The Phi Beta Epsilon (PBE) fraternity was closed and given a four-year suspension by the Interfraternity Council (IFC) on Tuesday for violating no-tolerance policies on hazing, according to a statement by IFC president Ryan Schoen ’11.
“An (IFC) Judicial Board reviewed allegations of hazing occurring during the Phi Beta Epsilon (PBE) new member program, and found the fraternity responsible of such charges,” Schoen said in the statement.
PBE first received a sanction from the IFC on Monday, Sept. 6, when it was barred from rushing new members. Now that PBE has been suspended, all members living in the house on 400 Memorial Drive will have to move out. In his statement, Schoen said he expects they may be able to stay until the end of the semester. It is unclear what will become of the house, which is owned by the PBE Corporation.
“The FSILG Office fully supports the student-led IFC Judicial Process,” said Marlena Martinez Love, the director of FSILGs (fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups). “I support the decision reached by the IFC Judicial Committee in the findings and sanctioning of PBE. The FSILG Office continues to work closely with the IFC in addressing these important issues and working to uphold the values of and strengthen our FSILG community.”
According to the IFC statement, PBE may be readmitted in the fall of 2014 if they work closely with the FSILG office and the IFC to ensure safe practice. Until then, they are not allowed to “rush, accept new members, hold events, or participate as an organization in any activities.”
Adam D. Doroski ’11, president of PBE, said he is aware of the rumors going around campus, but said most are exaggerated or just plain false. “[People think] somebody was injured, people were embarrassed or whatever — but I can assure you that no one was injured,” Doroski said. “No specific event took place where someone was hurt or anything happened that wouldn’t be legal or otherwise.”
In a statement released by PBE to The Tech, the PBE Corporation president Steven C. Carhart ’70 said that he believes that “the decision reached by MIT is the result of a procedural process that was deeply flawed, was based on an evidentiary record that was wholly inadequate, and it reflects insufficient thought to the broad policy implications of the action taken to all of the stakeholders impacted by this decision.”
“We respect the Institute’s decision. We are dismayed by the result, and we strongly disagree with it,” said Nicholas W. Leonard ’11, the PBE New Member Educator.
“The guys in the house are just shocked, and for the most part, they just cannot believe what has happened,” Doroski said.
On Wednesday the day after news of the suspension broke, PBE brothers were seen all over campus wearing their fraternity letters, and they received an outpouring of support over Facebook from many in the MIT community and PBE alumni.
PBE alumni have rallied around the brothers. “We have been in constant physical proximity and electronic communication to support them in dealing with this in any way we can. And our view is that if there is anything we can do to shelter them from dealing with any of this, then that’s what we are going to try to do,” Carhart said in a phone interview.
He added, “Our absolute highest priorities are to protect the academic opportunities for our undergraduates and give them as stable a living environment as we can, and kind of as a distant second, we would like to say respectfully that we urge people not to feel that something terrible has gone on here because we don’t think there is any reason to feel that way.”
Other alumni that were contacted declined to comment, deferring questions to Carhart.
The fraternity was scheduled to undergo a routine review tomorrow by the Association of Independent Living Groups (AILG), an organization that represents FSILG alumni in conversations with the MIT administration. However, with their suspension, their scheduled review has been cancelled.
“Since the PBE undergraduate organization has been suspended, the accreditation process at PBE has been suspended as well,” said John R. Covert, MIT AILG Accreditation Coordinator. “The PBE alumni organization remains a member of the AILG, and AILG alumni/ae volunteers will be glad to assist PBE alumni in preparing for the establishment of a new PBE undergraduate organization at an appropriate future time.”
It is unclear what PBE plans to do in the upcoming days, weeks, or months, but is exploring its options.
“We’re taking things slowly because obviously PBE is in some sort of trouble right now so we’re trying to sort through the mess,” Doroski said.
“We’re in a variety of discussions with MIT, which I guess I’d like to prefer not to characterize,” Carhart said. “We’ll hopefully have constructive discussions.”
When asked if PBE members would consider joining another fraternity on campus, Leonard said, “Fraternal bonds last a lifetime. No brothers currently have any intention of pledging another fraternity at MIT.”
“I mean, at the moment, we never really transitioned back into fraternity life,” said Doroski. “We’ve been dry ever since Rush, we’ve been not holding any parties, it’s been very mild. We’re all extremely well-behaved at this point. It’s still the beginning of the semester, so everyone’s getting into the swing of things. For the moment, everyone’s focusing on their academics.”
The IFC statement can be found at http://www.mitifc.org/docs/PBE_Statement.pdf.