Penn State President Eric Barron says frat system may need review

Written by The Associated Press | Mar 19, 2015 11:49 AM

Photo by AP Photo/Marc Levy

(State College) -- Penn State's president says an investigation into the Facebook posting of nude photographs by a now-suspended fraternity points to the possible need for a re-evaluation of the entire fraternity system. 

Eric Barron has issued a statement to the Penn State community, saying some senior university leaders see a need for such a review.  

He says, "We are considering our options," but didn't elaborate. 

In previous interviews, Barron had emphasized the need to focus on individual actions rather than blaming an entire institution. 

Speaking to reporters at the state Capitol in Harrisburg yesterday he said, "I think if you punish those that are responsible, we all learn, and if you punish everybody, then I don't think we really all learn."

Kappa Delta Rho was recently suspended for a year by its national organization over allegations that members shared frat house photos of nude and partly nude women on a private, invitation-only Facebook page. The nude photos include some of women who are asleep or passed out. 

Barron says some students could be expelled over the Facebook posting of photos of nude and partly nude women by a now-suspended KDR fraternity.

Eric Barron said of the webpage: "It's very sad, and it's very offensive.''

"I can't imagine anybody that's not appalled by the alleged behavior,'' he added.

Police in State College are investigating the allegations.

According to a warrant, the invitation-only page had 144 active members, including students and alumni. 

Police said some of the photos they had seen showed women in "sexual or embarrassing positions.''

While some of the women photographed appeared to be aware their pictures were being taken, others did not, police said in court documents. 

Barron says the university is working with police to determine the number of offenders and victims and will hold those responsible accountable for what they did. 

"This is the kind of behavior that can get someone expelled,'' he said.

Police have said they have identified at least two photographs that could lead to criminal charges but the investigation is ongoing. 

A young man who answered the door earlier this wee at Kappa Delta Rho said the fraternity had no comment.

No-trespassing signs were posted by Wednesday.

Police were tipped off about the Facebook account on January 18 by a former fraternity member who shared printouts of some of the pictures.

The printouts were included in some of the court documents provided Tuesday to news outlets -- a move police later said was a mistake. 

Police said anyone who posted the photos could face misdemeanor charges of harassment or invasion of privacy, with a fine being the most likely penalty.

They also added they expected some women would only want to have the photos removed and not press charges.

More than 4,000 undergraduates at the State College campus belong to one of the 50 fraternity chapters governed by the Interfraternity Council. 

Published in News

Tagged under , , , , , , , , , , , ,

back to top

Give Now

Estate Planning

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Smart Talk

National Edward R. Murrow Awards

DuPont Columbia Awards

Support Local Journalism

Latest News from NPR

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »