ZBT

After members of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity painted a mural depicting sexually graphic images, the UT dean of students has left the disciplinary process up to the chapter. With more than three weeks of “evaluation,” the chapter judicial board has not decided on a verdict for the members responsible.

ZBT members met with the UT dean of students’ office in response to the mural that was painted over last week with other provocative images — including a woman clothed in a bra and jeans bending over with an armed gunman firing a missile toward the woman with the words “REP ANAL.” 

Phil Butler, coordinator of Greek life for the dean of students office, said the private conversations with the chapter over the controversial murals concluded Monday. 

“We met with the incoming and outgoing leadership earlier this week, and I feel like, at this point, it was a good conversation and we feel like we have addressed what we need to with the organization,” Butler said. 

No resolutions were mandated by the dean of students’ offices.

The members responsible for painting the mural for the fraternity’s annual “Pat O’Brien’s” party attended hearings conducted by the chapter judicial board. 

UT alumnus Laurence Bolotin, executive director of ZBT national headquarters, said the chapter is holding the members accountable for
their actions. Bolotin said the meetings between chapter leadership and the University have been productive.

“[The Chapter] looks forward to continuing to build a strong fraternity experience for their brothers while collaborating with those who are there to assist,” Bolotin said. “All chapters have areas that need improvement and we look forward to partnering with our local chapter and the University in building upon the chapters strengths while also focusing in on areas that can be improved upon.”

A backyard mural painted by members of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, commonly known as ZBT, was painted over last week with other provocative images.

The new depictions were displayed at the fraternity’s annual “Pat O’Brien’s” party hosted Saturday. The images included a woman clothed in a bra and jeans bending over with an armed gunman firing a missile toward the woman to the words “REP ANAL.” Other depictions involved an illuminated “Kazi Osbourne” sign advertising a bar serving kamikaze shots and a graffitied wall with the words “Chinese Whore House” next to a door leading to an unknown room.

The office of the dean of students is currently investigating ZBT members for the production of the original murals. The office was not available for comment. 

The murals are a part of the many decorations on wooden platforms placed in the ZBT yard, which were designed and created by newly inducted members of ZBT. Fraternity officials declined to comment.

The ZBT members responsible for the mural’s previous depictions are currently going through hearings conducted by the chapter judicial board, with a sentence to be delivered soon. 

The former depictions included sexually graphic images involving children’s television characters and U.S. Army veterans. 

Clarification: The Dean of Students is currently looking into Zeta Beta Tau fraternity through an informal investigation.

"We are engaging in an open and ongoing conversation with the organization," said Elizabeth Medina, assistant dean of students who handles discourse involving Greek life, when asked to comment on the Office's actions.

Members of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, commonly known as ZBT, met with the UT dean of students office Thursday to discuss sexually graphic mural depictions involving children’s television characters and U.S. Army veterans as part of decorations for an upcoming party.

Elizabeth Medina, assistant dean of students who handles discourse involving greek life, said discussions between the two parties are ongoing — although she did not disclose what exactly was discussed in the meeting. 

Members of ZBT declined to comment on the current status of the Pat O’Briens party — for which the murals were designed.

Psychology senior Elyssa Klann said she found the mural’s depictions discouraging.

“I do find it offensive towards women,” Klann said. “I think that portraying women in a sexually objectified way makes women appear as objects. … Women are valuable, contributing, intellectual, talented members of society.”

The ZBT members responsible for the mural’s creation are currently going through hearings conducted by the chapter judicial board, with a potential sentencing to be decided within a few weeks.

Members of the UT chapter of Zeta Beta Tau responsible for painting this mural for their annual Pat O’Brien party face hearings from the chapter’s judicial board in the coming weeks. 

Photo Credit: Alec Wyman | Daily Texan Staff

A backyard mural painted by members of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, commonly known as ZBT, depicted sexually graphic images involving children’s television characters and U.S. Army veterans as part of decorations for an upcoming party.

