Trouble At “The Castle on the Rock”?

20 04 2009


EDIT – So, they’re not going dry or closing, but they are reorganizing. Their Recruitment Chair was kind enough to offer an explanation on the validity of the rumors in the comments section.

Normally, I shy away from rumors, but this one has been persisting for some time, and so I’m going to address it now so that hopefully fact can be pulled from the fiction.

Naturally, this deals with the Greek system that has been the topic of many an entry. This is the story that rumor mill has supplied me, with little variation, from four seperate sources:

Beta Theta Pi will be either closing or going dry at Cornell University. Rumor mill claims that their alumni visited them on a Tuesday to find many of the brothers drunk, and they weren’t too happy. Apparently they were given the ultimatum to either go dry or disband. At this point, two sources said they’re going dry and half the brothers deactivated, and the other two sources said the fraternity is closing completely.

This vague passage from their website doesn’t help matters: [1]

“2009 marks a new chapter in the history of our great house. Reorganized, reenergized, and refocused, we are committed to developing worthy individuals to be the best that they can be.”

I think it’s a shame if their’s truth to the closing. Beta has been at Cornell uninterrupted since 1879 (it changed it name over after the original fraternity, Alpha Sigma Chi, merged with Beta Theta Pi [1]).

Not too surprisingly, the brothers I know in that house are staying fairly quiet about the whole situation, apart from saying that they have been having some problems lately that are being addressed. I s’pose is there was any truth to the rumors, I’d be keeping a low profile too.




2 responses

20 04 2009
Mike Scheinman

As Recruitment Chairman for the Beta Delta chapter of Beta Theta Pi, I wanted to offer an official comment on this story, and clarify the validity of some of these rumors.

Our chapter has–by choice–made the decision to reorganize so that we are better aligned with the mission of the Fraternity and so that we stand for something more substantial. We want to embody the characteristics of “gentlemen, scholars, and leaders”, and in our previous state we had gotten away from this creed. We see the potential for our chapter to accomplish great things in every corner of Cornell’s campus, as well as in the outside world. With this new mindset, we expect to achieve this potential and thrive.

So, to answer the obvious questions:

-No, we are not closing. Many of our brothers have decided not to continue with the chapter, but many are also committed to staying and using our time at Cornell to reinvigorate this 130-year-old legacy.
-No, we are not going “dry.” While we will increase our focus to philanthropic events and community leadership, we continue to value social activity as an integral part of the fraternity experience. We will continue to have parties, mixers, and formals.
-No, our alumni did not walk in on “Tuesday” and give us an ultimatum. We’ve been working on this all semester. That said, this is still a transitional period, and I only started updating the website this weekend, hence its vaguity.

While this is definitely a change for our chapter, we see it as a change for the better. That’s why myself and my brothers are working so hard. Rest assured, Beta Theta Pi will be around next year, and for many years to come.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me at

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to clarify this rumor.

Michael Scheinman ’10
Recruitment Chairman
Beta Theta Pi – Beta Delta Chapter

21 04 2009
B. C.

Thank you for that clarification. I had received a couple of e-mails suggesting I look into it, and to be honest I was a little concerned that Beta had reached the end of their time at Cornell. Best of luck to your reorganization.

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