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Fraternity Hazing / Misconduct Recap: 2018

The Doan Law Firm Provides Experienced Representation for All Victims of Fraternity Hazing

The Doan Law Firm maintains a database that tracks reported incidents of disciplinary action taken against college fraternities due to hazing and/or other forms of misconduct by such “Greek letter organizations.”

On this webpage, our fraternity hazing lawyer presents a summary of fraternity misconduct incidents that occurred during 2018, a year that saw more fraternity-related deaths and more fraternities suspended by their host schools than in any previous year. Use the links below for more information on:

Fraternity-related deaths

In the year 2018 there 10 deaths that were linked to fraternity hazing or to fraternity-sponsored/ fraternity-associated events.

  • 21-year-old Kevin K. Ajluni, a student at Central Michigan University, was found dead at the bottom of a staircase in a private Mt. Pleasant, MI residence that had hosted a Phi Sigma Phi “event” earlier in the evening of April 28, 2018.

    Phi Sigma Phi was later expelled from the CMU campus due to multiple, confirmed, allegation of hazing, sexual assault, and alcohol/drug abuse occurring at the fraternity house.

  • At Murray State University (KY), 19-year-old Zach Wardrip was found dead in a room of the off-campus Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity house on April 29, 2018. Wardrip was not a student at Murray State and was not a member of Lambda Chi Alpha but had been visiting a friend at the school. Wardrip’s death was later attributed to acute alcohol intoxication.

  • On the evening of May 1, 2018 Polly Miranda Rogers, 20, a student at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte, was killed when she fell from a “party bus” that had been chartered by the local chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity to transport students to a Charlotte, NC-area bar. An autopsy revealed that her blood alcohol level was twice the level necessary to be convicted of DUI/DWI in North Carolina.

  • Texas A&M freshman Joseph Little, age 18, died on August 29, 2018 after suffering a “seizure” at an off-campus apartment. At that time the local media reported that the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, where Little was a pledge, was being investigated for possible involvement in Little’s death.

    An autopsy revealed that Little had died as a result of multiple seizures caused by use of the “prescription-only” stimulant Adderall. The fraternity was later suspended until 2022.

  • Dylan Fulton, a 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Minnesota-St. Paul, died September 12th after a night of heavy drinking at the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity.

  • Four-year-old Marco Lee Shemwell died at a Louisville (KY) hospital 3 days after being struck by a car as he and his family waited to cross a street near the University of Kentucky football stadium on the afternoon of September 15, 2018. The vehicle’s driver, 18-year-old Jacob R. Heil, admitted to drinking “two beers” earlier that day at the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house, where he was a pledge. The fraternity later announced that it was disbanding the University of Kentucky chapter.

  • In Riverside, CA, 20-year-old Tyler Hilliard died on September 16, 2018 after being transported to a local hospital the previous evening complaining of difficulty breathing at what presumably was some type of Alpha Phi Alpha-sponsored initiation event. After family members found what appeared to be references to hazing on Tyler’s cellphone, police classified his death as “suspicious” and launched a formal investigation while awaiting autopsy and toxicology results.

  • On October 25, 19-year-old TCU student Andrew Walker of Westford, MA was found dead after apparently jumping from an on-campus parking deck at Texas Christian University. Walker had been arrested in September on charges relating to a hazing incident involving the Kappa Sigma fraternity and was scheduled to appear in court on December 3, 2018, on the hazing charge as well as a later DUI arrest.

  • Ohio University freshman Collin Wiant, 18, died on November 12, 2018, shortly after being found unresponsive at an off-campus home. Wiant’s fraternity, Sigma Pi, was suspended pending investigation by the school and local police.

  • At Tennessee Tech, 23-year-old Paul Hamilton Ten Eyck was found dead shortly after midnight on December 8, 2018 in a room at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house. SAE was immediately suspending pending investigation and autopsy findings.

Fraternity Suspensions 2018Fraternity Hazing Lawyer

Thanks to “fraternity revolts” at West Virginia University and the University of Iowa which led to multiple fraternity suspensions at each school, a record 148 fraternities were suspended (at least temporarily) by their hosts in 2018.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon: 15 suspensions (Arizona, East Carolina, George Mason, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana@Lafayette, Memphis, Missouri, Montana State, North Georgia, Tennessee@Martin, Tennessee Tech, Texas@Austin, Westminster (MO), West Virginia)

Pi Kappa Alpha: 9 suspensions (Arkansas@Little Rock, Iowa, Louisiana@Monroe, Memphis, SMU, Southeast Missouri State. UMass, West Virginia, Wisconsin@Whitewater)

Sigma Chi: 9 suspensions (Kentucky, Louisiana@Lafayette, Missouri, Northern Colorado, Pittsburg, Stanford, West Virginia, Western Kentucky)

Kappa Sigma: 7 suspensions (Central Arkansas, East Tennessee State, Georgia Southern, Indiana, Iowa, UNC@Charlotte, Wisconsin@Madison)

