On Oct. 1, two new members of UConn’s Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) chapter suffered an unfortunate setback. The fraternity brothers’ lives were put in serious danger, with one falling from a third-floor window and the other in a compromised state within the bedroom containing a said window. Both were hospitalized and fortunately survived, but this incident is still incredibly troubling. After all, UConn prides itself upon its reformed image following its dubious distinction as one of America’s top party schools, and ZBT holds an esteemed reputation as the first Jewish social fraternity. With that being said, UConn demonstrated commendable swiftness and rationality in the incident’s midst and the immediate aftermath.
UConn acted with great urgency and responsibility. Students contacted their local police and fire departments after discovering that one of their peers descended from a significant height. Police officers and firefighters arrived at Northwest Residence Hall at around 11:30 p.m., when they transported the injured duo to Windham Hospital (the person who fell from the window was later transferred to Hartford Hospital). As indicated above, both students were in stable condition shortly thereafter, a relief that can be attributed to the UConn community’s overall refusal to let the situation escalate any further.
In the wake of this incident, UConn acted promptly and considerately. According to Jamel Catoe, director of the Center for Fraternity and Sorority Development, “the fraternity was placed on interim suspension by the Office of Community Standards and the national ZBT headquarters”. Certainly this is a just consequence that holds those implicated accountable for their actions and sets a precedent for any other student groups that may become liable for negligence. Because there’s an ongoing investigation, this interim suspension theoretically opens the door for reinstatement. But to put the UConn ZBT chapter’s outlook into realistic terms that any fraternity or sorority members would understand, its future appears hazy at best.
UConn has undergone a remarkable turnaround from enabling underage drinking incidents to leading the charge in resolving them and preparing its community to approach them well.