CORRECTION: A source error incorrectly identified the president of Sigma Beta Rho. The story has been changed to correctly identify the president.
The university recently suspended two multicultural fraternities — Kappa Alpha Psi and Sigma Beta Rho — for allegedly hazing their members, and Greek life officials are now ramping up efforts to educate the community on the ramifications of such incidents.
The Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life suspended Kappa Alpha Psi indefinitely on Feb. 12, pending the results of a joint investigation with the Office of Student Conduct. In addition, this university's chapter of Sigma Beta Rho was closed by its national organization Jan. 20 and is banned from the university for four years or until the last active member graduates, DFSL Director Matt Supple said.
Kappa Alpha Psi belongs to the National Pan-Hellenic Council and Sigma Beta Rho was part of the United Greek Council — both serve as the governing bodies of multicultural fraternities and sororities.
Kevin Pitts, the adviser to both groups, said DFSL is working with OSC to interview the brothers and pledges of Kappa Alpha Psi, whom he described as "innocent until proven responsible."
PHC President Kevin Chambers agreed.
"I look at them as though they're innocent," Chambers said. "If it comes out that they are guilty, then we'll deal with it."
Supple did not disclose what specific hazing allegations were made against either fraternity.
Kappa Alpha Psi chapter President Turner Pride and Sigma Beta Rho's former President Akash Garg could not be reached for comment.
Three other fraternities — Pi Kappa Alpha, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Delta Chi — have had their new member activities suspended, as well.
"Hazing is a problem across the board, regardless of what the makeup of the organization looks like," Supple said.
As of last semester, Kappa Alpha Psi had seven active undergraduate members and Sigma Beta Rho had 20, Supple said. Chambers said hazing allegations make it more difficult for the organizations to recruit because people outside of Greek life don't always see the positive aspects of the organizations.
"I think it reflects poorly on the Greek community," Chambers said. "I think people look at the negative versus the positive."
All four councils in the Greek system — including the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association — will host an information session March 31 to discuss the problems associated with hazing. And during PHC week, April 17 through 23, the PHC and the UGC will hold an information session about the ramifications of hazing in the media.
"We don't condone hazing at all, and the traditions of our organizations are built upon the values of scholarship, brotherhood [and] sisterhood," UGC President Reba Noel said, adding adding Greek life's positive attributes dwarf the incidents of hazing.
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