The Collegian
Thursday, August 06, 2020

Theta Chi suspended, under investigation after video circulates

<p>Graphic by Annie Scalet/The Collegian</p>

Graphic by Annie Scalet/The Collegian

Editor's Note: The article has been updated to include a statement from the national headquarters of Theta Chi Fraternity. 

The University of Richmond has suspended its Theta Chi fraternity chapter on Monday after a video highlighting internal chapter activities and events was sent to a group chat. 

Meg Pevarski, associate director of Greek life, received an anonymous email Monday containing the video, Pevarski wrote in an email statement.

“Upon receipt of the email and review of the video, a letter to immediately cease all operations was sent to the chapter, the chapter advisor and the National Theta Chi Fraternity headquarters,” Pevarski wrote in the statement. 

The video, which was obtained by The Collegian Sunday night, is titled, “Animal Planet: University of Richmond Theta Chi (Part 2).” The video details what happens when “the ultimate goal” of finding a “mate” at parties “doesn’t work out,” according to the video’s narrator. 

The video was sent in a GroupMe chat late Sunday night, according to multiple people who were in the original chat. The people described the chat as containing men associated with UR’s Theta Chi chapter and “a lot” of first-year women. 

Soon after the video was sent, people began getting removed from the chat, according to multiple people who were in the original chat. 

The video — about 1 minute and 30 seconds in length — features a narrator speaking over several clips spliced together of men drinking, dancing and talking to women. 

“Boys consume liquid courage in order to improve their chances with the ladies,” the narrator said in the video. “The wild Theta Chi gets hyped for the night and show off their impressive mating dances to attract the females.” 

The video names several male students as the camera zooms to show their interactions with women. 

“Chirping, chatting, grafting — whatever you want to call it, the Theta Chi tries to get in the pants of sorority girls,” the narrator said. 

At one point in the video, two people can clearly be seen kissing. Another clip shows a private text message exchange in full focus. 

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One student who was in the original group chat said they felt a “little creeped out” by the video.

“I think it’s funny in a stupid way, but I feel bad for the people in it who probably didn’t know they were being recorded and put into this video,” said the student, who spoke with The Collegian on the condition of anonymity. “Knowing that the brothers are watching and recording people talking at parties seems a little weird.” 

The end of the video details what the narrator says occurs when “rejection” by women — a “cruel mistress” and “demoralizing and pitiful epidemic” — has “swept through Theta Chi.”

“When all is lost, the boys decide to smoke their worries away, and as you will see, things get freaky,” the narrator said. “Without a mate, the boys turn to each other to satisfy their needs.”

The Interfraternity Council president, who requested not to be named, wrote in an email statement that he was “profoundly upset by the video.”

“The video, and the behaviors displayed in it, do not reflect the values that the Greek community strives to uphold,” he wrote in the statement.   

The president of UR’s Theta Chi chapter, who requested not to be named, wrote in an emailed statement that he “would like to apologize for anyone that was offended or hurt by the video.”

“We do not condone this video in any way and it does not reflect the values or standards of Theta Chi,” he wrote in the statement. 

The national headquarters of Theta Chi had been notified of the video, wrote Ben Hill, chief communications officer of Theta Chi Fraternity, in an email statement.

"Theta Chi Fraternity was notified of a video that allegedly involved members of its Omicron Chapter at the University of Richmond," Hill wrote in the statement. "Fraternity staff members have been in contact with University administrators and will continue to investigate and gather the facts to determine appropriate next steps."

The actions of “cease operations” is a standard practice by members of UR administration, Pevarski wrote in her statement. 

“The actions of Cease Operations is a standard practice by the University of Richmond to be able to appropriately investigate all allegations and materials, and determine the proper judicial steps in conjunction with the National Theta Chi Fraternity,” according to the statement. “All investigations are confidential, but upon determining outcomes, further information will be shared.”

Contact editor-in-chief Jocelyn Grzeszczak at jocelyn.grzeszczak@richmond.edu. 

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