SOCIETY

The Big Map Of Bad Frat Behavior

Take a look at every major greek infraction that's happened at American universities this school year

Mar 04, 2016 at 10:27 AM ET

Last month, the University of Michigan’s Kappa Alpha Theta sorority chapter was disbanded by its national office for the nebulous reason of “serious violations.” But the Michigan Thetas are not the only misbehaving house in the greek community, and others have much more serious infractions tied to their names this school year alone. So just how and where are sororities and fraternities doing wrong? We mapped out every major reported infraction this since August.

Surprisingly, fraternities are doing worse than sororities. Only eight of the offenders on the following map are sororities, and in two of those eight situations, the sorority acted along with a fraternity. The other 31 instances are fraternities doing some very bad stuff.


(Mouse over any dot for school-specific details.)

Hazing is the most widespread offense, which runs the gamut from bad to worse. Earlier this year at the University of Nebraska, a video surfaced of the brothers of Phi Kappa Psi branding a pledge’s ass with their letters. Last fall at the University of Alabama, five Phi Gamma Deltas were arrested for allegedly making pledgees stand in buckets of ice and salt. Meanwhile, Miami University in Ohio is investigating almost all of its greek system for hazing violations.

Racist incidents are another favorite greek pastime. You can look to UCLA, where the women of Alpha Phi and the men of Sigma Alpha Epsilon held a “Kanye Western”-themed party in October, complete with an array of black stereotypes. According to social media, some even dressed in blackface.

Other infractions have been less serious, but are still gross. The Sigma Nus at Old Dominion University were under fire at the start of the school year for posting suggestive signs that said things like “Freshman Daughter Drop Off” and “Go Ahead and Drop Mom Off Too” on the front of their house. The Texas Tech Phi Delta Thetas attracted unwanted attention for a sign of their own this year, one that read “No Means Yes, Yes Means Anal.” These are just two of a few reported incidents of a lewd sign this year.

But sororities and fraternities are creative, so the lewdness works in songs too. The Iowa Alpha Phis caught heat for getting caught on video singing a song about blacking out and anal sex. And the University of Central Florida chapter of Sigma Nu fraternity was suspended after a video surfaced of members chanting “let’s rape some bitches.” What else? There have been many situations when a chapters have been cited for underage drinking, irresponsible drinking, fighting, and general reckless behavior. Drug violations, too! All in the name of brotherhood.

Other houses, not content to offend in any one way, have been cited for a garden variety of infractions. Just last month, Florida State University suspended Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity for mixing hazing and racism into a game called “Old South” where they forced pledges to act like slaves and left them stranded 150 miles from campus. Fraternity life at its finest!

So where are all the bad fraternities and sororities located? Not to blame the South, but the South is responsible for a hefty number of violations. But the Midwest is pretty bad too. But nowhere is safe from an offending greek system, and these are just the firestorms we know about. There’s likely more to come before the school year is out.

But at least with the internet, sororities and fraternities are being held more accountable than they ever have been. If something bad happens, there’s someone with an iPhone with a camera and a Snapchat or a Yik Yak or Instagram to record it and disseminate it. In March 2015, there was the now-infamous case of the SAEs at the University of Oklahoma, who were caught on video participating in a salacious, racist chant. When the video was made public, action was swift, and the national Sigma Alpha Epsilon office closed the chapter down. In the wake of the controversy, it was revealed that the chant was possibly widely known within the whole organization, and that it may not have been an isolated incident. The SAEs (who are cited several times on our map) have spent the past year doing damage control. That kind of reaction probably wouldn’t have happened 10 years ago. These are just a handful of examples, but represent common scenarios within the fraternity subculture. And while it’s not going away any time soon, the world is reaching a point where it’s harder to keep bad greek behavior under wraps.