A few weeks ago, the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity at Pennsylvania State University was suspended for at least one year after the discovery of a private group Facebook page. Members of the fraternity were using the page to post compromising photos of women, many of whom were partially or fully naked, asleep, passed out, or unaware that their picture was being taken. University officials continue to investigate but no arrests have yet been made.
A former fraternity member alerted the police of the Facebook group, stating that a second Facebook page (“2.0”) was started after one of the victims discovered herself on the first page (“Covert Business Transactions”) and ordered the brothers to take it down. Along with inappropriate photos of unsuspecting women, pictures of drugs such as cocaine were found on the page.
The administration at Penn State was right to take such firm action against Kappa Delta Rho. Holding the fraternity fully accountable is the proper zero tolerance response. The fraternity’s invasion of privacy and disregard for these women’s personal dignity were both egregious and deliberate, especially in a 144-person Facebook group. The university’s response will help foster a safer and healthier campus environment, and uphold necessary standards for student conduct and respect.
“This action is being taken in response to the chapter allegedly hosting private Facebook pages where highly inappropriate photographs were posted of activities and events that are in direct violation of the standards and values of a recognized student organization at Penn State,” said Damon Sims, Vice President for Student Affairs at Penn State, in a statement. “The evidence offered by the Facebook postings is appalling, offensive and inconsistent with the University community’s values and expectations.”
Members of the Penn State Kappa Delta Rho chapter anonymously spoke with a reporter at Philadelphia Magazine, defending their actions and those of the fraternity. One stated, “The fire of indignant, misplaced self-righteousness that looks to run people’s lives and unjustly ruin reputations is the abuse and violation that should be at the center of discussion, not the humorous, albeit possibly misguided, antics of a bunch of college kids.”
This characterization of such criminal activity as mere “antics” that “may” be “possibly misguided” belittles the seriousness of the situation and is insulting to the victims. Penn State’s firm response is vital in shifting away from this harmful, heinous mindset.