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Fraternity Suspension Update: 2nd Quarter, 2018

In previous pages published on this website, we have reported our findings regarding fraternity hazing / fraternity misconduct incidents for the calendar year 2017 and the 1st calendar quarter of 2018.

As a service to both prospective fraternity members and to their parents, the fraternity hazing lawyer at the Doan Law Firm presents the following information that was drawn from our in-house fraternity hazing database.

In the 2nd calendar quarter of 2018, we were able to document the following:

  • there were 44 fraternities that were suspended
  • five schools had declared a campus-wide suspension of fraternity activities and those suspensions were in force for at least a part of the 2nd calendar quarter of 2018
  • there were no deaths related to fraternity hazing in the 2nd quarter of 2018. However, a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, 20-year old Polly Miranda Rodgers, died when she fell through a window on a "party bus" that had been rented by the Kappa Sigma fraternity, also of that school. Toxicology testing later revealed that Ms. Rodgers' blood alcohol concentration was 0.14, nearly twice the level required to win a conviction on a DUI/DWI charge in North Carolina.

As always, we caution the reader that the information used in compiling our database is largely taken from news reports that appeared in the local news media. As such, that information is not always as reliable as we might hope. For example, we suspect that many schools enjoy a too "cozy" a relationship with their local media outlets and thus are able to "downplay" or "kill" any news reports that would portray the school in anything except the most favorable terms. We are currently researching this topic and hope to present our findings, either positive or negative, by the end of this year.

Fraternity suspensions by school

The schools listed below reported at least 2, or more, fraternity suspensions during the 2nd calendar quarter of 2018.

  • West Virginia, 4 suspensions (Phi Sigma Kappa, Sigma Alpha Mu, Pi Kappa Alpha, Phi Gamma Delta)
  • Ohio State, 3 suspensions (Alpha Epsilon Pi, Sigma Alpha Mu, Phi Kappa Psi)
  • University of Texas-Arlington, 3 suspensions (Sigma Phi Epsilon, Phi Gamma Delta, Phi Delta Theta)
  • University of Central Florida, 2 suspensions (Alpha Tau Omega, Delta Sigma Phi)
  • Syracuse, 2 suspensions (Sigma Alpha Mu, Theta Tau)
  • University of North Carolina-Charlotte, 2 suspensions (Lambda Chi Alpha, Kappa Sigma)

Fraternities suspended

The local chapters of the following fraternities were suspended by the host school and/or had their charters revoked by their respective national headquarters.

  • Lambda Chi Alpha, 3 suspensions (Southeastern Oklahoma, Cal Poly, UNC-Charlotte)
  • Sigma Alpha Epsilon, 3 suspensions (Westminster (MO), George Mason, Arizona)
  • Sigma Alpha Mu, 3 suspensions (Syracuse, Ohio State, West Virginia)
  • Phi Gamma Delta, 2 suspensions (Northwestern, Texas-Arlington)
  • Pi Kappa Alpha, 2 suspensions (Arkansas-Little Rock, Wisconsin-Whitewater)

Campus-wide fraternity suspensions

The following schools had "campus-wide" suspensions of Greek organizations that were in effect during at least part of the 2nd quarter of 2018.

Cal Poly

On April 17th Cal Poly announced that all Interfraternity Council-member fraternities and Panhellenic Council-member sororities had been suspended due to an increase in the number of "racially-charged" incidents that included anti-Hispanic photos made at Lambda Chi Alpha and Sigma Nu fraternity parties.

Kansas

On March 12th the Interfraternity Council at Kansas announced the "voluntary temporary suspension" of all fraternity social events after numerous instances of school alcohol policy violations. The suspension followed the suspension of 3 IFC-member fraternities for hazing and alcohol violations during the current academic year.

Miami (OH)

In February, Miami (OH) announced the immediate indefinite suspension of all fraternity activities after it received numerous reports of hazing and alcohol policy violations during the recently-completed "rush week."

Murray State

On May 9th, Murray State announced that all Greek social activities were to be suspended indefinitely due to multiple reports of violations of the school's alcohol and hazing policies. The school stated that it was forming an investigative committee to investigate these reports and that the suspension could extend into the Fall Semester.

San Diego State

In March, San Diego State placed a "social moratorium" on all Interfraternity Council member fraternities. The school has stated that this "no partying" ban will likely be extended until at least the beginning of the fall semester.

Fraternity Hazing and Misconduct Recap: Summer, 2018

Delta Chi unseats Sigma Alpha Epsilon as "most suspended fraternity of the quarter"

Summers are usually relatively quiet times on college campuses because most students are away on what they consider a well-earned rest and their antics are thus removed from the scrutiny of their schools' administrations. At the Doan Law Firm, we are pleased to report that our Fraternity Hazing and Misconduct Database reveals that the Summer of 2018 was no exception.

