Penn State President Eric Barron released a statement late Wednesday calling a Kappa Delta Rho members-only Facebook page, where members allegedly shared pictures of nude women, “appalling, offensive and inconsistent with our community’s values.”
The whistle was blown on the fraternity in January by a former KDR member, who told State College police about a private, invitation-only group called “2.0,” according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by State College detective Chris Weaver.
The member told police there were 144 members on the page, including students and graduates. He also said it was the second time the fraternity had made such a page, because an original group called “Covert Business Transactions” was shut down after a woman allegedly found topless photos of herself on the page after a member forgot to log off, according to court documents.
Barron said the images were not only unacceptable, “but also potentially criminal.”
“As president of Penn State, I am shocked and angered by the apparent disregard for not only the law, but also human dignity,” Barron said in the statement. “I pledge that everything within our power will be done to hold those responsible accountable for their actions and to assist anyone who has been victimized by these shameful acts.”
Barron also took a shot at media, which he said “clamor for immediate expulsion of unidentified and yet-to-be charged individuals.”
He urged patience to allow the criminal investigation to play out.
“There are still no named suspects in this case, nor charges — and we cannot speculate on the details of this matter without potentially compromising the investigation itself,” Barron said. “We are not only assisting police, we also are pursuing our own student conduct inquiry. It’s important to note that due process is a fundamental aspect of any criminal or disciplinary investigation. If we wish to find the facts and hold individuals accountable, we must honor the commitment to basic fairness in the processes involved. We will see this process through.”
Barron said he applauded the Interfraternity Council for suspending the Penn State KDR on March 3.
“It is understandable that there has been considerable public outcry demanding the immediate closure of the chapter,” IFC President Rick Groves said in a statement.
“I would like to reiterate that this investigation is still ongoing, and any decision before its completion would be, at best, premature,” Groves said. “A system that caves to public sentiment is not distributing justice; it is distributing vengeance. ... Rest assured that Kappa Delta Rho will be held accountable. Their justice will be swift, but it will not be frantically determined.”
Barron said the university is also working with KDR’s national headquarters to determine whether the fraternity will continue to have a presence at Penn State.
Barron said some members of the university’s leadership, though he did not specify who, think the fraternity system at Penn State should be re-evaluated.
He urged anyone with information about Kappa Delta Rho to contact the Penn State Office of Student Conduct at 863-0342 or the State College Police at 234-7150.