Riepe College House had its affiliation with Penn revoked this past weekend and will move off campus next semester.
The decision was finalized on Saturday, when more than 70 percent of the staff of Residential Services voted to revoke Riepe’s dorm privileges. The decision comes in light of a two-month investigation that the University conducted regarding allegations of hazing and alcohol abuse.
Although they will lose all recognition from the University, the dorm will continue to house freshmen and upperclassmen. The house, which will keep its name as Riepe College House, will have its own application process for students and will no longer feature residential advisors, graduate associates and house faculty members. The process of sealing Riepe off from the rest of the Quadrangle will begin this summer.
The group will operate without the supervision of Residential Services, making it the first off-campus residential dorm. Residents will be issued special ID's to access the building through the Lower Quad Gate and all of the locks in the building will be changed. Next year, Interim President of the House Warwick Bishop-White said the house will pay rent to the University, but he said that the possibility of full secession had not been ruled out for the future.
Riepe follows a series of moves off campus by Greek organizations.
Riepe’s troubles with the University began in early January when one faculty member reported incidents of hazing in a freshman hall. Residential Services declined to specifically name or comment on the hall. By late January, the University had launched a private investigation.
Certain staff members aware of the investigation said that there were issues with transparency.
“It was a private investigation, so I understand that they only let certain people know what was going on,” a faculty member who wished to remain anonymous said. “However, the staff and the students had no real input into the process.”
On March 5, the University told Riepe that the residence had violated Penn’s Alcohol and Drug Policy due to evidence of a startlingly high number of students needing medical assistance for intoxication. According to an anonymous resident of the house, the investigation started after a particularly ambitious freshman hall held a BYO in 1920 Commons — and more than 10 of the residents were hospitalized. Although they had not found tangible proof that the BYO was part of a hazing ritual, the University put Riepe under probation on March 16.
Representatives from Residential Services met with Riepe’s House Dean last week to discuss the steps that the University would take regarding the results of the investigation. On Saturday, the votes were tallied and Riepe’s position as a freshman dorm was ultimately revoked.
Residential Services said that to prevent future situations like this, incoming freshman will be required to take 10 weeks of alcohol education classes and dorms will dissolve certain first-year residential programs. Current residents and staff in other freshman dorms such as Hill House and Ware College House felt that these demands are unreasonable.
“I feel like all new freshman are being punished for the actions of one small group of students,” College freshman and Hill resident Allison Fisher said.
House Faculty members have expressed that Riepe's decision has inspired them.
“This is actually really exciting,” a Rodin College House Fellow who asked to remain anonymous said. “Rodin residents are clearly better than other college house residents. We've dreamt about seceding from the University for years.”
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