

Those reasons don’t stack up evenly.

Hazing is far riskier behavior than not having enough pledges or maintaining a good grade-point average. They should not be equated.

When administrators removed Phi Delta Theta from campus in fall 2002, rumors flooded across campus and students were coming up with their own versions of the story.

Speculations about drugs and hazing rituals littered the campus and cast a terrible light on the issue.

It wasn’t until the chapter was reinstated six years later that administrators put those rumors to rest.

It wasn’t hazing, they said, and it had nothing to do with drugs—it was because of low recruitment numbers.

Had the university been honest and upfront in the first place, it would have saved them time spent trying to clean up the damage the rumors caused.

Today, administrators find themselves in the same position past administrators were in a decade ago.

And they should do what past administrators did not—squash the rumors and address the issue at hand.

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