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Penn State Suspends KDR For Three Years Despite IFC Decision

Read this post for a comprehensive recap on the initial details surrounding the Kappa Delta Rho investigation.

After a two month investigation that garnered significant national media interest, Penn State handed down a three year suspension to the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity. The university released a statement earlier this evening, which included a letter from Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims, announcing the decision.

“We base this decision on the sum of misbehaviors exhibited by various members of Kappa Delta Rho. Not every member of the chapter was equally culpable for violation of the University’s expectations for recognized student organizations,” said Sims in a letter to the Interfraternity Council. “Even so, the sum of the organizational misbehaviors is far more than the University can tolerate from a student organization that seeks its imprimatur.”

Sims very publicly rejected the Interfraternity Council’s recommendation, which would have allowed KDR to maintain its recognition if it adhered to various stipulations including adopting a comprehensive new member education program and participating in sexual assault and bystander intervention training.

“While the University has delegated to your Council a substantial role in the recognition process, the University has not delegated to it complete authority or autonomy for the decision to recognize a fraternity,” Sims wrote. “The University administration has instead retained the final responsibility for its recognition of these groups, and has exercised that responsibility on prior occasions by reversing your recommendations in the past. We choose to exercise this responsibility in this instance, too.”

The university investigation unveiled more troubling evidence against KDR, including, according to the Penn State release, “sexual harassment and misconduct; hazing activities, such as forcing pledges to run errands, clean the fraternity house, and participate in boxing matches; and [forcing] pledges to ‘plank with bottle caps on their elbows.’ This means they were forced to hold up their body weight on their arms with bottle caps placed underneath.”

More specific to the initial allegations, KDR “pledges also were made to create stories containing pornographic images and a sex position of the day; members regularly posted embarrassing photos of women; used demeaning language to describe females; and cultivated a persistent climate of humiliation for several females,” according to Penn State.

The Office of Student Conduct will handle any cases of individual members who have been found in violation of Penn State’s student code of conduct, which is a private process.

Sims’ letter to the IFC is below.

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