Jan. 16, 2013
Review boards take action on four Greek chapters
The Office of Fraternities, Sororities and Independent Living has announced action taken in response to incidents during the fall 2012 semester at four Greek chapters at Cornell. Decisions affecting three of the chapters were the result of Fraternity/Sorority Review Board hearings held the week of Jan. 7; a fourth was placed on social probation by the student-led Greek Judicial Board in December.
Recognition of Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity was withdrawn Jan. 9 for a period of at least four years for an Oct. 12 incident involving hazing and alcohol that led to the hospitalization of two students who were in the process of joining the fraternity.
Cornell also withdrew recognition of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity for a period of no less than one year effective Jan. 14, based on a Dec. 2 incident involving underage and excessive drinking, after which one student was hospitalized; and a history of similar infractions over the past two years.
The Pi Kappa Phi fraternity chapter was placed on provisional recognition – a probationary status – for a period of no less than four years, also effective Jan. 14, as a result of three specific incidents over a 12-month period, most recently involving underage and excessive drinking on Nov. 4, also leading to the hospitalization of a student.
Chapters have the right to appeal the decisions within 48 hours. With the changes in recognition, Tau Epsilon Phi and Phi Sigma Kappa will be prohibited from participating in new member recruitment activities, which begin this week, while Pi Kappa Phi can still participate. Cornell’s recognition policy states chapters may not recruit new members without university recognition.
“The decision to withdraw Tau Epsilon Phi’s recognition was made based on the fact that hazing occurred, and we do not tolerate hazing on our campus,” said Dean of Students Kent Hubbell.
Hubbell noted that Tau Epsilon Phi members followed the Good Samaritan protocol by calling 911 for medical assistance. “On one hand, the students made one very smart decision that night when they called for help,” he said. “On the other hand, the activities surrounding the incident were serious enough to warrant significant consequences. These students’ lives were in jeopardy.”
“The details of this case are extraordinary, but the result – loss of recognition – was applied because of the physically and mentally dangerous hazing activities the men were placed in,” said Travis Apgar, the Robert G. Engel Associate Dean of Students. “I’m very disappointed that this chapter chose this path, but I hope this action makes it clear to all that organizations engaging in these activities are not welcome on our campus.”
Pi Kappa Phi and Tau Epsilon Phi had been on interim suspension since Nov. 8. Phi Sigma Kappa was placed on interim suspension Dec. 4.
A fourth chapter, Acacia, also had been placed on interim suspension Nov. 8. On Dec. 7, the Greek Judicial Board found Acacia responsible for an incident occurring Nov. 2 and placed the chapter on social probation for the spring 2013 semester. While the chapter is eligible to participate in Rush Week, Acacia is prohibited from holding any events other than formal meetings for potential new members during the week of recruitment.
The Fraternity/Sorority Review Board reviews and recommends university recognition status for Greek chapters at Cornell. The Greek Judicial Board is the governing board of peers that makes judicial decisions related to fraternities and sororities.