Effective yesterday, October 18th, the University of Alabama administration cancelled all fraternity pledgeships for the year. Assistant Dean of Students Lowell Davis said that fraternities should initiate their pledges as soon as possible.
“No hell week is to take place and, I quote, if hell week does take place, there will be hell to pay from the University of Alabama,” Davis said. “So please, understand that we take any allegation seriously and that we will not continue to let anything happen as it revolves around pledgeship here at the University of Alabama.”
In a press release, Vice President for Student Affairs Mark Nelson outlined the many allegations of hazing, against multiple organizations, that brought about the cancellation of all UA pledge programs.
Based on calls that have come into the hazing hotline in the last week, The University of Alabama has investigated several IFC fraternities who were accused of hazing incidents. UA appreciates the full cooperation, support and assistance of the fraternities, their national organizations and their chapter advisors.
As a result of these investigations, UA has taken the following actions:
· UA has issued interim suspensions to one former member of Pi Kappa Alpha and two active members who engaged in hazing activities at an off-campus location. Students may not attend classes or participate in University activities until they have appeared before Judicial Affairs and a decision is made on whether they can be reinstated and return to campus.
· UA has revoked Pi Kappa Alpha’s Student Organization Seating for the rest of this football season. Judicial Affairs is looking into sanctions for the chapter and additional penalties for other members, and the chapter will lose social privileges for Fall semester. As our investigations move forward, additional sanctions, consequences and penalties could be levied against these individuals and the chapter. If additional details reveal that criminal offenses were committed, the individuals will be referred to appropriate law enforcement officials.
· After being notified by UA about hazing allegations, the local chapter advisory board for Delta Tau Delta has suspended all pledge programs and social activities indefinitely. UA has referred Delta Tau Delta to Judicial Affairs. UA has revoked Delta Tau Delta’s Student Organization Seating for the rest of this football season.
· UA has ended all IFC pledgeship activities as of 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18. Greek Affairs, Judicial Affairs and/or UAPD will conduct a thorough and comprehensive review of all IFC fraternities on campus. As vague and non-specific allegations continue to circulate, UA is working diligently and carefully to clearly separate rumors from actual incidents and appropriately identify the individuals involved, so that those who are responsible for hazing activities can be held accountable for their behavior and decisions.
· During the last week, UA has received confidential and specific allegations via the hotline involving Phi Gamma Delta, Chi Phi, Sigma Nu, Kappa Alpha Order, Kappa Sigma, Pi Kappa Phi and Zeta Beta Tau. After investigating, Greek Affairs and Judicial Affairs have cleared Phi Gamma Delta, Sigma Nu, Kappa Alpha Order, Kappa Sigma, Pi Kappa Phi and Zeta Beta Tau.
· UA has also received a complaint about Theta Chi, and will begin that investigation immediately.
· The national organizations for Chi Phi and Pi Kappa Alpha have issued cease and desist communications to the local chapters and have indicated they will also conduct their own investigations.
After the university released the statement detailing the cause of the pledgeship cancellation, Nelson explained the university’s actions in a press conference.
“It is very difficult to investigate cases of hazing that are reported through anonymous sources that are vague,” Nelson said. “The sources that have come in this week have been very specific and have enabled us to take swifter action.”
Nelson also clarified that this was not a temporary suspension of pledgeship for those fraternities, but a permanent one for this year.
“It’s not a suspension for fraternity pledging, pledgeship is now over for this year,” Nelson said.
After Nelson was finished speaking, DKE rush chairman Jake Morrow addressed the media about the university’s actions.
“I thought it was a little ridiculous to be honest,” he said of today’s suspension. “I felt like having exercises, as the Vice President for student affairs said– our football team does exercises, I did exercises, I still do exercises, I feel like all students do exercises. I feel like for that to be considered hazing is absurd. I haven’t heard of any lightbulbs, bottlecaps or any of that with bows and toes.”
Morrow also called into question any report that came into UA’s hazing hotline.
“I also heard that the hazing hotline is all anonymous,” Morrow said. “I don’t understand somebody could, technically – anybody could call on the hazing hotline. Doesn’t have to be a greek member, could be anybody. I don’t see how that gives the credibility to say anything on the hazing hotline.”
Morrow said the people who are really hurt by the end of the pledge program are the pledges themselves.
“I’m not upset about not having pledgeship for my sake, I’m upset for the pledges,” Morrow said. “Basically, for my fraternity and I know a lot of others, is basically to get the pledge class together, have a brotherhood, that kind of thing, and I feel like it’s a little ridiculous that they’re taking that away from them.
Morrow said at his chapter, no hazing took place.
“There’s no hazing,” he said. “What we do is we like to teach DKE history. You learn the 20 chapters, you learn the years, you learn the founders, you learn certain things like that and you learn more about the house that you joined.”
He added that activities like “bows and toes,” build brotherhood in a pledge class.
“You just graduated high school, so you come to college, you’re a little immature, you got to learn new things, got to learn to do certain things,” he said. “When I was a newboy, I was very immature, my grades were terrible, I didn’t care about school, didn’t care about getting involved with internships and whatnot, and what doing certain things like that, which weren’t to the extent that was said, that’s something that you just experiences with your pledge brothers.”
Morrow said he wanted to see the pledge class come back next year.
“If they want to suspend it for the rest of the year that’s fine,” Morrow said. “I know for my newboys at least they all want to sign a letter saying that they want to do pledgeship anyway. There’s a lot of parents that still want them to go through pledgeship, there’s a lot of alumni that really want them to go through pledgeship.”
Morrow chose not comment on whether or not DKE would change their initiation date in response to the end of pledgeship. He said he knew hazing in all forms was illegal.
He also said accusations of alcohol-related hazing were unfounded.
“I would say that the majority of people, if you’re in a fraternity, even if you’re not in a fraternity, it doesn’t matter. Nobody forces anybody to drink alcohol, you have your right to say no,” Morrow said. “We don’t provide alcohol to them.”