UT Arlington fraternity suspended for three years, others for two semesters

Posted Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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More information Other inactive chapters: The local chapters of Kappa Alpha Psi and Zeta Phi Beta were suspended in May 2010 and can reapply next year to return.

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The University of Texas at Arlington suspended local fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon for three years in connection with providing alcohol to minors as young as 14.

Sigma Phi Epsilon members must move out of their fraternity house at 705 S. Davis Drive by Dec. 31 and cannot engage in chapter activities until 2017, university spokeswoman Kristin Sullivan said.

After an investigation, UTA also put three other fraternities on probation Friday for underage drinking and unregistered parties surrounding Bid Day activities. A fifth fraternity was put on interim suspension because of allegations of hazing and early acceptance of a pledge.

Sigma Phi Epsilon is accused of selling mixed drinks to underage people at a “Glow Party” that was part of the fraternity’s Aug. 23-Sept. 7 Bid Day activities. Bid Day, when students are accepted into fraternities and sororities, was Sept. 7.

The fraternity is accused of allowing seven to 10 teens ages 14 to 18 into the party at the frat house, where they consumed alcohol with the fraternity’s members. Fraternity members are also accused of drinking alcohol in the morning in common areas before and after new member orientation.

University officials sent letters to the local chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon and the four other fraternities Friday, outlining allegations surrounding Bid Day activities.

At parties hosted by Sigma Chi and Pi Kappa Alpha, people were allowed to consume alcohol and were eventually hospitalized with blood alcohol levels of 0.30 and above, the letters say. That’s equivalent to 16 drinks and can result in a coma, according to medical websites.

Alpha Tau Omega, Pi Kappa Alpha and Sigma Chi chapters are on probation until May 31, 2014. They are prohibited from hosting social events or participating in alcohol-related events, Sullivan said. The fraternities must also complete online responsibility courses, host campuswide alcohol education events, undergo risk management training and write essays about values.

The university chapter of Pi Kappa Phi, which was told Friday that it was released from interim suspension, was put back on interim suspension Tuesday after an investigation revealed that potential fraternity members were offered bids before the official ceremony. A report of hazing is also under investigation.

Sigma Phi Epsilon can organize a petition drive in January 2017 to establish an active chapter as soon as June 1, 2017.

The Sigma Phi Epsilon and Sigma Chi local chapters were the only two fraternities to request formal hearings related to their misconduct findings by the Monday deadline. Sigma Phi Epsilon’s hearing has been set for Nov. 11 and is closed to the public. The university is in the process of scheduling Sigma Chi’s hearing.

“We are going to do everything we are able to do to make the most of this semester and gear up for next semester,” said Chris Ehiogu, president of the Pi Kappa Alpha chapter.

He said the fraternity will continue its fundraising.

Cayetano Chavez-Garcia, president of the Alpha Tau Omega chapter, said he was not ready to speak about his fraternity’s probation.

Sigma Phi Epsilon’s local and national chapters have not returned several emails and phone calls from the Star-Telegram seeking comment.

UT Arlington police are still investigating two criminal cases involving allegations of sexual assault, on Aug. 23 and Sept. 7, at the Sigma Phi Epsilon house. The criminal investigations are separate from the student conduct investigations, Sullivan said.

In the Sept. 7 case, a woman called for medical assistance and was taken to a hospital, where she reported being sexually assaulted.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Monica S. Nagy, 817-390-7792 Twitter:@MonicaNagyFWST

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