Saturday, March 31, 2007

Pike's Keep on Keeping On Gets Them Gone

U. Florida fraternity suspended following party
By Jessica Dasilva

The Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity has been suspended from the University of Florida with loss of its recognition through the end of the spring 2011 semester, a decision released from the Dean of Students Office on Monday states.

The fraternity, also known as Pike, was found guilty by Gene Zdziarski, UF's dean of students, of hosting an unregistered party Feb. 2 and committing actions "with disregard to the possible harm of an individual or group."

Pike has 10 days to appeal the decision. Patrick Duffey, Pike's acting president, said he plans to. The appeal will go to Ainsley Carry, the assistant vice president for student affairs, who is the last person the case can go through before it leaves UF's jurisdiction.

"If the sanction was reasonable, we wouldn't be complaining," Duffey said. "If it was something we could live with, we would set it down."Duffey said one of Pike's reasons for appealing is a lack of due process. With a deliberation that lasted three hours longer than it was scheduled to and that included the advising of Paige Crandall, associate dean of students, and Chris Bullins, director of sorority and fraternity affairs, Duffey said he doesn't think Pike received a fair trial.

"I think the best thing you could compare that to is if any individual was on trial for a crime, and the jury left for deliberations, and the judge and prosecutor followed them into the prosecution room," Duffey said.

Pike was originally sentenced to two years' suspension by the Greek Judicial Board after a seven-hour meeting that ended in the early morning hours of March 2.

According to a letter sent to Pike, Zdziarski modified the punishment because Pike failed to "accept responsibility for, or to acknowledge the seriousness of its conduct."

Zdzdiarski also cited Pike's history of misconduct as a reason for extending the board's recommended suspension."There has been a recent pattern of behavior that is concerning to me," Zdziarski said.

"The board did a good job, but it's my job to make sure (the sentence) fits the level of consistency for the nature of the behavior that took place."
Pike's problematic history began with a suspension in 1999 after it was found guilty of hazing and other offenses that happened at a party.

According to a letter sent to Pike in 1999, the hazing charge included an incident when pledges were forced to wear nothing but jockstraps. Then members threw ice water, sand and garbage at them for several hours.

Pledges were also fed unidentified foods that made several of them vomit.
The suspension lasted through summer 2002 but didn't deter Pike for long.

In another letter from December 2002, Pike was suspended through fall 2003 for hazing and alcohol-related charges.

Pike was also asked to revise its constitution, bylaws and new member education program to curb any future hazing incidents.

However, two years later, in December 2004, Pike was placed on social suspension through the end of fall 2005, meaning it was forbidden from hosting events on- or off-campus, regardless of whether the events were official. Pike was charged that year for the same accusations they now face.

The decision states that if the fraternity re-registers with UF in 2011, it must pass several reviews of its chapter policies about alcohol, chapter bylaws and new member recruitment practices and education program.

Duffey said he would meet with members of the Alpha Eta Housing Corp., the company that owns the Pike house, on Wednesday to discuss its response to the decision.