Hazing, alcohol violations lead SC university to ban fraternity for at least 4 years

Furman University suspended the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity for no less than 4 years.
Furman University suspended the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity for no less than 4 years.

A South Carolina university has suspended a fraternity for at least four years, “as a result of repeated and significant conduct violations,” according to a statement from the school which was shared on Facebook.

The Tau Kappa Epsilon, or TKE, chapter at Furman University has been banned because of incidents involving hazing and providing alcohol to minors, in addition to “risk management violations,” the Greenville school said in a statement shared by WYFF.

Furman said frat members, and others associated with the TKE chapter, “must cease all fraternity organizational activities,” WHNS reported.

“Additionally, the Tau Kappa Epsilon chapter house has been closed and individuals living there will return to campus housing this week,” the university said in the statement posted on Facebook.

VIDEO: Students and former students from NC State and Shaw University share their perspectives on the different types of fraternities and discuss ways the presumed culture of fraternities could change.

All social activity at the TKE house was suspended in September 2018, according to a conduct report shared on Furman’s website.

While there were reports of serving alcohol, including to minors, at “a dry house party,” the frat was suspended because it was being investigated for allegedly tampering with the drinks of four women who attended the event, per the conduct report.

Although the four women were hospitalized after the house party, the investigation by the Greenville County Sherriff’s Office and Furman Police “found no evidence that members of Tau Kappa Epsilon tampered with any drinks,” the university stated.

While the frat was suspended, it was cited for another violation. The conduct report shows TKE hosted a party in an apartment where “underage potential new members were provided alcohol,” and one student was hospitalized because of “alcohol consumption at the event.”

In the fall of 2018, a Furman student came forward with allegations of hazing that occurred the previous spring, according to the conduct report.

The conduct report stated that an investigation determined there were “instances of personal servitude (cleaning rooms, doing laundry, etc.), physical hazing (requiring push-ups, planks, etc. if students got fraternity trivia questions wrong, as well as being required to sit in a steaming bathroom and being required to stand outside in the cold without coats and sweatshirts), and alcohol consumption (new members given champagne to drink on ‘Bid Night’).”

“While the university appreciates the bonds that organizational membership forms, any activities that put the health and safety of students at risk will not be tolerated,” Furman said in the statement shared by WYFF.

The State contacted the fraternity, but the president of Furman’s TKE chapter said he had no comment.

While the frat has been suspended, the university has not released any information about individual punishment for members.

The university said “these men are still part of our community and should be treated as such,” in its statement on Facebook.

There are currently 27 TKE members at Furman, according to the fraternity’s website.

Gary and Cindy Hipps, the parents of Tucker Hipps, who died in a fall from a bridge while pledging a fraternity at Clemson University, are fighting to prevent similar deaths.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.