Beta Theta Pi
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Beta Theta Pi

Beta Theta Pi
Beta Theta Pi Coat of Arms.png
FoundedAugust 8, 1839; 182 years ago (1839-08-08)
Miami University (Oxford, Ohio), United States
Mission statementBeta Theta Pi is dedicated to developing men of principle for a principled life.
ColorsDelicate shades of     pink and     blue
SymbolDragon, Star, Diamond
FlagBeta Theta Pi flag.png
FlowerRoses of the "June" or "Queen of the Prairie" variety
PublicationThe Beta Theta Pi
Chapters141 active
Members10,000+ collegiate
215,000+ lifetime
Headquarters5134 Bonham Road
Oxford, OH 45056
United States

Beta Theta Pi (), commonly known as Beta, is a North American social fraternity that was founded in 1839 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. One of North America's oldest fraternities, it currently consists of 118 active chapters and 23 colonies[1] in the United States and Canada. More than 215,000 members have been initiated worldwide and there are currently around 10,000 undergraduate members.[2] Beta Theta Pi is the oldest of the three fraternities that formed the Miami Triad, along with Phi Delta Theta and Sigma Chi.


Old Main
Harrison Hall (then known as Old Main) at Miami University, founding site of Beta Theta Pi, pictured about 1896

Students at Miami University at the time of Beta's founding had previously formed two rival literary societies: The Erodelphian and Union Literary Society. A student of the school, John Reily Knox, began to gather members of both the Erodelphian and Union Literary Societies with the goal of creating a new fraternity. In a letter that he wrote four years after the founding of the Alpha chapter, Knox said that other fraternities being formed possessed "many objectionable features which rendered them liable to be used as engines of evil as well as instruments of good."

The fraternity was formally founded on August 8, 1839, by eight male students of Miami University.


The five core values espoused by Beta Theta Pi are cultivation of intellect, responsible conduct, mutual assistance, integrity and trust.[3] These are the underpinnings for their mission statement to "develop men of principle for a principled life." In 1879, Beta Theta Pi became the first college fraternity to publish its constitution. The fraternity continues to guard certain secrets about membership. Similar to other fraternities, Beta Theta Pi's code emphasizes international fellowship, cultural development and cooperation .

Men of Principle initiative

In August 1996, St. Lawrence University Chairman and Beta Theta Pi alumnus E.B. Wilson wrote a letter to the editor of The Beta Theta Pi magazine challenging the general fraternity to undertake a project to reverse the emerging Greek and Beta culture, which he felt was not in line with their core values.[4]

In response to Wilson and a number of institutional difficulties, the Men of Principle initiative was started during the 1998-99 academic year. Three chapters, Nebraska, Georgia and Pennsylvania, were used as pilot chapters for the new program.[5] After this first year of piloting, the Men of Principle initiative was officially introduced at the 160th General Convention in Oxford, in 1999.[3][4]

According to the fraternity, before Men of Principle, the Fraternity's average chapter GPA was just above a 2.8. In 2019, the fraternity's GPA rose to 3.251 - an all-time high. The average chapter size in 2019 was 72 men, compared to 48.9 in 1997. In 1997, there was an average of two advisors per chapter, while as of 2019 there was an average of seven advisors working with each one of the chapters.[4] Beta received some backlash for the initiative. Between the beginning of the program in 1998 and 2013, its international headquarters closed 85 chapters for failing to comply with the Men of Principle initiative.[3]

As part of the Men of Principle initiative, Beta runs several leadership programs for undergraduate members and alumni. As of 2019, approximately 25,000 members graduated from one of the fraternity's leadership programs.[6]

The Founding of Beta Theta Pi

At nine o'clock on the evening of the eighth day of the eighth month of the year 1839, eight earnest young men, all students at Miami University, held the first meeting of Beta Theta Pi in the Hall of the Union Literary Society, an upper room in the old college building (known as "Old Main"). The eight founders in the order in which their names appear in the minutes were: John Reily Knox, 1839 Samuel Taylor Marshall, 1840 David Linton, 1839 James George Smith,1840 Charles Henry Hardin, 1841 John Holt Duncan, 1840 Michael Clarkson Ryan,1839 Thomas Boston Gordon, 1840 "of ever honored memory"


As part of a multi-year dispute over co-ed student housing issues, the Beta Theta Pi chapter at Wesleyan University had been refusing access to campus security personnel. In March 2010, Wesleyan issued a warning to students to avoid the chapter house. In October of that year a freshman was raped by a non-member, non-student at a Beta Theta Pi Halloween party. The rapist was arrested, and both the fraternity and the university reached an out-of-court settlement with the victim in 2014. The dispute over campus housing was later resolved.[7][8][9]

In 2012, the Purdue University chapter was suspended for endangering pledges and providing alcohol to minors.[10]

In 2012, a lawsuit by a female student at Wesleyan University accused the university's chapter of sexual assault and called its fraternity house a "rape factory" due to the predatory practices present and constant sexual assaults of young women visiting the house.[11][12][13]

In March 2013, the Carnegie Mellon University chapter was suspended following a police investigation of sexually explicit videos and photographs of female students circulating among members.[3][14][15][16]

In February 2014, the fraternity's Alpha chapter at Miami University was closed in response to alcohol and hazing incidents.[17] The Alpha chapter was refounded in 2017, and in the year 2018, the chapter celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the fraternity house, a $5 million renovation that brought the house into the 21st Century.

