Karli Mauldin and Patrick Stephens
Assistant News Editor and Staff Writer
After six “rogue” Pi Kappa Phi fraternity members took part in the hazing of a pledge, three were expelled from the organization, according to fraternity president Christopher Brooks.
On the night of Tuesday, Sept. 10, the a pledge of the fraternity was found at the bridge on U.S. 29 by the Troy Police Department, trying to flag down vehicles after escaping from the tree he was tied to.
According to University Police Chief John McCall, the pledge had been tied to a tree and told to find his own way home by brothers of the Gamma Gamma chapter of Pi Kappa Phi.
According to a written police report made by the city police, filed the same night, the victim was covered in egg, eggshells and dirt. When the officer asked about the eggs the victim said he was egged before being tied to a tree beside the river.
When the officer made contact with the fraternity after dropping the victim off at the fraternity house, the president was investigating the incident.
According to the police report, the pledge educator “stated that he would find out who was involved and they would be punished and possibly expelled from the organization.”
Pledge educator is a position given to an initiated brother who is responsible for organizing and implementing a brotherhood development program for new members,
The victim was asked whether he wanted to file a police report with the city, but told “One of the brothers indicated that they went back to find the pledge but he was gone when they came to the tree,” University Police Chief John McCall said.
“I think the demeanor with the pledge was that basically it was something he was going to have to do, so he agreed to let the brothers tie him to a tree. He acted like he was trying to get it over with and be a good sport about it.”
McCall said there is an indication that this has happened to Pi Kappa Phi pledges in the past. The fraternity has been trying to put it to rest, but some of the brothers were trying to bring back the tradition.
The Troy University student handbook defines hazing as any intentional, negligent or reckless action, activity or situation that causes another pain, embarrassment, ridicule or harassment, regardless of the individual’s willingness to participate.
Such actions and situations include forcing or requiring the drinking of alcohol or any other substance, forcing or requiring the eating of food or any other substance, “treeing,” paddling, line-ups, theft of any property, road trips, scavenger hunts, permitting less than six continuous hours of sleep per night, conducting activities that do not allow adequate time for study, nudity at any time, running personal errands for the members (driving them to class, cleaning their individual rooms, serving meals, etc.) or forcing or requiring the violation of university, federal, state or local law.
According to the handbook, “Troy University does not condone hazing in any form.”
McCall said hazing is a criminal behavior and a misdemeanor depending on whether physical harm results. “In this circumstance there were no injuries,” McCall said. “The pledge was just embarrassed, humiliated, inconvenienced and just left out in the woods by himself. Luckily, there was no harm done.” Brooks said that when he was informed of the incident, he found the new member in question in the public restroom of the fraternity house cleaning himself off. According to Brooks, he asked whether he had been hurt in any way, and the pledge shrugged it off as if it hadn’t been a big deal.
He said it was fine and even asked Brooks whether it would affect his pledge process. “I told him that the fraternity wants him as long as he wants to be here,” Brooks said. “The pledge said Pi Kappa Phi has a great thing going, and he wants to be a part of it.” The day after the incident the chapter held a standards meeting with the six individuals involved.
Brooks said that he, the standards chair and the rest of the chapter’s executive board decided the best decision would be to terminate the membership of three who were involved in the incident. “Three of the six that were involved were expelled from the fraternity, and we’re going to move on from there,” Brooks said. “Our fraternity does not condone hazing of any kind and we look forward to moving past this incident with the actions we have taken.”
After the incident took place, the fraternity was placed on a suspension by its national organization and the university. The suspension required the fraternity to abstain from social functions including the cancellation of swaps, or parties with other members of the Greek community, at its fraternity house.
The national organization’s suspension was recently lifted after the paperwork describing the actions taken by the executive members of the fraternity was given to nationals. Brooks said that as of now, the Gamma Gamma Chapter’s university suspension will be lifted as soon as the paperwork concerning the actions taken against the members involved is finalized.
Chris Hager, the university’s coordinator of student involvement and InterFraternity Council adviser, said that Greek chapters should understand that hazing at Troy University is not condoned in any shape, form or fashion.
“I serve on a national committee for hazing prevention, and I have seen what hazing can do to chapters,” Hager said. “I believe hazing does not build chapters up. It tears them apart.”
According to Hager the chapter plans to go over its code of conduct. The fraternity’s national organization will look at the chapter’s new-member education program to make sure there is no gray area, such as any other hazing events or procedures concerning the pledging process.
The chapter will also conduct education and programming sessions internally as a part of its chapter action plan.
While he was not available for an interview, according to all sources, the pledge in question is continuing with his new-member process as a part of the fraternity.