KU fraternity suspended by national organization in wake of animal cruelty allegations

The Beta Theta Pi national organization has suspended the Kansas University chapter “indefinitely” following allegations of animal cruelty at a party at the fraternity Friday night.

“We were a little shocked by the accounts that are being shared,” said Martin Cobb, spokesman for the Beta Theta Pi national organization.

Lawrence police Friday night were called to Beta Theta Pi, 1425 Tennessee St., to investigate an animal cruelty complaint involving a turkey, said Lawrence Police Sgt. Trent McKinley.

Police determined that a live turkey, which had been in a cage, got loose and was “chased and abused by several individuals present at the party, seriously injuring the animal.”

Someone killed the turkey, “stating he did so to end its suffering,” McKinley said.

No one was arrested, but police will forward the case to the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office for possible charging. That process could take several weeks.

Representatives from the KU chapter did not return calls or emails.

Cobb said officials with the national organization are still trying to gather details about the case.

“We want to get to the bottom of things ASAP,” he said.

At KU, the national organization, as well as the KU Interfraternity Council, are responsible for investigating such cases and taking action, said Jill Jess, KU spokeswoman.

“Behavior such as that reported is reprehensible and is not what KU would expect from its students,” said Jess in a written statement.

Jack Esberg, a KU student and spokesman for the Interfraternity Council, declined comment until the conclusion of the investigation.