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Archive for Saturday, March 1, 1997

KU FRATERNITY PLACED ON INTERIM SUSPENSION

March 1, 1997

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Pi Kappa Alpha became the fifth fraternity in the past 18 months to be disciplined by a national chapter or by the university.

Police and Kansas University officials' investigation into the hospitalization of a 19-year-old fraternity pledge has led to the interim suspension of the fraternity.

Pi Kappa Alpha, 2000 Stewart, was suspended Friday by the university pending a hearing next week to determine if the suspension should be made permanent.

"Based on preliminary information we have, an interim suspension was appropriate," Bill Nelson, coordinator of Greek programs, said Friday. "The chapter forfeits all the privileges afforded to student organizations."

In a statement, KU dean of student life James Kitchen called the fraternity's behavior, which involved consumption of alcohol by those younger than 21, "inappropriate."

House president Todd Guerrieri could not be reached for comment; a national representative for Pi Kappa Alpha was not available for comment.

According to police reports, the pledge was taken early Thursday to Lawrence Memorial Hospital after several hours of taking room-to-room shots of alcohol, engaging in wrestling matches and running back and forth between fraternities on Stewart Avenue. He eventually fell down in the street and passed out in the living room of Pi Kappa Alpha, police said.

Either active members or other pledges drove him to LMH. He was hospitalized but had been dismissed Friday.

Attending physicians in the emergency room made both police and university officials aware of his condition. His injuries were not life-threatening, but doctors told officers he was brought to the hospital "extremely intoxicated and unconscious," police spokeswoman Sgt. Susan Hadl said.

Once police were able to question him, he said he could not remember much of the night's activities.

Hadl said the alcohol was provided by the fraternity, and that members cheered while pledges drank. Fraternity members told police the drinking was voluntary, and that the activities -- including wrestling indoors among active members and pledges -- were part of tradition.

The "pledge dad" night began at 9 p.m. Wednesday and ended about 1 a.m. Thursday. Officers were called to LMH at 4:40 a.m.

KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway has said the university has a "zero-tolerance" policy on Greek hazing, a policy reflected in most U.S. colleges and universities.

In addition to being a university violation, hazing is a violation of state law, a misdemeanor.

In the past 18 months, four KU fraternities have been disciplined, either by the university or their national organizations, for hazing.

Zeta Beta Tau, 1942 Stewart Ave., was suspended last fall for hazing, but the fraternity's charter is still active at KU and it is not currently on probation.

Delta Tau Delta, 1111 E. 11th, Alpha Epsilon Pi, 1116 Ind., and Delta Chi, 1245 West Campus Rd., are on probation with the university for hazing.

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