Fraternity suspended over hazing claims

Allegations prompt University of Arkansas investigation into Pi Kappa Alpha

A fraternity at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville has been suspended pending an investigation into allegations of hazing.

"The university is aware of this report, and the [university] chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, and its activities, have been suspended by the national organization and the [university] pending an investigation," said John Thomas, director of media relations at the university. "All reports of alleged student conduct violations are taken seriously and are addressed consistent with requirements of the law and university policy."

This is the first time a Greek organization on campus has been suspended since 2019.

The UA Pi Kappa Alpha chapter has 308 members, according to the university's Office of Greek Life. Pi Kappa Alpha did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Any requirement imposed upon prospective, new or current members, and which is not related to the organization's purpose, is prohibited and will become the subject of a university investigation once the practice is brought to the attention of the Office of Greek Life, according to the university's Division of Student Affairs. This policy applies to all university students, student organizations and clubs.

Requiring the carrying of items such as statues, rocks, paddles, etc., forcing or coercing someone to eat or drink against their will and paddling or striking in any manner are some examples of hazing, according to the Division of Student Affairs.

Hazing includes, but is not limited to, any act imposed on current or potential members of a group or organization that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a person, that defaces or destroys public or private property, that is likely to result in humiliation or ridicule or that is likely to result in interference with academic efforts regardless of the consent of the participants, or any actions or activities prohibited by the State of Arkansas, according to the Arkansas Hazing Law. Hazing is considered a Class B misdemeanor.

The university's ability to investigate reported incidents and enforce policies depends on the accuracy and specificity of information provided, according to the Division of Student Affairs. Concerned individuals are encouraged to provide as much detail "as possible so that appropriate action may be taken."

Roughly 30% of the university's undergraduates belong to the 34 fraternities and sororities on campus, according to the Division of Student Affairs.

Earlier this fall, many fraternity and sorority members participated in hazing prevention week, including hanging anti-hazing signs from fraternity and sorority houses.

In 2021, a chapter of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity agreed to accept sanctions because of hazing activities. None of the sanctions were related to alcohol and no students were hurt, but penalties accepted by the fraternity included the cancellation and non-approval of social functions through the fall 2021 semester, as well as a year of conduct probation.