Phi Delta Theta under investigation for hazing

The university has placed an interim suspension on Phi Delta Theta and is subsequently investigating the fraternity after allegations of hazing.

The suspension, placed Oct. 26, is a response to the fraternity being “deemed to be a threat to the safety and well-being of the university community, property or pose a substantial threat of disruption to the university‘s educational process,” according to the Student Rights and Responsibilities: Code of Student Behavior.

The national Phi Delta Theta organization also suspended the chapter Oct. 25.

“The chapter is currently under investigation for hazing and risk management policy violations,” the Phi Delta Theta General Headquarters said in a statement to The Shield. “As this is an ongoing investigation, there is no further information to provide at this time. However, any members involved in any activity contrary to Phi Delta Theta values and policies will be held accountable.”

According to the organization’s page on the university’s website, “Phi Delta Theta has a zero-tolerance hazing policy as well as alcohol-free housing.”

The national Phi Delta Theta organization has an anti-hazing philosophy. This statement is included on its website.

“Phi Delta Theta does not condone any form of hazing. It is contrary to the purpose of fraternity, let alone Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. Members can still achieve a close group of men throughout the organization without hazing and Phi Delta Theta General Headquarters offers resources to help transplant negative activities with positive ones.”

Phi Delta Theta encourages family members to discuss hazing and other new member practices. Family members have the unique opportunity to speak one-on-one about the dangers of hazing.”

Under the temporary suspension, the fraternity will be required to cease all campus activities throughout the entire disciplinary process, including any possible appeal.

“We value Greek organizations and the contributions that they make to our campus, but at the same time student safety is most important to us,” Dean of Students Bryan Rush said.

Rush declined to comment on the nature of the case until the investigation is complete.

The Dean of Students Office and Student Development Programs are the investigators, and Rush said the process is nearly complete.

“We’ve had organizational cases in the past where we have investigated due to potential alcohol issues,” he said. “That’s been the majority of what we have dealt with.”

If the allegations are found to be true, possible sanctions against the chapter include restitution, probation, education and service sanctions, suspension of organization recognition and at the highest extent, withdrawal of the organization’s recognition by the university. Any possible sanctions brought against the fraternity could be a combination of any of the ones listed.

“It’s easy at times when it comes to Greek organizations to let a mistake reflect upon the whole and I think we have to be really careful and fair to make sure that we don’t make those assumptions,” Rush said. “People do make mistakes and we are all human. Some of those are very serious and we need to deal with it because we have certain expectations at this university that we are going to make sure our students have an environment where they are not going to have to worry about their safety.”

The Shield also reached out to members of the Phi Delta Theta chapter, but they did not respond.