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KU expels Pi Kappa Phi fraternity chapter over hazing, drug use

Pi Kappa Phi.jpeg
Posted at 10:18 PM, Nov 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 10:58:59-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Pi Kappa Phi fraternity is finished at the University of Kansas for at least five years.

Repeated violations of the university's ban on hazing and "an open culture of illegal drug use" led KU Vice Provost for Student Affairs Tammara Durham to inform the fraternity in a letter Nov. 4 that Pi Kappa Phi's Theta Epsilon chapter has been terminated as a registered organization effective Nov. 25, when the fall semester ends.

Her decision was based on the sanctions recommended by hearing panel that considered evidence, much of which was posted in GroupMe messages.

Durham said in her letter to the fraternity that breaking the cycle of hazing requires a total reset.

"Closing the Theta Epsilon Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi will provide an opportunity for the organization to re-establish itself after current members who led and engaged in a culture of hazing have left the university," she wrote.

Durham noted the efforts of some fraternity leaders to try to change the culture, but indicated they didn't go far enough. Only one chapter member was thrown out for bad behavior.

"The preponderance of the evidences indicates members engaged in hazing activities and harm to persons on behalf of Pi Kappa Phi’s Theta Epsilon chapter," Durham wrote. "Members violated the trust of KU students and the University. In doing so, members violated their responsibility as a KU student organization."

Durham said the hearing panel was not asked to review violations other than hazing, but it was apparent from some group drug use was rampant among some members of the chapter, including, "in one case, coercion for a pledge to use illegal drugs."

The hazing made it difficult for pledges to study and be a part of campus life, according to Durham's letter.

As a result of the decision, Pi Kappa Phi's local chapter won't be recognized by the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life and will receive no organizational services of privileges during this period.

The fraternity chapter can appeal within 30 days.

The earliest the Theta Epsilon chapter can be reinstated, pending a return agreement, would be the spring semester in 2026.

Any return agreement would require all current chapter members to have graduated or left KU, notification at least two semesters in advance of the intent to return, following the Interfraternity Council's Expansion Procedures and a mandatory two-year anti-hazing prevention program upon reopening.