March 24, 2015
To Cal Beta Alumni:
Thank you for the numerous email responses regarding the recent changes at 2722 Bancroft. Many of you have asked for more details and the context for recent events.
As you have undoubtedly seen in the media, fraternities nationwide have been under attack for discrimination, sexual misconduct and alcohol abuse. After numerous deaths at its Chapters the past few years due to hazing and alcohol abuse, SAE National has transitioned to a “No Pledging” fraternity and has been moving towards an “alcohol free premises” fraternity. Over the last few months, SAE National has closed down several SAE Chapters throughout the country including USC (injury to coed and alcohol abuse), Stanford (sexual misconduct), Univ. of Arizona, and Oklahoma (racial discrimination).
At Berkeley, fraternities in general have also been at risk. A class action lawsuit has been filed against all Berkeley fraternities alleging they are “public nuisances.” UC Berkeley has chosen to not recognize 5 of the 6 largest fraternities including the SAE Chapter since 2011. Last November, a student died next door at Zeta Psi from alcohol poisoning during a large unregulated party. Two weeks later Zeta Psi was holding large parties again with no repercussions. DKE was recently charged with sexual misconduct for allegedly giving 5 coeds “roofies.” Someone from Sigma Nu recently threw a champagne bottle into our Quad and hit a 26 year old Alum in the head causing a concussion and cut that required stitches.
At the same time over the last year, there has not been a single incident or citation at 2722 Bancroft involving the Berkeley Police. The BPD told me that Cal Beta has been one of the best behaved fraternities on campus. Over the past 12 years there has not been a single insurance claim on the premises of 2722 Bancroft, nor has there been a single hazing, sexual misconduct or discrimination incident. Nonetheless, a series of events involving alcohol have led to the suspension of the Cal Beta Chapter as follows:
*** In October 2013, Cal Beta had a large unregistered party and a member called 911 to have a drunk coed taken to the hospital. That resulted in the Chapter being put on social probation by SAE National.
*** In May 2014, during a pre-South Seas volleyball tournament in mid-afternoon, a Cal football player came on the premises, kicked a member’s dog and then broke the member’s jaw. There was unregulated alcohol on the premises. This resulted in the Chapter being designated an “alcohol free premises” until June 2015.
*** In September 2014, there was alcohol at a football game day party on the premises prior to the 12 noon kickoff. This violation of the alcohol free premises rule resulted in the Chapter being banned from having any social events either on or off the premises until the end of the semester (Dec. 2014).
*** In January 2015, a drunk coed and her friend came to the Chapter premises at 11:45 PM and went into a member’s room where three members were listening to music. In the room, the coed began dancing while holding a lit candle and her hair caught fire. She quickly left the premises on her own volition. The Chapter’s officers reported there was alcohol on the premises at this time in violation of the alcohol free premises rule.
*** In January 2015, a member who was over 21 years went out drinking at some bars with a couple of other members. When he arrived back at 2722 Bancroft the member passed out and someone called 911 to take him to the hospital where he was treated and released 2-3 hours later.
The Chapter admitted its transgressions to SAE National, and rather than go through a membership review and risk a four year suspension, the Chapter voluntarily offered to be suspended for at least 18 months. SAE National agreed to the suspension and while it gave no guarantees about a possible future reinstatement, SAE National indicated they were hopeful the Chapter would be able to reapply and resume being an SAE Chapter by Fall 2016.
The House Corp. continues to operate the House as a designated “Group Living Association” (GLA), pursuant to City of Berkeley ordinances. The House Manager is a Berkeley Boalt Law student. While all fraternity activities have ceased, the suspended members are presently living in the House as individual residents who have signed individual leases with the House Corp. The residents have all agreed to not hold parties and to maintain alcohol free premises.
Alumni activities are not affected by this suspension. All 1200+ living Alumni who have resided at 2722 Bancroft are most welcome at the House anytime. Alumni are also invited to attend the House Corporation sponsored “Senior Dinner” on April 17, 2015, and “Duck Dinner/Hall of Fame Ceremony” on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. We will continue to operate our Alumni website and Facebook page, although these sites are temporarily down until we decide on a new name.
2722 Bancroft is owned by a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. The House Corporation Board includes 11 Alumni, representing generations from the 1950’s to recent graduates, who will carefully consider how to operate the House for future generations.
If you have any questions, or would like to view the letter dated March 20, 2015 from SAE National, or the “Conditions for GLA’s” from the City of Berkeley, please contact me at email@example.com or call me at 415-407-0022.
We will continue to keep everyone updated as we move ahead. As always, thank you for your ongoing support.
On behalf of the House Corporation Board