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Pi Kappa Alpha slapped with 5-year suspension

By Nick Phillips

April 19, 2012

Photo by Nick Phillips
This house across the street from campus is residence to some members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and site of many fraternity parties. The fraternity has been suspended from campus for five years.

The Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity has been officially suspended by UNCP and will not be eligible to return to campus as a recognized group until at least 2017.

The five-year ban comes after the fraternity went through a three-step process that included two appeals before a final decision was handed down on March 29.

"It's always unfortunate when we lose a Greek organization," said Dr. Diane Jones, vice chancellor for Student Affairs.

An appeal with Dr. Jones was the fraternity's final step, and she handed down the sentence, which she said was in line with what had been given in the past.

Tau Kappa Epsilon and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. both were previously suspended for five years. They could both return to campus as early as this fall.

According to Dr. Jones, Pi Kappa Alpha first received an administrative hearing before going before the Campus Appeal Board in their first appeal.

The Campus Appeal Board issued their decision on March 22, and the fraternity took the issue to Dr. Jones, the final appeal. Dr. Jones' decision was announced on March 29.

"There was extensive documentation," Dr. Jones said.

"It had gone all the way through the appeals," she added.

Whitney Swesey, the director of Greek Life, said that the suspension was not a shock.

"This was not a surprise to them. They knew they were on thin ice," Swesey said.

Swesey said that Pi Kappa Alpha now "doesn't exist at UNCP anymore," and that their National Headquarters would have to contact the University if they wanted to return after the five-year ban, and even then, there is no guarantee to return.

As non-recognized, the Pikes cannot wear shirts with their letters on them, they cannot reserve meeting space without paying the University fee and they cannot have over a certain number of people on any one intramural team, among other things.

"I feel bad for them. There really are some good men in the group. I'm not sure exactly where it went wrong," Swesey said.

Swesey said that as soon as she arrived on campus in November, she knew that the group was having trouble and that she worked with them.

She added that she met weekly with the Pi Kappa Alpha president, Michael Perry, and whoever he wanted to bring in with him. In comparison, Swesey said that she did not have to schedule meetings of any sort – weekly, monthly, etc., with any other Greek organization.

Risk management

Officially, according to the Greek Life portion of the university website, Pi Kappa Alpha is listed as "suspended by UNCP, until at least 2017, due to risk management violations."

UNCP requires that all student organizations recognized by the Office of Greek Life comply with a Risk Management Policy provided by Fraternity Insurance Protection Group, Inc. (FIPG, Inc.) that is posted on the Greek Life portion of the university website.

The Risk Management Policy of FIPG, Inc. includes the provisions which follow and shall apply to all fraternity/sorority entities and all levels of fraternity/sorority membership.

Inside that Risk Management Policy is a section labeled as "Alcohol and Drugs," which includes a bullet point stating that "no members, collectively or individually, shall purchase for, serve to, or sell alcoholic beverages to any minor (i.e., those under legal 'drinking age')."

Also stated in the same section of the Rick Management Policy is that "open parties, meaning those with unrestricted access by non-members of the fraternity/sorority, without specific invitation, where alcohol is present, shall be prohibited."

Swesey said that in order to have an open party, each individual member can only invite up to three guests.

She added that the parties must have a "bring your own beer" policy and that the alcohol can not be a keg, 24 pack, or any other large size, and that hard liquor is never permitted.

Swesey said she saw the information about Pi Kappa Alpha's last party via social networking.

"We are in an age when Facebook and Twitter are so big," she said. "People think nothing of it and post stuff."

She added that the suspension was not based on one specific reason, but that it was a buildup of events on a broad scale parties and other things such as not turning in paperwork before the final party.

"I got to the point with that chapter where I feared for their safety," Swesey said.

Swesey emphasized that there was never an issue regarding hazing.

From here

Swesey said that another side note to the suspension is that no member currently involved with Pi Kappa Alpha can ever be involved with the fraternity at UNCP again, including being an adviser to the chapter in the future.

However, the decision does not affect the former members, who will still be able to show letters and colors, for instance, at events such as Homecoming. Swesey did add that they must portray themselves as 'alumni' and not as the Eta Omega Chapter.

Although Pi Kappa Alpha will not be recognized over the University over the five years, the fraternity could still have a presence in Pembroke.

The Greek Life Office is still waiting to hear from the Pi Kappa Alpha National Headquarters whether they will continue the Eta Omega Chapter during the ban. If the National Headquarters chooses, the Pikes at UNCP could continue to actively function without the approval of UNCP.

"They could be here but would not be an officially recognized organization, but that will be up to their National Office," Swesey says.

She added that, if the fraternity did continue on, they could function as every other Greek organization, including recruiting and adding new members.

However, Swesey said that the Greek Life Office would warn students against rushing and joining the fraternity, because, as not recognized by the University, Pi Kappa Alpha would not be held to the standards of held to the standards of During the investigation UNCP again, including the Risk Management Policy and that the Greek Life Office would not be able to assure the safety of the students.

Similar situations

The Pi Kappa Alpha's situation at UNCP is not the only situation the fraternity has run into, with chapters at other schools also having incidents.

The most recent incident came from Appalachian State, where their chapter recieved a two year suspension on Feb. 20 due to a hazing violation. They can request to be recognized again in 2014.

At UNC-Chapel Hill, that chapter pled guilty in 2008 to being in violation of their Greek Alcohol Policy after being turned in by the Hazing Hotline. They were fined for the incident.

Wake Forest University's chapter was placed on probation in 2003 for violations to its Risk Management Policy and was placed on social probation.

Western Carolina University lists Pi Kappa Alpha as unrecognized as well. According to their Greek Life office, that chapter is on a two-year suspension.

The most severe incident came at Coastal Carolina University in 2006, where that chapter was placed on a seven-year suspension for alcohol abuse and hazing that left two students hospitalized with alcohol-induced comas.

During the investigation into this story, The Pine Needle also confirmed that the following schools' Pi Kappa Alpha chapters were in good standing: Duke University, East Carolina University, High Point University, N.C. State University, UNC-Charlotte, UNC-Greensboro, and UNC-Wilmington.
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Updated: Thursday, April 26, 2012
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