In October 2014, the University of Washington chapter was suspended by the university following hazing allegations.[18] The chapter was disbanded by the fraternity a month later, following an investigation.[19]

In December 2014, the University of California - Santa Barbara chapter was shut down after years of violations and suspensions. Two pledges were sent to the hospital due to hazing which prompted the fraternity's national office to finally close the chapter.[20][21]

In 2016, the University of Oregon chapter was disbanded due to hazing and other "high-risk" activities.[22]

In 2017, the Pennsylvania State University chapter was permanently disbanded due to the death of a pledge, Tim Piazza, related to hazing and alcohol abuse.[23] Eighteen members of the fraternity were arrested and charged for his wrongful death.[24] The former chapter faces more than 147 charges, including involuntary manslaughter.[25][26]

In 2017, the College of Charleston chapter was kicked off campus until 2021 for multiple instances of unregistered parties with alcohol (some purchased with chapter funds), hazing pledges which included personal servitude and calisthenics, and marijuana use.[27]

In 2018, the University of Illinois chapter was disbanded due to "issues related to hazing, unsafe social functions, alcohol-based recruitment, and a high level of distrust between the chapter and the advisors and General Fraternity."[28]

In 2018, the University of Central Florida chapter was shut down due to repeated hazing and alcohol violations over 10 years.[29]

In 2019, the Auburn University chapter was shut down after a long history of hazing violations which included alcohol and physical abuse and servitude. The chapter defied multiple intervention attempts before its closure on campus.[30]

See also


  1. ^ "Beta Theta Pi - Overall Listing". Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ Beta Theta Pi. "Chapter Dashboard". Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Romano, Sabrina (December 5, 2013). "After suspension at CMU, 'Men of Principle' found Pitt chapter". The Pitt News. Archived from the original on March 14, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ a b c "The State of the Fraternity". The Beta Theta Pi Magazine. 2020.
  5. ^ Daves, Vanessa (January 2, 2014). "Beta Theta Pi fraternity practices 'men of principle' philosophy". The Daily Nebraskan. Retrieved 2014.
  6. ^ "The Beta Theta Pi - Summer 2019". Issuu. Retrieved 2019.
  7. ^ Flanagan, Caitlin (February 19, 2014). "The Dark Powers of Fraternities". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2014.
  8. ^ Kingkade, Tyler (June 1, 2013). "Wesleyan 'Rape Factory' Fraternity's Lawyers Demand Assault Victim Be Named Publicly". HuffPost. Retrieved 2014.
  9. ^ Griffin, Alaine (October 5, 2012). "Federal Lawsuit Says Wesleyan Failed To Protect Woman From Assault At Fraternity House Called A 'Rape Factory'". The Hartford Courant. Retrieved 2014.
  10. ^ Rasmussen, Adriane. "Beta Theta Pi president says punishment does not fit circumstances". Retrieved 2018.
  11. ^ Reinsberg, Hillary. "The Strange History Of Wesleyan University's "Rape Factory" Fraternity". BuzzFeed.
  12. ^ Kingkade, Tyler (September 11, 2013). "'Rape Factory' Lawsuit Reaches Settlement". HuffPost.
  13. ^ GRIFFIN, ALAINE. "Federal Lawsuit Says Wesleyan Failed To Protect Woman From Assault At Fraternity House Called A 'Rape Factory'".
  14. ^ Lane, Jackson (June 1, 2013). "Beta Theta Pi suspended over sexually explicit recordings". The Tartan. Retrieved 2014.
  15. ^ Sostek, Anya (March 30, 2013). "CMU fraternity suspended over sexual pictures, videos". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2017.
  16. ^ McEvoy, Blaine (August 28, 2013). "The Most Out-of-Control Fraternities in America". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2017.
  17. ^ Robinette, Eric (February 2, 2014). "Fraternity closes at Miami following hazing, alcohol incidents". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved 2014.
  18. ^ "UW frat suspended over hazing allegations". NBC. October 7, 2014. Retrieved 2015.
  19. ^ Long, Katherine (November 21, 2014). "UW fraternity to disband over hazing incident". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2015.
  20. ^ "UCSB Frat Shut Down Amid Drinking and Hazing Complaints". December 6, 2014.
  21. ^ "Chapter Status Report".
  22. ^ "Beta Theta Pi disbanded for reports of hazing - Emerald Media". March 13, 2016. Retrieved 2018.
  23. ^ "Penn State Revokes Beta Theta Pi's Recognition, Imposes Strict Greek Social Regulations". February 17, 2017. Retrieved 2018.
  24. ^ "18 Students Charged in Penn State Fraternity Death". Retrieved 2018.
  25. ^ "Penn State Frat Hit With More Than 850 Charges After Student Dies in 'Gauntlet' Hazing Incident". Complex CA. Retrieved 2017.
  26. ^ "[Document] Full Grand Jury Presentment In Beta Theta Pi Case". Onward State. May 5, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  27. ^ "Beta Theta Pi kicked off College of Charleston campus until 2021". WCIV. June 2, 2017.
  28. ^ "Illinois Closure". Beta Theta Pi. Archived from the original on July 4, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  29. ^ Eddy, Elias (April 27, 2018). "UCF's Beta Theta Pi Chapter Disbanded after hazing and alcohol misconduct charges".
  30. ^ Gunn, Olivia. "Beta Theta Pi Fraternity closes AU chapter after hazing violations including alcohol, physical abuse".


  • Brown, James T., ed., Catalogue of Beta Theta Pi, New York: 1917.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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