Clemson University has disciplined fraternities and sororities on campus 34 times between 2010 and the start of this fall semester, citing violations that range from hazing to underage drinking, according to data released by the university Thursday, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by The Greenville News.
Since 2010, Greek organizations on Clemson’s campus have been investigated in 31 separate incidents, most of which included multiple charges, the university said. The university found 34 violations of fraternity and sorority codes of conduct, dismissed charges in four incidents and found no violation in 21 others, the university said.
Clemson put a number of fraternities and sororities on probation, including five that are currently under disciplinary probation, the university said.
Charges are pending against two unnamed fraternities in separate incidents involving alcohol, hazing and harm to a person this semester, according to information released by the university in response to Freedom of Information Act requests by The News and other media outlets.
Two other fraternities remain under investigation in connection with other hazing reports this semester, the university said.
The News requested information on Clemson’s Greek organizations following Clemson student Tucker Hipps’ death in September after fraternity brothers told investigators he fell behind during an early morning fraternity group run. Hipps was a pledge with Sigma Phi Epsilon.
An autopsy showed Hipps, 19, died of a head injury consistent with falling from a bridge. His body was found in four-to-five feet of water in Lake Hartwell near two parallel State 93 bridges that cross the Seneca River near the YMCA beach, said Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis.
Hipps’ injuries were consistent with falling 20 to 23 feet from one of the bridges and striking his head on rip rap rocks in the shallow water near the shore, Addis said.
The national office of Sigma Phi Epsilon, in a statement the week of Hipps death, said those runs “may be in violation of Sigma Phi Epsilon’s own policies and procedures.”
Sigma Phi Epsilon suspended the Clemson chapter’s activities until the national office and the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office complete their investigations, Rob Jepson, spokesman for the national chapter wrote in an emailed statement to The Greenville News Thursday.
The State Law Enforcement Division has also joined the investigation.
“The fraternity is appreciative of the state’s continued support of the investigation and hopes that a thorough investigation will provide answers to the friends and family members who remain in mourning,” Jepson said.
He said information obtained from Clemson students continues to support the national office’s initial findings that no evidence of hazing contributed to Hipps’ death.
Sigma Phi Epsilon hadn’t been found with any conduct violations since 2010, according to the university report released Thursday.
Clemson didn’t release the names of fraternities who weren’t found with violations or fraternities that are under investigation currently.
After 15 reported serious incidents in the first month of the school year, including hazing, sexual misconduct and underage drinking, Clemson suspended all Greek activities Sept. 24. It removed the suspension Oct. 10, though incidents are still under investigation.
Five fraternities have been investigated this year for eight separate incidents, the university said.
In addition, Clemson received reports of seven incidents involving individual students that had some connection to fraternities but didn’t involve conduct authorized by fraternities, said Cathy Sams, Clemson spokeswoman.
Clemson is still investigating two fraternities after reports of hazing. It has dismissed hazing charges against one other fraternity.
The university also is investigating three separate incidents against one unnamed fraternity, including underage drinking at a frat event, alcohol found in an unauthorized location used by the frat and reports of taking pledges off campus where they were required to drink alcohol.
Charges are pending against that fraternity, the university said.
In another case, charges are pending against a fraternity after two separate incidents. In one, members were required to remain in a dark location until they could recite certain information as well as other mandatory activities. In a second incident, members were involved in public disorderly conduct, the university said.
Staff Writer David Dykes contributed to this report.