Wednesday, January 26, 2011

GW Charges 3 Greek Chapters with Hazing

University charges three chapters with hazing

by Madeleine Morgenstern

Three Greek-life chapters were formally charged with counts of hazing, providing alcohol to minors and underage consumption of alcohol, a University official confirmed Sunday night, moving the months-long controversy one step closer to completion.

Kappa Kappa Gamma, Pi Kappa Alpha and Sigma Phi Epsilon were all issued letters outlining the violations of the Student Code of Conduct the University believes have occurred, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Judicial Services Tara Pereira said.

All three chapters now face a decision of whether or not to plead "in violation" or "not in violation" to the charges.

No punishments - including possible loss of University housing or official charters - will be determined until after Wednesday, when chapter presidents are required to determine how they want to proceed. Presidents can decide whether or not to have a full SJS hearing, or plead guilty to the charges - moving them directly to a sentencing process.

"It is in their hands to make these decisions," Pereira said, adding that after Wednesday, a better timeline for potential sanctions will emerge.

Pereira would not comment on whether Pi Kappa Alpha and Sigma Phi Epsilon would be barred from participating in spring rush, which begins next week.

"Until we have the chapter's next steps, we're not doing anything sanction-wise," Pereira said. "[Whether they participate] is still on the table for discussion" over the next couple of days.

The University has remained silent on the specific allegations against the five chapters under investigation since November, citing privacy concerns to the victims involved, but an administrator close to the investigations said charges were serious enough to require long-term investigations.

"The last time SJS put three months into an investigation that was Greek-related was for other very serious incidents," the source said, citing the 2007 investigation into Alpha Pi Epsilon, also known as APES.

In 2007, several members of the fraternity came forward to report hazing allegations so severe that the University involved the Metropolitan Police Department. Extensive detail as to what the hazing allegations involved was never made public but the fraternity was booted off campus after the investigation completed.

Last year, Phi Kappa Psi was found in violation of the Student Code of Conduct for hazing and providing alcohol to minors, but did not lose its charter or University housing.

Pi Kappa Alpha President Michael Waterman declined to comment specifically on how the chapter will move forward, instead issued a statement to The Hatchet.

"We take nothing more seriously than the safety of our members and new members," Waterman said in the statement. "We as an organization do not support, engage in, or condone hazing, and are actively working with GW and our International Headquarters to address these allegations."

Sigma Phi Epsilon President Nick Polk declined to comment, and Kappa Kappa Gamma President Bianca Timiraos did not return a request for comment.

Delta Gamma and Pi Kappa Phi have also been under investigation by the University since November, but have not yet been formally charged.

"Decisions are forthcoming in relation to other investigations that have been going on this fall," Pereira said.

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