The University of Central Florida has placed a sorority on interim suspension following allegations of hazing and alcohol misconduct.
The UCF chapter of Pi Beta Phi — a national sorority which aims to “promote friendship” and “develop women of intellect and integrity,” according to its website — was notified of the interim suspension in a November 21 letter from the university.
The university learned of the allegations in a report submitted to the Office of Student Conduct, which cited an incident on November 15 at the sorority house involving hazing, alcohol and drugs.
The subsequent letter sent to Pi Beta Phi outlines the following charges:
- Alcohol-related misconduct: defined by the school as providing alcohol to “any person in a state of noticeable intoxication”
- Hazing: defined as any activity that causes “mental or physical stress” or could negatively impact the “mental or physical health or dignity” of the person.
A hearing is scheduled for December 5. The sorority will be on interim suspension while the university investigates the allegations.
The national Pi Beta Phi organization has placed the chapter on an “investigatory status,” according to a statement from the organization that also condemned hazing, alcohol abuse and the use of illegal substances.
“At this time, we do not believe the full chapter was involved in wrong doing; however we are looking closely at the actions of individual members to ensure any misconduct is addressed,” the statement said.
‘They’ve been doing this for years,’ one person alleges
A post about UCF’s chapter of Pi Beta Phi on Greekrank.com, a website that collects information on university fraternities and sororities through posts from users, was made on November 15, the same day the incident report was filed to the Office of Student Conduct.
The post outlines some of the hazing the user’s friend went through by the sorority, which calls itself the “Mafia,” according to the post. The writer notes that her friend, previously not a big drinker, was forced to drink excessively and was pressured to do drugs such as cocaine.
“She had to swear not to reveal these ‘rituals.’ She said they’ve been doing this for years, apparently,” according to the post. “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.”
The post has since been removed from the website.
Despite policies, hazing continues in universities
Greek life organizations — which include sororities and fraternities — are meant to be campus organizations focused on building friendships and future connections, with many members participating in volunteer work.
Yet, despite the ubiquity of anti-hazing policies, the practice continues to be an issue within Greek organizations. A 2008 study from the University of Maine found that 73% of students in fraternities and sororities experienced what they called some form of hazing at least once.
The results of hazing can be fatal. In 2017, a student at Penn State died after consuming 18 drinks in 82 minutes and sustaining a traumatic brain injury during hazing rituals. In April, an 18-year-old freshman at the University at Buffalo died following a suspected hazing incident.
CNN’s Dakin Andone contributed to this report.