Wesleyan Closes Fraternity House Where Student Fell

Wesleyan University has closed the Beta Theta Pi house days after a sophomore fell from a third-story window during a party at the Middletown, Connecticut, fraternity over the weekend.
The students who have been living in the house will be provided alternative university housing, according to the statement from Wesleyan University President Michael Roth and Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Whaley.

“We have lost confidence in the ability of the fraternity members to manage social and residential activities at the house and abide by university policies,” Roth and Whaley said in the statement. “Wesleyan has an obligation to do what it reasonably can to ensure the safety of every member of the community, including the Beta fraternity members and their guests.”

An attempted sexual assault was reported at the house in April 2013.

Another Wesleyan student previously sued the Mu Epsilon chapter, the university, landlord, house manager and the Raymond Duy Baird Memorial Association, which is listed as the owner of the house, after claiming she was sexually assaulted there, according to a Courthouse News Services article from 2012.

“The decision to prohibit students from using the Beta house is based on the long history of incidents there,” Roth and Whaley said in a statement.

The fraternity's national Administrative Secretary Jud Horras said the Wesleyan chapter, which has been on probation, was suspended as a result of the incident.

Horras said the chapter is "in the midst of an extensive period of self-renewal and organization following several years of challenging behavior."

The student who fell over the weekend remains hospitalized and is in stable condition, Middletown police said on Tuesday.

School officials said the Beta house will “remain off-limits to all Wesleyan students for the rest of the academic year at least.”

“Down the road we are open to seeing from the fraternity a considered plan for the house and social activities there that satisfies our expectations for residential life at our university,” the statement says. 

Beta's national headquarters in Ohio responded to the university's decision in a statement Wednesday evening.

“As difficult as it may be at the beginning of the academic year for all of our undergraduate members to be moved by Wesleyan University out of the chapter house into alternative university housing, Beta Theta Pi undergraduates and alumni remain focused first and foremost on the recovery of the young woman who attempted to climb onto the roof of our chapter house this past weekend,” Horras said in the statement.

“She is a close friend to many undergraduate Betas and they are spending time in the hospital supporting her and her family. Initial accounts indicate this appears to have been a simple accident,” he added.

Horras said the fraternity will fully cooperate with Wesleyan and that the chapter's suspension "will provide an opportunity for appropriate measures of collaboration to be acted upon as a result of examining the broader context of the chapter's culture and its short- and long-term future."

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