A temporary suspension of USF’s chapter of the Phi Kappa Alpha (PKA) fraternity could be lifted Friday afternoon, pending the outcome of a university investigation.
When administrators were notified that members of the fraternity had allegedly abused another member off campus, they immediately launched an investigation of the claims, led by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and the USF Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
As per university policy, the fraternity was temporarily suspended for the duration of the investigation.
“When USF suspends somebody from Greek life, they have to cease and desist any type of operations going on on campus,” said PKA’s chapter adviser Donald Post. “Friday afternoon the investigation should be definitely complete from USF’s standpoint.”
Assistant Vice President and Dean for Students Kevin Banks said these investigations usually last from three to five days, yet there are no time constraints. The duration depends on the information administrators discover, he said.
If a verdict is reached Friday, the investigation would have lasted 11 days.
“There’s not much we can say until the investigation is over,” Banks said. “But we will be looking into whether or not the act was a form of hazing … We hold student organizations accountable through our organizational code of conduct and individuals are held accountable by the student code of conduct. Once we review the matter we will decide if it’s going to be organizational and individual.”
Even though the alleged victim was not being initiated into the fraternity and was already a member, university spokesman Michael Hoad said hazing charges could still apply.
“Hazing apparently can be defined as conduct that includes initiation, but could include behavior outside of initiation,” Hoad said. “This incident is clearly not an initiation, but we’ll have to wait and see what the results of the review are.”
According to Florida Senate Bill 51, all universities in the State of Florida University System must write and adopt anti-hazing policies. USF’s hazing policy states that “any action or situation that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student,” is considered hazing, regardless of whether or not it happened on campus.
Hoad said most investigations of this nature are largely based on police reports, however University Police (UP) spokesman Lt. Chris Daniels said no reports for the incident exist.
“The victim requested that police do not investigate,” he said. “UP is not launching its own investigation into the incident.”
According to USF’s Student Code of Conduct, “The USF system may pursue disciplinary action even if criminal justice authorities choose not to prosecute, and it may also act independently of the criminal justice process.”
Hoad said any disciplinary action would be at the discretion of university administrators.
For now, the members of PKA will just have to await their decision.