The mural, which was painted over earlier this week, depicted several graphic sexual images. In one, a naked woman was depicted from behind performing oral sex on a man dressed in an army uniform next to the words “Support Our Troops — Blow a Bubba.” In another, a fully naked woman is shown masturbating atop a pirate ship. Other images included a leprechaun circled by the words “Show Us Your Clitoris” and a topless female character from Nickelodeon show “The Fairly OddParents.” It is unclear how long the images were displayed in the backyard of the ZBT house, located on West 28th Street and Salado. 

The mural was one of many decorations on wooden platforms currently in the ZBT yard, which were designed and created by newly inducted members of ZBT for the annual “Pat O’Brien’s” party named after the famous New Orleans bar. According to the ZBT website, the party traditionally occurs on the weekend before Thanksgiving.

“Thousands of guests show up to the party — many even fly in to Austin for it,” according to the website. “Months of preparation go in to making [Pat O’s] one of the best parties on campus.”

At press time, no announcement had been made to cancel the event.

Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly said her office is looking into the matter and has reached out to ZBT officers.

Members of ZBT, including the fraternity’s officers and pledge masters, refused multiple opportunities to comment. 

UT alumnus Laurence Bolotin, executive director of ZBT national headquarters, said the mural was the result of poor decision making.

“It’s pretty simple and straightforward,” Bolotin said. “There were a few brothers within the chapter that made a poor decision with some graphics that they painted within the chapter house.”

According to Bolotin, the mural was painted over as soon as chapter officers realized they were inappropriate.

“The immediate action was to see that the images were removed because the chapter leadership understood that they were inappropriate,” Bolotin said.

Bolotin said the ZBT members responsible for the mural are currently going through hearings conducted by the chapter judicial board, with a sentencing to be decided within a couple weeks. He was not able to provide names of the individuals in question.

“When a complaint is made within a chapter, the chapter’s judicial board hears the complaint and determine the appropriate sanction, similar to the way the University’s judicial board would function,” Bolotin said.

The fraternity at the center of a Roundup weekend incident, during which a UT senior claims she was assaulted, says it is conducting its own investigation of one of its member’s actions and will hold that individual “accountable” if the allegations are substantiated.

The Lambda chapter of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity released an official statement Tuesday in response to finance senior Donesha Bell’s assault allegations against a member of its organization.

Bell said a ZBT fraternity member cursed, threw food and spat at her during its March 26 ZBTahiti party because she refused to give him her spot during rapper J. Cole’s performance.

ZBT President Nace Allen, who would not comment beyond the fraternity’s official statement, said in the statement that this is a matter that should be handled between the two individuals and is not an accurate reflection of his organization.

“We hold all of our members to the highest ethical and moral standards and expect them to represent our fraternal organization with personal integrity,” the statement said. “As such, should it be determined — after our full and thorough review and investigation into the facts — that one of our members acted inappropriately, the men of ZBT will hold such member accountable for his
individual actions.”

The fraternity sent the statement to the Office of the Dean of Students, the Interfraternity Council and the Coalition for Concerned Students. The coalition formed last week in response to Bell’s allegations and what its members call larger discriminatory issues that occur during Roundup, which is organized by individual fraternities and sororities. The coalition formed independently of any other student organizations, although it has members from groups such as Student Government and Black Student Alliance.

Members of the coalition declined to comment.

“To date, despite collecting additional information and gathering further facts from numerous eyewitnesses and an independent, third-party, licensed security company, the specific facts surrounding this incident, as ZBT currently understands them, are in dispute, with the specific allegations being reported remaining inconclusive,” according to the fraternity’s statement.

The Austin Police Department has not yet released the police report Bell filed the day of the incident because the investigation is still ongoing.

Allen said ZBT met with the Office of the Dean of Students and members of the coalition to determine how to move forward with Roundup activities in the future.

“We have also met with concerned members of the African-American community to discuss Roundup and how it can be improved to involve the entire University and not just members of the IFC,” according to the statement.

Bell said last week that although the member never used any specific racial slurs, she believes the alleged assault was racially motivated.

“He never used the n-word or anything, just the b-word and get ‘f’ out of my house, get down there with the commoners,” Bell said. “Obviously, the issues [of discrimination] still exist and I feel like we as a University need to step up and say we don’t endorse this behavior.”

