UCF sus­pends soror­ity after com­plaint

Orlando Sentinel - - LOCAL & STATE - By An­nie Martin

UCF has suspended soror­ity Pi Beta Phi after re­ceiv­ing an anony­mous com­plaint of haz­ing, in­clud­ing mem­bers forc­ing oth­ers to use drugs and drink al­co­hol un­til they blacked out.

An anony­mous per­son alerted the Univer­sity of Cen­tral Florida on Nov. 16 about a post on the web­site greekrank.com that de­scribed a friend’s ex­pe­ri­ence in Pi Beta Phi. UCF sent the soror­ity a let­ter Nov. 21 de­mand­ing it cease all ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing busi­ness meet­ings, fundrais­ers, so­cials, mix­ers, in­tra­mu­ral com­pe­ti­tions and re­cruit­ment events while the univer­sity in­ves­ti­gates the al­le­ga­tions. A hear­ing is sched­uled for Dec. 5.

The ac­cu­sa­tions are “of ut­most con­cern” to Pi Beta Phi, se­nior di­rec­tor of strate­gic ini­tia­tives Shawn Ea­gle­burger wrote in an email to the Or­lando Sen­tinel.

Pi Beta Phi, which iden­ti­fies it­self as a fra­ter­nity for women, “takes se­ri­ously any al­le­ga­tion of haz­ing or mem­ber con­duct which does not align with the core val­ues of the or­ga­ni­za­tion,” he wrote.

Upon learn­ing of the ac­cu­sa­tions, the or­ga­ni­za­tion placed the chap­ter on an “in­ves­ti­ga­tory” sta­tus and started work­ing with the univer­sity.

“At this time, we do not be­lieve the full chap­ter was in­volved in wrong­do­ing; how­ever we are look­ing closely at the ac­tions of in­di­vid­ual mem­bers to en­sure any mis­con­duct is ad­dressed,” Ea­gle­burger wrote. “There is no place in Pi Beta Phi for haz­ing, the abuse of al­co­hol or use of il­le­gal sub­stances as re­flected in the fra­ter­nity’s ed­u­ca­tional re­sources and poli­cies.”

Pi Beta Phi was suspended the same day as UCF’s chap­ter of fra­ter­nity

Sigma Kappa, which also was ac­cused of haz­ing. A mem­ber com­plained to the univer­sity of es­tab­lished mem­bers forc­ing pledges to smoke mar­i­juana, drink al­co­hol, act as des­ig­nated driv­ers and stand in pitch­black hall­ways while oth­ers screamed at them.

The al­le­ga­tions against the soror­ity were de­tailed in a post with the head­line “Best friend hazed in pi phi,” by some­one with the user­name “Help” iden­ti­fied only as not be­ing part of Greek life.

The per­son who wrote the post de­scribed their friend’s secret “ini­ti­a­tion” into a group within Pi Beta Phi known as the “mafia.” The friend was forced to “take shots and chug and get blacked out,” ac­cord­ing to the post.

“I’ve had to take care of her a few times be­cause she was in­co­her­ent and throw­ing up for hours,” the post said. “She was never a big drinker be­fore this.”

The friend, who had to prom­ise not to re­veal the “rit­u­als” to oth­ers, was also pres­sured to take the recre­ational drug Molly, the post said.

“She wants to drop and re­port them but is too scared be­cause they said if any­one snitches they’ll know who it was and they’ll find a way out of trou­ble be­cause they’ve ‘got­ten out of any in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­fore’ and will deny ev­ery­thing. So she feels stuck,” the post said, adding “Y’all need to get this un­der con­trol.”

RI­CARDO RAMIREZ BUXEDA/OR­LANDO SEN­TINEL

Pi Beta Phi has been suspended after UCF re­ceived al­le­ga­tions that new mem­bers were forced to drink and do drugs. The sus­pen­sion hap­pened within days of UCF or­der­ing a fra­ter­nity to halt ac­tiv­i­ties over sim­i­lar ac­cu­sa­tions.

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