116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY - A troubled University of Iowa fraternity that's been on some form of probation or sanction since 2017 again has had its disciplinary stint extended - now through the end of 2022 - after campus investigators this month determined it hazed new members and violated alcohol rules and pandemic protocols.
Pi Kappa Alpha - known as PIKE - is one of the campus' largest fraternities, reporting 92 total members with nearly 20 of them new. This semester, it committed a range of offenses involving having social events with alcohol and without COVID-19 precautions; new member 'act of servitude”; and lack of supervision, according to the UI findings.
'Our investigation led to the conclusion that alcohol consumption by underage members is perceived to be an expectation of the experience in the chapter,” according to a March 8 memo the UI Office of Student Accountability sent Pi Kappa Alpha.
Given that the fraternity, 1032 N. Dubuque St., already was on probation for holding social events with alcohol and without COVID-19 precautions in the fall, this investigation focused on spring semester accusations of misconduct, including three social events at the house the week of Jan. 24-30.
Investigators - who conducted 25 hours of interviews with most new members and 10 chapter officers - determined that beer and hard liquor were provided to underage members at unauthorized social events.
New members had to help cover the costs with required payments to a 'social fund” kept in a chapter officer's personal Venmo account.
UI investigators also determined that new members participated in 'acts of servitude,” like cleaning the chapter house and member apartments; shoveling snow; and driving intoxicated members.
The new members seemingly willingly did the chores, believing they were required to become a full members.
But investigators said the acts posed the risk of injury and mental or physical discomfort, and also hindered student engagement.
Some of the violations exemplify how systemic they are to the fraternity's climate.
Take, for instance, a chapter requirement that new members spend five hours in the gym and 10 hours studying every week. 'These activities, on the surface, may not appear to create a serious risk to student safety or well-being,” according to a UI summary. 'However, physical workouts do create a risk of injury and physical discomfort, especially without the chapter knowing of existing medical conditions of new members.”
Hazing, as the university defines it, encompasses concerning activities that happen 'with or without consent.”
'A reasonable person in the new member's position would see these acts of servitude as a requirement to gain access to the organization,” according to the UI findings, 'especially since these expectations were not required of those who already gained association with the organization.”
Taking a broader view of Pi Kappa Alpha, UI investigators painted a portrait of dysfunction. For starters, the chapter doesn't have a live-in adviser, as required.
'In fact, (members) noted they have not met the person, who, in name only, is the live-in adviser/house director,” according to the UI report. 'The absence of a house director is quite likely related to the violations under investigation. For if they had a functioning house director, many of these issues could have been avoided.”
On top of the fraternity's COVID-19 violations last fall - placing it on disciplinary probation, meaning it's not in good standing and could face more severe sanctions - UI investigators this term identified offenses of its 'clear and consistent expectations.”
'None of the testimony provided by officers or new members indicates chapter leaders implemented COVID-19 safety protocols,” according to the UI report. 'In fact, one officer indicated the men would not wear masks if/when they gathered together.”
Tipping off investigators to the spring semester violations was an anonymous email Jan. 30 reporting Pi Kappa Alpha 'has been holding many social events with other sororities” involving alcohol. The tipster, who officials never identified or managed to connect with by phone, said the fraternity provided a keg and Jello-O shots for at least two socials.
'They had people packed inside the house,” according to the report.
The anonymous tipster said new members were made to do embarrassing and risky stunts, like 'locking pledges into small and hot spaces, fighting each other, and many others.”
Though the summary didn't catalog the other allegations, a survey investigators gave new members asked, among other things, if any had attended a roast at which others were humiliated; been required to wear clothes not suitable to the season; been yelled or screamed at; blindfolded; or had an electronic device taken.
Al 19 respondents answered 'no” to those questions in what UI officials characterized as a seemingly coordinated and suspicious response.
'The survey completed by new members yielded curious data,” according to the report. 'The very similar phrasing and word choices in the responses to questions about alcohol/parties as well as the question about a myriad activities that could be considered hazing was notable and concerning.”
Given the new violations, the fraternity's disciplinary probation was extended through Dec. 16, 2022, and its social probation was extended through Dec. 17, 2021.
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