EDITORIAL: Sexually explicit video leads to loss of charter for Indiana University fraternity


The Delta Alpha chapter of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity at Indiana University had its charter revoked yesterday.

This action stemmed from a video, of a 21-year-old initiated member performing sexually explicit acts on a female exotic dancer, that surfaced at the university on Wednesday.

Although the video was unrelated to any pledge activities, approximately half of the fraternity’s membership was involved. The national chapter’s Chief Executive Officer, Wynn Smiley, was quoted in an article on CNN, “Indiana ATO frat shut down after sexually explicit video surfaces.”

"Our investigation revealed that no pledge was compelled to participate," he said. "Regardless, the actions are contrary to the ideals and principles of Alpha Tau Omega and are highly offensive."

This is not the first time that ATO at IU has been served with disciplinary actions. The Indiana Daily Student has deemed ATO as “one of IU’s most infamous fraternities.” That title is not unwarranted. 

According to an Indy Star article, “IU fraternity is shut down less than a day after sex video emerges,” the chapter was expelled from campus in 1992 and again reinstated in 1994. Then in 2010, over 100 active members were kicked out following an investigation of hazing and alcohol violations.

The large metal letters that earlier today donned the side of the fraternity house on 3rd street have since been removed, marking the chapter’s immediate closing.

This incident involving ATO at IU points to a larger issue surrounding fraternities across the United States. In recent months a number of allegations pertaining to hazing, racism and alcohol violations have been made against chapters nationwide.

Fraternities need to make a change in their culture because the positives of Greek life are overshadowed. Greek life has the ability to create friendships that last well beyond college and help individual members learn to embody their chapter's values. Incidents such as these and past incidents that have resulted in death undermine what Greek life stands for. This video not only damaged  an individual’s reputation and an organization's reputation, but it also damaged the reputation of the entire Greek community.