Regular visitors to our Fraternity Hazing website know that we monitor both the local and national news media for reports of hazing and other types of misconduct by college fraternities. In today’s post, the fraternity hazing lawyers at The Doan Law Firm take a look at how the University of Iowa is dealing with fraternity misconduct involving hazing and alcoholic beverage policy violations.
Alcohol Related Fraternity Hazing
At about 7:00 AM on April 30, 2017 Camden County (MO) EMS personnel responded to a “man unresponsive” call made from a room at the Camden on the Lake Resort. Upon arrival, responders found a young man who was in full cardiac arrest. Despite their best efforts, the victim could not be revived and was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The young man was later identified as 19-year-old Kamil Jackowski, a freshman at the University of Iowa and a member of the school’s chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity.
Following Jackowski’s death the school’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) announced that the school’s fraternities and sororities had issued a self-imposed voluntary moratorium on the serving of alcohol at fraternity and sorority social events as well as a permanent ban on fraternity and sorority-sponsored out-of-state formals. However, some fraternities appeared to be more concerned with the “quality” of their members’ social lives rather than their members’ safety.
On October 10th of this year the school announced that it had suspended, pending investigation, 9 fraternities after receiving multiple complaints from non-student neighbors as well as the Iowa City Police Department, regarding alcohol use and disruptive behavior at tailgate parties prior to and during Iowa’s home football games. The suspended fraternities were identified as:
- Beta Theta Pi
- Delta Chi (Later placed on deferred suspension until Spring Semester of 2020)
- Phi Delta Theta
- Pi Kappa Alpha
- Pi Kappa Phi
- Sigma Alpha Epsilon
- Sigma Phi Epsilon
- Sigma Pi
In a letter sent to the presidents of each suspended fraternity the University’s Vice President for Student Life, Melissa Shivers, said the fraternities were placed on suspension pending the outcome of investigations into violations of the school’s conduct policies:
"It is disheartening to share this news with you, but the Division of Student Life will not tolerate this disregard for the FSL moratorium and your health, safety, and wellness … The blatant and systemic failure to curb holding dangerous open events with alcohol, including tailgates, will stop. Anything short of compliance with FSL policies, the University of Iowa, and your respective inter/national rules and policies is unacceptable."
If you thought that other fraternities would have “toned things down” after realizing that half of Fraternity Row was under investigation, you would be wrong! On November 2 nd Iowa suspended, again pending investigation, the local chapter of Kappa Sigma for reports of hazing and other violations of school policies.
The Fraternity Presidents Respond
The elected officers of the “suspended pending investigation” fraternities immediately cried foul, claiming that they were being treated unfairly by having, among other things, their constitutional “due process” rights denied them by the university and not being allowed to present their side of their story. When asked for comment, the President of the University of Iowa’s Interfraternity Council, Jason R. Pierce-Vasquez, called the suspensions a “… PR move …” and that "If you are talking about an alcohol violation, that is something that should be dealt with internally …" He did not elaborate on the wisdom of his suggestion that allowing organizations that were accused of repeated serious personal conduct violations to deal with the problem “internally.”
Contacting a Fraternity Hazing / Misconduct Lawyer
On average, about 100 college fraternities find themselves disciplined for “unacceptable” behavior each year. In most cases, the local fraternity chapter is temporarily denied status as a “recognized” organization by its host school for a few years before being allowed to quietly re-establish itself.
If your child was injured during a fraternity initiation or while fraternity-sponsored event, we invite you to contact the fraternity hazing injury lawyer at The Doan Law Firm to arrange a free review of the facts surrounding his (or her) injury and a discussion of the legal options that may be available to you.
When you contact our firm, you initial case review and discussion with our fraternity hazing injury lawyer is always free and does not require you to hire our firm. Should you decide that you would like to have us 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.