Note: This story appears in the Wednesday, Oct. 2 newspaper on Page A1.
An Ohio University fraternity is being ordered to halt all activities due to alleged conduct that has put local students “at-risk.”
A letter issued Monday demanded ACACIA’s Ohio University chapter “immediately cease and desist all organizational activities.” The fraternity cannot meet in any capacity and members cannot communicate with each other unless it is pre-approved by Taylor Tackett, assistant dean of students at OU. The letter was issued to address alleged conduct that “puts the health and safety of Ohio University students at risk.”
The university has not yet specified what this conduct entailed. The Messenger inquired a campus spokesperson for more details about the allegations early Tuesday, but was told that additional information could not yet be provided while the investigation is ongoing.
The spokesperson said OU was “alerted to reported actions that may be against the student code of conduct.”
Tackett ordered the group to provide a full list of membership, including potential new members or pledges; a full list of anyone given a bid but no longer is involved in the process, as well as the reason they are no longer involved and any documentation related to their removal or withdrawal from the bid process; and all pairings of “bigs” and “littles” among members. The information must be submitted to the university by Wednesday afternoon.
The letter stated that failure to comply would be considered a violation of the OU Student Code of Conduct. It also mentioned that an investigation has been launched by the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility, and that members are expected to appear before that office.
The full letter has been attached to the web version of this story.
Follows earlier troubles
This is not the first time ACACIA has faced an investigation into members’ conduct.
The Messenger reported about an earlier cease and desist order to ACACIA back in 2015. University officials investigated an incident in which members were filmed singing an explicit rendition of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” outside of a sorority house.
The university allowed the chapter to continue operating after the investigation was resolved. A statement from OU said the behavior “was not in alignment with the values” of the university, but that the actions did not rise to the level of violating an OU sexual misconduct policy.
Other Greek life troubles
This marks the second fraternity chapter in Athens to be investigated this year.
The Sigma Pi Epsilon fraternity chapter was expelled from campus for hazing and alcohol violations which reportedly took place during the fall 2018 semester.
The investigation followed the death of an OU freshman, Collin Wiant, 18, of Dublin. Wiant died Nov. 12, 2018 after Athens County Emergency Medical Services and the Athens Police Department found him unresponsive on 45 Mill St. An autopsy found that Wiant died of asphyxiation due to nitrous oxide ingestion.
Wiant was reportedly a pledge to the fraternity, though the chapter has denied that he was in a response to a lawsuit filed by Wiant’s parents.
A letter from Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones announcing the expulsion outlined 11 violations by the fraternity, including hazing, property damage, underage drinking and “harmful behavior.”