Alpha Epsilon Pi: 5 suspensions (Florida State, Ohio State, Syracuse, Temple, Washington (MO))

Lambda Chi Alpha: 5 suspensions (Arkansas@Fayetteville, Cal Poly, Louisiana@Lafayette, Southeastern Oklahoma, UNC@Charlotte)

Sigma Alpha Mu: 4 suspensions (Ohio State, Syracuse, USC, West Virginia)

Alpha Tau Omega: 3 suspensions (Central Florida, Kentucky, Memphis)

Kappa Alpha Order: 3 suspensions (Oklahoma, San Diego State, West Virginia)

Tau Kappa Epsilon: 3 suspensions (Eastern Carolina, Indiana, Ohio State)

Fraternity Suspensions 2018 by School

As mentioned previously, the Universities of Iowa and West Virginia were the sites of “fraternity revolts” by frats “wanting to control their own destinies” without interference from their host schools’ administration. Had it not been for those mass suspensions, there would have been no “spike” of “bump” in the number of frat suspensions when compared to previous years. With that adjustment in mind, schools that reported 3 or more fraternity suspensions in 2018 were:

Iowa (10): Acacia, Beta Theta Pi, Delta Chi, Kappa Sigma, Phi Delta Theta, Pi Kappa Alpha, Pi Kappa Phi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Sigma Pi

West Virginia (8): Alpha Sigma Phi, Kappa Alpha Order, Phi Gamma Delta, Phi Sigma Kappa, Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Alpha Mu, Sigma Chi, Theta Chi

East Carolina (6): Alpha Phi, Delta Chi, Phi Kappa Tau, Pi Kappa Phi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Tau Kappa Epsilon

Memphis (4): Alpha Kappa Psi, Alpha Tau Omega, Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Alpha Epsilon

Ohio State (4): Alpha Epsilon Pi, Phi Kappa Psi, Sigma Alpha Mu, Tau Kappa Epsilon

Central Michigan (3): Phi Kappa Tau, Phi Sigma Phi, Pi Kappa Phi

San Diego State (3): Kappa Alpha, Sigma Nu, Sigma Phi Epsilon

Syracuse (3): Alpha Epsilon Pi, Sigma Alpha Mu, Theta Tau

Other fraternity-related news from 2018

  • Frustrated by what it felt was an unusually long investigation into multiple complaints of sexual assault involving its members, the local chapter of Sigma Chi announced that it was disaffiliating itself from Cal State at Long Beach.

  • Since July 2018, at least 4 lawsuits are known to have been filed against both Stockton (NJ) University and the national headquarters of Pi Kappa Phi by female students who say that they were drugged, physically attacked and sexually assaulted at a “run-down” off-campus residence that is occupied by male students identifying themselves as members of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. Pi Kappa Phi was expelled from campus, and its national charter revoked, in 2010 over “wild parties” at the fraternity’s former residence.

  • On October 10, the national headquarters of Sigma Alpha Epsilon filed a lawsuit against its suspended University of Texas at Austin chapter in a bid to stop the suspended unit from using the SAE name and logo.

  • In November Grand Valley (MI) State suspended all Greek events where alcohol was to be served and placed a moratorium on new member recruitment while the school reexamined its policies and relationships regarding fraternities and sororities.

  • On December 12, Lehigh University announced that all Spring Semester 2019 new member recruitment by members of the school’s Interfraternity Council will be suspended indefinitely while the school investigates “alleged hazing” activities at an on-campus fraternity house.

Contacting a fraternity misconduct lawyer

Perhaps one day we will look back at the year 2018 as the year that students, parents, and colleges finally said “Enough of this nonsense!” and stood up to the “Greeks.” This, of course, isn’t likely to happen since the same fraternities (e.g. Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Kappa Sigma) seem to consistently account for more injuries, and deaths, than other frats.

If your child was injured as a result of fraternity hazing, or some other form of voluntary misbehavior, we invite you to contact The Doan Law Firm, a nationwide fraternity hazing and personal injury law practice with offices in major cities across the country.

When you contact our firm to arrange a review of the facts in your fraternity hazing/misconduct injury case, your first consultation with our fraternity hazing lawyer is always free and does not obligate you to hire us as your attorneys of record. Should you decide to file a lawsuit, and that you would like for us to represent you in court, we are willing to assume full responsibility for all aspects of preparing your case for trial in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of the final settlement that we will win for you.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

After an accident, the responsible party's insurance company may try to reduce the claim amount. Commonly, insurance adjusters are trained to get information from the injured to assist in reducing the claim. Though some insurers are less guilty of this practice than others, it is important to realize that insurance companies are profit-oriented corporations and reducing claims results in increased profits for shareholders. This can create a situation for the injured in which they are offered a settlement that does not truly reflect the damages suffered. If you accept this settlement, you lose the ability to get more money should your injuries require further medical treatments. It is critical that victims get legal assistance in any personal injury case, and The Doan Law Firm is prepared to fight relentlessly for your rights.

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