Boston University has withdrawn its recognition of the Kappa Sigma fraternity chapter here, following its cosponsorship of a pre-Christmas party promoted with sexually suggestive, misogynist videos and photos.
The withdrawal of recognition for the December 10 “University Blackout” party, announced in a Feb. 6 letter from the Dean of Students office to the fraternity president, was effective immediately. It was also based on the fraternity’s unauthorized use of BU’s name in the event’s marketing, wrongly implying that the University cosponsored the event.
According to John Battaglino, assistant dean of students, who authored the letter, no BU office approved the party. Dean of Student Kenneth Elmore (SED’87) says that when the University discovered the promotions before the party and contacted the fraternity, it took down the promotions, and no brothers attended the scheduled party.
Among other restrictions, derecognition means that the frat may no longer recruit members, sponsor events and activities, or use University rooms. Battaglino’s letter said that Kappa Sigma’s BU chapter, Mu Psi, may seek reconsideration of its status on or after July 9.
The party, held at Boston’s Royale nightclub, was promoted online with a link to a website with pictures and video of “a culture of abusive behavior that openly celebrates verbal sexual coercion, belittling women, grabbing, groping, forced kissing, and the badgering of women for sex,” Battaglino wrote. Promotion photos for the party showed close-ups of women kissing open-mouthed, women’s bare breasts, and women’s buttocks, among other images.
“‘Blackout parties’ have become associated with a social sanctioning that it is okay to take advantage of intoxicated women,” the letter continues. It acknowledges a “heartfelt” apology letter from the frat’s president to the dean of students, but admonishes the chapter and its national leadership to “develop a method to reexamine your own behavior as members of an all-male organization within a culture of violence that often regards sexual assault as acceptable behavior or as ‘just sex.’”
Attempts to contact fraternity members for comment were unsuccessful. President Nicholas Supple (CAS’16) told the Daily Free Press that “while being suspended from campus is never a good thing, we’re confident that we will be able to find common ground with the school, and we welcome this opportunity to strengthen our chapter internally and our working relationship with the community.”
Elmore says the situation involves “young men who haven’t stopped to think what the ramifications of their actions are. We’ve had a lot of conversations on this campus the last semester around sexual assault. I want to try to get together with our fraternities, and eventually, our sororities. It’s got to be a constant reminder” of how misbehavior harms others and the fraternity’s reputation.
According to the fraternity’s website, Kappa Sigma’s Mu Psi chapter is the largest fraternity on campus, and it seeks “BU’s most promising and socially well-rounded gentlemen.”
This story was originally published by BU Today. Amy Laskowski and Joel Brown contributed to this story.