Kennesaw State cracks down on fraternity

5:58 p.m Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 Education
Curtis Compton/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Students make their way across campus at the commons area of Kennesaw State University on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, in Kennesaw. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Kennesaw State University has issued a cease and desist order against a fraternity for violating its student code of conduct, the second time it’s done so against a fraternity this semester, officials said Tuesday.

The Pi Kappa Phi fraternity broke unspecified code violations at its frat house on KSU’s Marietta campus on or about Oct. 25, university spokeswoman Tammy DeMel said. The cease and desist order was filed the following day, she said.

KSU issued a cease and desist order earlier against the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity for student code violations, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News reported last month.

The two orders come amid increased national scrutiny of fraternities and sororities. Florida State University announced Monday it’s suspending Greek life on its campus after a 20-year-old male pledge died after attending a Pi Kappa Phi party, officials there said.

Louisiana State University created a task force to review policies governing Greek life after a Roswell teenager died with an alcohol level of .495 percent — more than six times the legal limit for drivers — in September from a suspected hazing incident. Eight current and two former LSU students have been charged with hazing in Max Gruver’s death.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Maxwell Gruver of Roswell, an 18-year-old LSU freshman, was pronounced dead Sept. 14, 2017, at a Baton Rouge, La., hospital in what university officials described as a “potential hazing incident” involving Phi Delta Theta fraternity. (credit: Facebook)

Former DeKalb County District Attorney J. Tom Morgan believes the deaths may result in more campuses suspending or prohibiting Greek life. Morgan speaks to about 15 to 20 student and Greek organizations a year about alcohol consumption and other campus issues. He said underage students now have greater access to more potent alcohol, which has caused some of the campus tragedies, and many Greek organization leaders are unaware of the potential civil and criminal penalties.

Morgan said some colleges and universities have rules prohibiting students from pledging as soon as they arrive on campus. Davidson College outside Charlotte makes students wait at least one semester before pledging. Morgan believes more campuses should consider such options.

“Let them have a year of maturity before allowing them in a pledge class,” Morgan said.

In August, Georgia Tech suspended the Beta Iota chapter of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity for at least three academic semesters. Documents previously received by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution through an open-records request found a handful of instances of students passed out from apparent excessive drinking after parties at the frat house and campus police responding in March to a report of a threat of physical harm by one frat member to another.

Pi Kappa Phi officials said they were preparing a comment in response to KSU’s action Tuesday but did not do so before deadline.

KSU vice president for student affairs K.C. White said, “Any behavior which threatens the safety of the members of our campus community is of great concern and we will hold individuals and organizations accountable.”

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