Petitioners accuse fraternity of drug use and rape

Acacia Fraternity’s house on State Street in Athens.

Ohio University on Monday issued a cease and desist directive to the OU chapter of the Acacia Fraternity after the university got word that the fraternity had engaged in conduct that allegedly put the “health and safety” of its members at risk.

The letter to the OU Acacia Chapter president, provided by OU spokesperson Carly Leatherwood, doesn’t describe the alleged conduct.

The cease and desist directive means that the chapter must stop all organizational activities and can no longer meet in any capacity – officially or unofficially – while the university investigates the chapter.

“The Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility has received information which alleges that your organization has engaged in conduct that puts the health and safety of your members at risk and is not in compliance with the behavioral expectations set out in the Student Code of Conduct,” the letter reads. “…This action is being taken because the alleged conduct puts the health and safety of Ohio University students at risk.”

Acacia National Headquarters spokesperson Benjamin Turconi said Tuesday that the fraternity is aware of the cease and desist order.

"Acacia Fraternity HQ is aware of the cease and desist letter our chapter at Ohio University received and will be working with the university and the chapter’s alumni advisors on this matter," he said. "Acacia stands committed to providing a positive environment that encourages academic and personal success."

This is the third time in recent years that the university has confirmed publicly that it’s investigated the OU Acacia Chapter for alleged misconduct.

Most recently, the university in 2015 resolved an investigation into whether the chapter had violated the university's sexual misconduct policy after issuing a similar cease and desist order. The university found at that time that the fraternity chapter did not violate those policies and was free to resume its normal operations.

That investigation began after a video appeared to show men on the front porch of a sorority house on South Court Street singing a sexually explicit song to the tune of the Beatles classic “Hey Jude.”

OU also initiated an investigation into the Acacia chapter in 2014 after a petition asking OU to ban the fraternity went public, but the university’s investigation at that time did not result in any code of conduct charges against members or notices of violation of university policy.

The university issued a cease and desist order last year to the OU chapter of the Sigma Pi fraternity after an 18-year-old OU student – who was allegedly a pledge of that chapter – died of asphyxiation due to nitrous-oxide ingestion at a party at 45 Mill St., which allegedly was an unofficial annex of that fraternity chapter.

That chapter was expelled from OU in April of this year for multiple violations of OU’s alcohol and hazing policies, The NEWS previously reported.

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