At 453 Abbot Road, greek letters still hang above the door, a physical reminder of Theta Chi. But the brotherhood is no longer there.
After allegations of hazing, the fraternity’s national board of directors voted to revoke the chapter’s charter, which would have celebrated its 75th anniversary at MSU this year. The board of directors reached its decision after conducting an investigation, consulting with MSU’s Interfraternity Council and holding a hearing on the matter in December.
A statement from the Indianapolis-based Theta Chi international headquarters said “the chapter is now closed and is no longer a recognized entity within Theta Chi.” Theta Chi plans to reestablish the chapter in fall 2018, according to the statement.
The details still are a mystery. Neither the international chapter of Theta Chi nor fraternity brothers in MSU’s chapter were willing to comment on the nature of the hazing allegations.
Although brothers of the former Beta Zeta chapter will continue to reside in the alumni-owned house for the time being, it’s unclear what will happen to the building after this semester. The incident was the most recent in a series of run-ins with Theta Chi officials — whom fraternity members refer to as ‘nationals’ — in recent years.
“We had had previous encounters with our nationals,” said international relations sophomore Andy Creal.
Still, Creal said the closure of their chapter left fraternity members “completely blindsided.”
No-preference sophomore Stuart Kowalczyk acknowledged the fraternity had struggled at MSU in recent years, referring to the hazing allegations as a “minor mess-up.” But he emphasized the fraternity had made advancements and moved past their troubles with the nationals.
“We had made so much progress in the last two years that when I became aware of what was going to happen, I was completely shocked,” Kowalczyk said. “We had changed so much from the fraternity that they were telling us we still were.”
Interfraternity council president Tony Biallas presented a different version of the fraternity’s behavior when nationals from Theta Chi consulted with the council.
“They weren’t doing everything up to (the) code and standard that I see in places with the chapters on this campus and what our community stands for,” Biallas said. “We didn’t make the final call, but there were definitely some worries and concerns.”
Biallas declined to address specifics of the fraternity’s issues.
“It’s always disappointing to hear that a chapter is no longer on campus,” Biallas said. “It’s never a good thing, but we never want to tarnish our name.”
Members of Theta Chi said they didn’t consider their conduct outside of the norm for initiation into MSUgreek life.
“I personally don’t regret a single thing that happened in the house, either while I was a pledge or when I was a brother,” Creal said. “There was no real violation that I saw of anything that was going to be a detriment to our organization.”
Kowalczyk did not want to discuss the allegations because he said he wanted to protect the fraternity’s traditions, but believed the incident was “hugely blown out of proportion.” He expressed his frustration regarding shifting attitudes towards greek life.
“I just feel like certain societies (are) becoming wimps,” Kowalczyk said. “It’s not like we didn’t anything terrible, we hardly did anything bad … I think it’s bigger than Theta Chi, I think it’s about fraternities and sororities as a whole. Our society’s changing. … I don’t think the system can last much longer in the time we live in.”