The University of Arizona is continuing its crackdown on troubled fraternities, moving this week to shut the seventh one in three years.
The local chapter of Theta Chi was stripped of recognition by the UA over a “bizarre male-bonding exercise” in which older fraternity brothers hazed new members by hitting them with paddles hard enough to leave marks.
The chapter also was accused of racism by a member who told UA investigators that fraternity brothers talked openly about excluding those “of Asian or Middle Eastern descent,” the university said.
The Theta Chi fraternity house is located off-campus on the northeast corner of North Campbell Avenue and East Sixth Street.
The UA’s dean of students recently investigated after viewing a photograph “of a Theta Chi member’s buttocks with visible welts,” the school’s May 19 letter to the fraternity said.
Investigators confirmed that the practice of paddling new recruits has “occurred every semester from fall 2011 to fall 2014,” the letter said. Some were paddled with “extreme force,” witnesses said.
“These findings and the serious and dangerous nature of the allegations support the sanction of loss of recognition,” said the UA’s letter, addressed to the chapter president. The president’s name is blacked out of the copy of the letter made public by the university.
The chapter president told the UA that the incidents didn’t constitute hazing because the students took part willingly and there was no intent to harm them. He characterized such conduct as “machismo horseplay,” the letter said.
The UA will consider reinstating the fraternity in 2019 if Theta Chi’s national headquarters submits a viable plan, the letter said.
The racism allegation against Theta Chi will be referred to the UA’s Office of Institutional Equity to “guard against potential future discriminatory practices” if the chapter is reinstated, it said.
Six other former UA fraternity chapters — Phi Kappa Psi, Delta Chi, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Pi Kappa Phi, Phi Gamma Delta and Delta Sigma Phi — have been booted from the UA campus since early 2012, either by the university or by national fraternity organizations.