On Sept. 22, 2014, Clemson University student Tucker Hipps died under mysterious circumstances while on an early morning run with fraternity brothers.
A memorial now stands on the U.S. 93 bridge over Lake Hartwell. It was under that bridge that Hipps’ body was found that afternoon. Wrongful death lawsuits filed by Hipps’ parents against the university, three fraternity members, and the national and local branches of the Sigma Phi Epsilon are still pending in court. Law enforcement has reported no breakthroughs in the investigation. Hipps’ mother, Cindy Hipps, is now an anti-hazing advocate.
“We will never move on, and certainly not without answers,” said Cindy Hipps, of Piedmont. “We will always fight for the other 19-year-olds out there who have no idea what they may be faced with one day.”
Earlier this year, Gov. Nikki Haley signed the Tucker Hipps Transparency Act, which requires the state’s public universities to track and report fraternity and sorority misdeeds every semester.
Hipps said she didn’t know much about hazing until after her son’s death.
“I guess that’s the reason we are so vocal about this,” she said. “I wish I would have had more information.”
She said the best way to reduce hazing is to report it, even if parents or neighbors haven’t been able to effect change in the past.
“I have had many parents ask me what they should do,” Hipps said. “They are hesitant because they don’t want their child to get mad at them or don’t want their child to suffer more consequences if it is known they reported it.”