Blackface ... hazing ... and now waterboarding? How much lower can Cal Poly frats sink?

We’re barely into a new academic year, and already Cal Poly administrators are investigating yet another scandal involving outrageous conduct by Cal Poly fraternity members.

This time, Beta Theta Pi members engaged in a version of waterboarding, apparently as a party game punishment.

Fun times, right?

Somebody messes up at a beer party, and you borrow a page from a torture manual.

Make no mistake — these aren’t just allegations. A video clearly shows a young man with a cloth over his face, lying on his back directly under the spigot of an outdoor faucet. Water is gushing over his face, and while he’s not restrained, it’s still an ugly, sadistic act.

But the frat brothers don’t see it like that.

A caption on the video reads: “When you troll in beer die you get waterboarded.”

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Beer die, a popular drinking game, involves aiming a die so it’ll land in an opponent’s cup or bounce off a table to score points.

The “game” took place during the last school year — we’ve gotten conflicting reports as to exactly when — at an off-campus Beta Theta Pi house on Chaplin Lane in San Luis Obispo. It came to light only recently, when Mustang News published the video.

Cal Poly says it’s investigating the video.

So far, there have been no public expression of outrage from administration. No reminder that hazing is illegal and will not be tolerated. And certainly no immediate sanctions for Beta Theta Pi.

But then, what good have those steps done in the past?

Time and again, Cal Poly has cracked down on fraternities for hazing, sexual assaults, coerced drinking, blatant racism — including two separate incidents last year of fraternity members appearing in blackface — yet it continues.

In one of last year’s incidents, the frat member photographed in blackface claimed he didn’t know its “historical racial significance.”

Will that be the go-to explanation in this case, too?

Will Beta Theta Pi members claim ignorance of the historical significance of waterboarding?


We’re tired of saying it, but if fraternity members cannot behave like respectful human beings of their own accord, they don’t belong at Cal Poly.

There are plenty of other students waiting to take their place.

This editorial was updated to reflect that it’s not certain when the party occurred.

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