College investigates hazing allegations against two fraternities

By Gabby Goodwin & Ruby Van Dyk || Editors-in-Chief

Photo Courtesy of fandm.edu

In the last two months, two F&M fraternities, Chi Phi and Phi Kappa Tau, have been put under investigation for hazing allegations. Chi Phi fraternity has been on F&M’s campus for nearly 170 years and Phi Kappa Tau fraternity for almost 100.

The College has closed the Phi Kappa Tau case, unable to substantiate hazing allegations. They are in the process of concluding the investigation into hazing allegations against Chi Phi.

Over the past two months, the College Reporter has spent time investigating two allegations against Phi Kappa Tau both from an anonymous tip. The first part of the anonymous tip alleged that a brother of Phi Kappa Tau had used a homophobic slur in reference to another student, who had participated in Tau’s recruitment events, but had not pledged to the fraternity.

The incident allegedly occurred in a popular restaurant off campus. We have chosen to withhold the names of both students involved in the incident.

According to Department of Public Safety records, the incident occurred on Monday, February 18th at the Waffle House close to campus.

VP and Dean of Student Affairs, Margaret Hazlett, confirmed that this incident in Waffle House did occur, and that as of mid-February, was under investigation.

Both students involved in the incident declined to comment.

Secondly, the anonymous tip alleged that the fraternity had been hazing potential new members. It alleged that strippers were involved in this alleged hazing. The Reporter was unable to confirm this part of the tip.

The Dean’s Office confirmed that there was a slur made. Dean Hazlett also confirmed that they investigated the allegations that strippers were involved in a hazing incident.

“Anytime anything this serious is alleged it is our duty to investigate it. It’s difficult to find leads from an anonymous tip, but we are doing our best” said Hazlett on February 22nd.

Stuart Umberger, Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, confirmed he was aware of these allegations.

“I am aware of this horrible anonymous statement and it is being reviewed as part of F&M’s student code process and procedures” said Umberger on February 23rd.

The President of Phi Kappa Tau was unable to comment.

The College Reporter was unable to obtain a comment from Phi Kappa Tau National Headquarters.

The College Reporter has spoken with multiple sources regarding the alleged hazing incident. The majority of those who were able to provide information about these allegations were unable to go on the record because of fear of retribution and social backlash.

This being said, The College Reporter was unable to confirm these allegations from anyone who would have directly experienced the alleged hazing incident.

The College Reporter was able to speak to David Joo, a former pledge of the fraternity, who now attends a different college, about the supposed allegations. Joo, who pledged the fraternity in 2017, said he did not experience any hazing involving strippers during his experience.

Colette Shaw, Dean of Students, confirmed that the case involving Tau’s allegations is closed as of now, and that the college was unable to find any corroborating evidence. “We never traced it back to the source of these allegations, because people were unwilling to talk.” She added, “I would welcome anyone who changes their mind to come forward, even to dispel a rumor”

Chi Phi fraternity is currently under investigation for hazing allegations.

The fraternity has now received a cease and desist letter from the college which means, according to Dean Shaw, “that until the allegation of possible hazing is investigated and resolved, they are not to be in operation in any way. A violation of that directive could result in additional charges.”  

Umberger confirmed the fraternity was cooperating.

“Chi Phi students have been reasonably cooperative and the investigation has been moving forward. Futures are to be reviewed as the college process happens” said Umberger.

The College Reporter was unable to find out any specifics regarding the allegations.

According to Dean Shaw, “The College discovered video footage of what looked like it might be a prank involving new members. Each new member was brought in to be interviewed and a lot more was shared.”

When asked if Chi Phi would be removed from campus permanently, Shaw said, on the 10th of April, that “The official decision will arrive in a couple of weeks.” Shaw added that Chi Phi had already had their hearing.

The College Reporter was unable to obtain a quote from Chi Phi National Headquarters.

This is not the first time either Tau or Chi Phi has been accused of hazing.

According to public college records available on the F&M website, Phi Kappa Tau received disciplinary action by the college in Spring 2016.

The records stated that “Anonymous reports indicated that new members were subject to required calisthenics, forced to stay overnight in basement and placed in demeaning situations.”

They received “Disciplinary probation of one year, recruitment was halted pending educational programs. Loss of social privilege, substance free one year and educational sanctions.”

Chi Phi was also accused of hazing new members last spring.

According to the college records, in March 2018 “A new member reported to parents that he was exhausted and stressed from new member education. Parents reported to college, with few details. Speculation was that there were required calisthenics. College put new member program on hold and initiated investigation.”

The investigation was resolved in April of 2018, and the National office kept the chapter in good standing with conditions.

Dean Margaret Hazlett added that “All students are encourage to come forward to speak with anyone in my office, their college house dean or DPS if they are aware of a violation of the College’s hazing policy.”

Junior Gabby Goodwin and Sophomore Ruby Van Dyk are the Editors-in-Chief. Their emails are ggoodwin@fandm.edu and rvandyk@fandm.edu.


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