A Facebook group called “BOYCOTT THE DAILY TEXAN ZBT RULES” appeared Monday after The Texan published an article about the incident, which received more than 200 comments, many of which were negative, before commenting was disabled. ZBT member Cort Kross is listed as the creator and administrator of the group. Kross could not be reached for comment as of press time.

A description on the group’s page claims The Texan is “dragging our good name through the dirt” and called the March 26 incident a simple altercation blown out of proportion.

“[Bell] will receive absolutely nothing but ill will with these outlandish statements,” said the Facebook group description.


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A UT student’s claim of assault during Roundup last weekend sparked the formation of a coalition to address racial discrimination during the annual event.

Finance senior Donesha Bell alleges that a Zeta Beta Tau fraternity member cursed, threw food at and spit on her during a Roundup party March 26.

ZBT president Nace Allen said his organization has no information about Bell’s claims. He said that after talking to people at the party and representatives of the security company working during the event, he has been unable to verify the validity of her claim.

“I am saddened by the allegations that are being unfairly made against the men of ZBT,” he said. “However, in the spirit of cooperation, we remain committed to meet with and discuss any specific allegations and complaints with the accuser personally and the Black Student Alliance.”

The Austin Police Department cannot release the police report about the incident because the investigation is ongoing.

Government senior Lonnie Williams told Student Government on March 29 that even though the organization does not fund the event, it should take a stance on the issue. He said he feels it is “imperative” for the University’s recruitment
and retention.

Williams suggested SG form a task force to monitor future Roundup events and determine how claims such as Bell’s should be handled.

Since William’s suggestion during the last regularly scheduled SG meeting, campus leaders, including newly elected University-wide representative Kristin Thompson, created the Roundup Coalition. The group is asking for a formal written apology from the UT Interfraternity Council with a copy sent to the fraternity’s national headquarters, a formal written apology from the alleged assaulter and expulsion of the alleged assaulter from his chapter. They also request mandatory cultural sensitivity training for ZBT led by a trainer of their choosing, among other things.

Bell said she and her friends bought tickets to the ZBT fraternity party almost a month in advance to see rapper J. Cole at the organization’s LiveStrong benefit concert March 26, she said. She said she and her friends arrived early to get a good spot near the stage, but as soon as the show was about to start, she was approached by a ZBT member who told her to move so he could have her spot. Bell said when she refused, he began insulting her.

“I told him I wasn’t going to get off the ledge, and his response was, ‘No, I want you down there with the commoners. I want this spot,’” she said.

When Bell still refused to give up her spot, she said the ZBT member forced his way next to her and nudged and elbowed her in the side to move her down.

“While this was going on, he was yelling and cursing, saying he didn’t want us there anyway, and that’s when he threw his sandwich and started spitting,” Bell said.

Bell said her legs were covered in barbecue sauce from the sandwich he had thrown after she ignored his cursing. She said when she still refused to respond, he spit at her twice, once in her face.

Bell said the ZBT member left her and came back with a guard from MAS Security Agency to escort her out of the concert. She said she tried to explain to the security guard that she had been assaulted, but she said he told her he didn’t care and wanted her to leave.

“He said the guy was a member, and if he wanted me to leave, I had to go,” she said.

Bell said she and her friends were pulled from the ledge and escorted to the back gate where the guard forcefully removed them from the yard.

“He picked my friend up and basically threw her out of the gate. Then he grabbed my arm, twisted it and pushed me out,” she said. “I felt degraded, especially as a woman, to be spit on and thrown out.”

According to the Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities guide, the organization cannot be disciplined unless an officer was at fault, a member acted in an authoritative position such as a chairperson or organizer, or it was more than one member. Under any other circumstances, the individual is responsible for his or her own actions.

Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly said the Office of the Dean of Students takes all conduct matters very seriously and is currently gathering more information about the incident.

“Students are using their voices to express the various ways this situation impacts UT and their personal lives,” Reagins-Lilly said. “Our office will work with the coalition to continue exploring options.”


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