Three members of the banned fraternity, Chi Phi (now known as 200 Langdon), were ticketed and fined for removing a tree from the UW-Madison Arboretum on Nov. 5, 2020.
On Monday, March 22 the UW-Madison Police Department received a tip that led them to identify three members of 200 Langdon, whose house was formally affiliated with Chi Phi, a fraternity that is no longer recognized as a student organization, to be responsible for the theft of a 25-foot tall tree from the Arboretum last November.
The students were identified as Cameron Krahn, Cody Knepprath and Joshua Michels. According to an interview conducted by the UWPD, the three members admitted to buying a saw, renting a U-Haul truck and stealing the tree while pledging for the organization. When they learned how rare the tree was, and that UWPD was investigating, they destroyed the tree and disposed of it outside of the City of Madison.
The Algonquin Pillar Swiss Mountain Pine Tree, planted in 1988, was cut down and removed sometime between November 5th and November 9th of 2020. The Arboretum staff estimated the tree’s worth at $13,000.
The three students were each fined $200.50 and ticketed for the removal of the tree.
One of the students, Cameron Krahn, claimed that they were tasked to get a Christmas tree for their organization, and were not coerced into getting a specific type. He said they were unaware of the value of the tree and that the location they chose was the Arboretum.
“There is no excuse for what we did, we’re extremely sorry and ashamed. To the community, Arboretum staff and university, we want to apologize and let you know we will never do something like this again and have learned so much from our mistake,” said 19-year-old Krahn. “We’re incredibly sorry it came at the expense of something so important.”
UW-Madison shut down the fraternity in 2015 after reports of hazing surfaced.