During the 3rd calendar quarter of 2018, 23 fraternities were suspended by the host schools and/or their national organizations. This was unusual in that (1) "only" one fraternity (Delta Chi) was suspended from more than one campus (Florida, Iowa State, and LSU) between July 1 and September 30, thus unseating perennial suspension champion Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and (2) only two schools were forced to suspend more than one fraternity during that same period: Kentucky (Sigma Chi and Alpha Tau Omega) and West Virginia (Alpha Sigma Phi, Kappa Alpha Order, Phi Sigma Kappa, Sigma Chi and Theta Chi)

"… court is now in session …"

Despite being relatively well-behaved for the past few months, fraternities and their members continued to grace the courts with their presence.

  • Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity was set to appear in court at 9 a.m. on Thursday, September 27th. in connection with a 2016 hazing incident involving its now-suspended University of Houston (TX) chapter. The national fraternity is facing a one-count Class B misdemeanor violation of Texas' anti-hazing law and, if convicted, faces a fine of $2,000.

  • In a lawsuit that was made public on September 21st it was revealed that Mark Clayton Oppenheimer had filed a personal injury lawsuit against the University of Kentucky's chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and the landlords or a residence located at 1561 Elizabeth Street in Louisville after he suffered a broken jaw when he was punched by fraternity members at a "SAE party house." Fraternities and sororities at Kentucky are not allowed to possess alcohol at any on-campus residence.

  • On Monday, September 14th, 4-year-old Marco Lee Shemwel died at Kentucky Children's Hospital two days after being struck by a car while he and his waited to cross a street near the University of Kentucky football stadium. Lexington (KY) Police arrested Jacob R. Heil, an 18-year-old pledge at Kentucky's Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, on a single charge of DUI. According to police, Heil admitted to consuming alcohol at an ATO party prior to the accident. Alpha Tau Omega's national headquarters later withdrew its local chapter's charter and the University of Kentucky withdrew its recognition of the fraternity.

  • As of September 14th, there were at least seven active lawsuits listed on the New Jersey court dockets against Stockton (NJ) University, Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, and at least two unnamed males alleging that female students were drugged and sexually assaulted on multiple occasions at the off-campus "underground" Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house. The fraternity had been expelled from campus in 2010.

  • It was revealed on September 12th that 20-year-old Nicholas Mauricio had filed a lawsuit against Florida State's chapter of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. According to the lawsuit, Mauricio's fraternity brothers had selected him as the "Scumbag of the Week" and, as part of his punishment for attaining that distinction, he was slapped on the face with such force that he fell backward and struck his head on the floor. As a consequence, he suffered two "brain bleeds" and may never be able to return to school.

  • According to news reports, a "membership review" by AEPi's national headquarters revealed that about half of the members were not students in good standing at Florida State University. The national headquarters voted to immediately shut down the local chapter.

  • On August 16th, the parents of Maxwell Gruver filed a $25 million wrongful death lawsuit against Louisiana State University, Phi Delta Theta, as well as several current and former fraternity members alleging that LSU was well-aware of dangerous patterns of behavior involving not only Phi Delta Theta but all fraternities at LSU, yet did not take steps to protect fraternity members or pledges. Max Gruver died of acute alcohol poisoning at a fraternity pledge event on September 13, 2017.

Monongahela Madness

The ongoing battle between West Virginia University (WVU) President Gordon Gee and the school's Greeks escalated with only four days remaining in the calendar quarter when Alpha Sigma Phi, Kappa Alpha Order, Phi Sigma Kappa, Sigma Chi and Theta Chi announced that they were "dissociating" themselves from WVU and would be forming a new "Independent Fraternity Council" (IFC).

When coupled with three other suspensions that were announced in June of this year (Phi Gamma Delta, Pi Kappa Alpha and Sigma Alpha Mu ), half of the fraternities at WVU are now on suspension.

Contacting a fraternity hazing / misconduct lawyerFraternity Hazing Lawyer

If your child was injured in a fraternity hazing ritual, or suffered an injury that can be traced to the serving of alcoholic beverages to someone who was under 21 years of age, you may have considered filing a lawsuit against those that you believe to have been responsible for your child's injury. If filing a lawsuit is indeed being considered, you will need to speak with a lawyer who is familiar with topics such as:

  • your state's alcoholic beverage control laws
  • your state's anti-hazing criminal laws
  • if your state protects its colleges and universities through the doctrine of sovereign immunity
  • how to investigate all aspects of a civil lawsuit to determine the chain of events that led to your child's injuries
  • the role of a fraternity's national organization in monitoring the conduct of the local "house"
  • the extent of the school's monitoring of a fraternity's behavior
  • identifying risk factors that should have alerted the school and/or the fraternity's national organization to a potential problem with the local fraternity chapter
  • selecting a law firm with experience in handling lawsuits involving multiple defendants in different states

One such lawyer with experience in these areas is the fraternity hazing / fraternity misconduct lawyer at the Doan Law Firm, a nationwide law practice with offices in major cities throughout the country.

When you contact the fraternity hazing lawyer at the Doan Law Firm to arrange a free review of your potential fraternity hazing / fraternity misconduct lawsuit, your initial consultation is always free of any charges and does not obligate you to hiring our firm to represent you in court. However, if you decide that we should manage your fraternity hazing / misconduct lawsuit, we are willing to assume full responsibility for all aspects of preparing your case for trial in exchange for a previously 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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