Saturday, March 03, 2007

UF-Pike Suspended Until Spring 2009

Greek Judicial Board weighs Pike's fate
By JESSICA DaSILVA
Alligator Writer

During a seven-hour meeting Thursday night, UF's Greek Judicial Board recommended the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity be suspended until Spring 2009.

The board cleared the fraternity, known as Pike, from its hazing charge, but determined it is responsible for hosting an unregistered party and committing actions "with disregard to the possible harm of an individual or group."

Pike's attorney, John Stokes, said he thought it was obvious that this was an unfair process for the fraternity.

On Feb. 2, the fraternity was charged by UF for events that allegedly took place at a party thrown after the UF-University of Alabama football game on Sept. 30.

Along with hazing, Pike was charged with throwing an unregistered party and committing actions "with disregard to the possible harm of an individual or group," according to a letter from Associate Dean of Students Paige Crandall, addressed to the fraternity's acting president, Patrick Duffey.

The case first arose after three females - two 18-year-old UF students and one 17-year-old high school student - suspected they had been drugged at the house on University Avenue during the party.

In his testimony, Gainesville Police Department Detective Thomas Bacon said the three females reported waking up with no memory of the past three hours.
All three said they had been drinking, Bacon said.

The 18-year-olds said they were drinking before the party, and the 17-year-old, who had a brother in the fraternity, said she only drank at the house, Bacon said.

He said results did not prove the three females were drugged or sexually battered.
Because there was no evidence to support the reports, the GPD investigation is at a standstill, he said.

University Police Department Officer Darren Baxley said that when he and officers from GPD searched the house the day after the party, he saw evidence of alcohol having been served.

In addition to empty bottles, keg taps and refrigerators bearing an inscription that said "Pike bar," Baxley said there were several areas around the house and basement that had been set up as bars.

Bacon said he interviewed several Pike pledges about hazing, which involved being forced to serve alcohol and wear gold jerseys with red writing to designate themselves as Pike pledges.

Acting president Duffey, who said he was serving as an advocate for the fraternity and not as a witness, objected to both officers' testimonies, saying they were based on hearsay.

In recorded interviews with Pike pledges whose names were withheld, neither said they were forced to serve drinks. However, they alluded to drink-serving as a Pike tradition.

"You don't have to," said one of the witnesses. "It's not a rule. It's expected."
In a separate interview, another pledge said there was nothing to drink at the party except beer, wine and hunch punch.

Both pledges said they served alcohol to alumni and party guests on shifts, neither of them checking for identification.

Duffey said he objected to the recordings because the police conducting the interview were asking about rumors.

During his final statement, Duffey said the hearing was not about justice but about making an example out of his fraternity.

"All this shows is that alcohol was served at a party in Gainesville, Florida, on a game day," Duffey said. "We asked our pledges to help out during a party on game day."