Over the Years at the Pi Eta Speakers Club
A Recent Retrospective
* In 1979, a student was paralyzed from the neck down after he fell during a Pi Eta Club initiation ceremony.
* In 1982, Pi Eta Club members brought a sign reading, "Sheehy and the Pi, Hat Tricks and Fat Chicks," to a Harvard hockey game where fellow member Neil K. Sheehy '83 was on the ice. "The Pi guys always had fat chicks," Sheehy later told a reporter.
* In October 1983, 10 students were taken to University Health Services following a club initiation. Half had consumed excessive amounts of alcohol and the other five had sustained cuts and bruises. Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III asked the club to close. It did, and reopened in November after club officers agreed to institute policies aimed at preventing initiation injuries.
* In April 1984, Pi Eta club officers circulated a newsletter which referred to women as pigs. It discussed the "amazing pounding of private parts some poor suspecting fat load is going to take this Saturday by your huge and erect penis." The sheet described female party guests as "a bevy of slobbering bovines fresh for the slaughter" and promised "an opportunity to slice into one of these meaty but grateful heffers [sic] with ease."
The letter caused a furor on campus, prompting approximately 100 students to picket the club. University officials condemned the letter and asked the club to close down. Timothy J. Keating '85, who was then president of the club, declined to shut its doors, but issued an apology which described the newsletter as "a poor attempt at humor."
* In April 1986, a woman alleged that she was raped by a Harvard student at the Pi Eta Club, according to police reports. The woman said that a total of four men were involved in the assault. Police and the district attorney's office later decided that there was not enough evidence to press a criminal complaint.
* In November 1987, an indecent assault and battery at the club was reported to Harvard police. The case was "handled administratively," according to a police memorandum.
* In April 1988, a woman claimed that she was raped at the Pi Eta by a guest of a club member. She later sued the club, charging that it failed to supervise its guests and had an atmosphere which led to abuse of women. The case was settled out of court earlier this month.
* In November 1989, Cambridge police arrested three men following a brawl at the Pi Eta Club's entrance. None of the three were Harvard students. A club official said that "no one from the club really got involved."
* Last April, Cambridge police were called to the Pi Eta club three times in one weekend. One caller reported seeing a number of naked men standing in a window. Others complained of rowdiness. Within days, the Pi's alumni board closed the club. Graduate Board President Stephen P. Endlar '56 said the closing was to allow for needed renovations, but other members said it was prompted by the numerous complaints against the club. Some members of the club said they were wearing black armbands to protest the closure.
* Earlier this semester, two Crimson reporters observed a naked man standing with several other clothed men in the basement of the club's Mt. Auburn St. building.