The Beta Theta Pi Fraternity at the University of Florida was placed on probation Wednesday after hazing allegations surfaced, according to The Independent Florida Alligator.
An anonymous email was sent to the Dean of Student’s Office in early August, and the Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution department contacted prospective members of the fraternity, according to The Alligator.
According to The Alligator, the email addressed hazing allegations during the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semesters. It alleged that the pledges of the Beta Theta Pi chapter were required to babysit a watermelon, ironically named “Walter”, all night.
If left unattended, the watermelon would be smashed by brothers and an overnight vigil would be held to remember the fruit, causing the pledges to stay up all night long.
Jen Day Shaw, Dean of Students, said that keeping pledges up all night could negatively impact their health and academic performance, according to The Alligator.
“You do not deserve to be hazed,” she said, according to The Alligator. “We don’t tolerate that at UF.”
The fraternity isn’t allowed to recruit new members this semester, however they are allowed to participate in extracurricular activities, according to The Alligator.
“As outlined in the status upgrade letter from our General Fraternity, our chapter is not and has not been perfect,” Matthew Zwijacz, chapter president, told The Alligator. “For that, we take full responsibility and are committed to doing things the right way to continue our successful, long-term presence at UF.”
Zwijacz declined to answer any questions related to hazing, according to The Alligator.
Shaw told The Alligator that in cases where there is no physical harm inflicted that it is reviewed by a committee which decides how the organization will be charged.
Shaw said that was the case with Beta Theta Pi.
The committee decided to have the chapter investigated internally, where Beta Theta Pi’s national headquarters will work with the chapter together to address the matter, according to The Alligator.
According to The Alligator, in recent years, the office has leaned towards internal investigations instead of immediate disciplinary action. In this recent case, Shaw said that members of the fraternity were able to come together quickly to resolve the issue at hand.
“We feel like it does a lot of good,” said Shaw.