SHU halts expansion of Beta Theta Pi fraternity

Seton Hall University has decided to delay the expansion of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity to its campus until next year. At that time, the administration will reconsider its expansion, according to Michael Davis, assistant director of Leadership Development.

“Following the tragic death of Timothy Piazza at Penn State, it is prudent that we take the time to reflect on what’s best for our community,” Davis said via email.

Piazza died on Feb. 4, 2017, after falling down a flight of stairs while intoxicated at a Beta Theta Pi initiation event, according to nbcnews.com.

Also, Davis said that Seton Hall’s administration works to ensure similar events do not happen on SHU’s campus.

Photo via Highpoint University’s website

“We work closely with our Greek organizations and their national offices as partners in many areas of education and effective risk management,” Davis said. “We want all students to make smart, healthy choices for themselves, their peers, and their organizations.”

Beta Theta Pi was contacted by The Setonian for comment on Seton Hall’s decision to delay the expansion, but the fraternity did not respond.

A few SHU students voiced their thoughts on the university’s decision.

Laura Sorrentino, rising sophomore marketing and management major and sister of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority, said that while she does not necessarily agree with the school’s decision, she does understand it.

“I think they’re probably doing it to cover themselves from any bad press…people shouldn’t allow the repulsive behavior of
one chapter to take down an entire organization that took years upon years to build,” Sorrentino said.

Moe Jaman, rising junior finance, information technology management and accounting major and founding president of the Phi Delta Theta chapter on Seton Hall’s campus, echoed Sorrentino’s sentiments.

“I’m a little surprised to see Seton Hall make this decision,” he said. “I don’t believe that a few bad apples can ruin the whole bunch, but from a public relations standpoint, I do understand that Seton Hall may want Beta Theta Pi to have a cleaner reputation when coming to our campus.”

Matthew Minor, rising sophomore, diplomacy and international relations major and brother of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, felt differently about Seton Hall’s decision to delay the expansion.

“The incident at Penn State is seriously concerning, and I think that it sends the message to SHU students that our Greek leadership is serious about upholding certain standards on campus,” Minor said.

Alyssa Wenstrom, rising junior elementary and special education major and sister of the Alpha Sigma Tau sorority, felt the same as Minor.

“I feel that allowing time to pass is what will assist the Seton Hall community in providing a more genuine welcome to Beta Theta Pi,” she said. “In the end, it’s all about creating a safe, welcoming environment for everyone – both current and future members of the Greek community at Seton Hall.”

Isabel Soisson can be reached at isabel.soisson@student.shu.edu.

Author: Isabel Soisson

Isabel Soisson is a journalism major from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She currently serves as Assistant News Editor of The Setonian. She also studied voice for 6+ years and still continues to on the side.

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1 Comment

  1. To the Editor

    What a pity that SHU would belatedly come to a bad decision regarding the expansion of Beta Theta Pi to its campus at this time. The dreadful events regarding the since-closed chapter at Penn State and its immediately-expelled members who perpetrated those crimes demonstrated the Fraternity’s standing by its Code of Conduct, Purpose, Principles and Policies in a bold and forthright fashion. Much of what has been conducive to outrageous behavior at Penn State lies at the feet of that university’s wretchedly poor administration , particularly the Greek Life office, whose abdication of responsibility condoned or turned a blind eye to unacceptable conditions there enabling the situation to turn especially tragic. Certainly SHU’s Administration is nowhere near as lax, otherwise the University would never have been considered as a site for expansion by Beta Theta Pi.

    That the engaged young men who are pledged to creating a new Chapter at Seton Hall are being deprived of the opportunity to proceed with their hopes of building a Brotherhood or to have their plans be delayed indeterminately stifles their moral and educational development. I certainly hope that these innocent victims of a not-thoroughly thought-out process will soon be informed that SHU has reversed its hasty decision and not prevent nor delay these young men the benefits of establishing a great and good fraternity at their chosen Alma Mater.

    Sincerely,

    Tom Lipton
    Beta Theta Pi
    Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, ’63
    ( residing in Munich, Germany )

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