The Collegian
Wednesday, October 21, 2020

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Theta Chi suspended

<p>The Theta Chi lodge.</p>

The Theta Chi lodge.

The University of Richmond suspended Theta Chi’s Omicron chapter Wednesday because of a hazing investigation, associate director of Greek life Meg Pevarski wrote in an email to The Collegian on Thursday. This is the second time this year that Theta Chi has been suspended

“The chapter will remain on temporary suspension until the investigation has been completed,” Pevarski wrote. “It is standard practice to place organizations on temporary suspension, also known as ‘cease operations’ status, to allow for a thorough investigation. As of now the timeframe for completing the investigation is unknown, but a prompt and thorough investigation will be conducted.”

The Collegian could not confirm what potential hazing allegations UR is investigating.

Senior Peter Corsiglia, a member of Theta Chi, is no longer Interfraternity Council president, Corsiglia wrote in an email to The Collegian. Corsiglia declined The Collegian’s request for comment. The Collegian cannot confirm whether Corsiglia resigned or was asked to step down from IFC.  

Senior Nick Pacitto, former IFC vice president of administration and a member of Lambda Chi Alpha, became the interim IFC president on Wednesday, Pacitto wrote in an email to The Collegian. Pacitto wrote he could not comment on Theta Chi’s suspension because it was confidential and he did not have insight on details regarding the investigation.

Theta Chi’s suspension comes after the rise of the Abolish Greek Life Instagram account, which began calling for UR to disband IFC and National Panhellenic Council Greek life on campus in July. 

The suspension and investigation is in addition to the suspension of all Greek life events in fall 2020. Greek life events and programs have been put on hold by the office of student development and the Center for Student Involvement in response to stories shared online about students’ negative experiences with Greek life at UR, wrote Director of CSI Alison Bartel Keller and Vice President for Student Development Steve Bisese in an email to Greek life students on Aug. 31, which was obtained by The Collegian. 

In February, UR suspended Theta Chi after a video titled “Animal Planet: University of Richmond Theta Chi (Part 2)” was anonymously sent to the Center for Student Involvement after being texted to a group of students in a GroupMe chat. The Collegian cannot confirm how long Theta Chi was suspended for nor the results of CSI's investigation.

The video, which was approximately one minute and 30 seconds long, featured a narrator speaking over several clips of men drinking, dancing and talking to women, according to The Collegian article linked above. At one point in the video, two people can clearly be seen kissing, according to the article. Another clip shows a private text message exchange in full focus, according to the article. 

The February investigation came after two mothers of college students who died from hazing visited campus in January to give an anti-hazing talk to members of Greek life. 

The national headquarters of Theta Chi have been notified of the cease operation order by UR on Wednesday, wrote Ben Hill, chief communications officer of Theta Chi national headquarters, in an email statement to The Collegian on Thursday.

“Theta Chi staff members are likewise conducting an investigation,” Hill wrote. “Upon the completion of the investigation, the Fraternity will respond appropriately.”

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Senior Jack Gillies, Theta Chi president, redirected The Collegian to Hill’s statement in response to a request for his comment.

Beth Simonds, assistant chief of police at the UR Police Department, declined The Collegian’s request for comment. 

Confidential on-campus resources for survivors of sexual violence are CARE Advocates, Counseling and Psychological Services, the Office of the Chaplaincy and PSMAs, who are accessible through email and Zoom meetings during this time if desired. 

Non-confidential resources include the University of Richmond Policy Department, Title IX deputy coordinators, the Office of Common Ground and the Westhampton College and Richmond College deans’ offices. 

News editor Jackie Llanos contributed to reporting.

Contact editor-in-chief Olivia Diaz at olivia.diaz@richmond.edu. 

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