On Friday, the national office of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity announced the closure of its UT chapter, which will not be allowed to recolonize until August 2017.
Investigations into hazing allegations at Pi Kappa Phi are continuing, and members could face criminal charges, according to a UT release.
According to a letter signed by Dudley F. Woody, national president of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, the UT chapter violated the risk management policies and standard of conduct laid out by the fraternity's national headquarters.
The national release noted violations by UT's chapter included collective involvement in hazing and the use, sale and/or possession of alcohol and drugs.
Allegations of hazing last spring propelled the fraternity toward disciplinary probation starting this fall. This placed the fraternity on notice but allowed it to function as normal.
Incidents of hazing continued this semester and led to the closure of the chapter.
The UT Police Department received a report on Nov. 22 from a parent claiming his son and other new members pledging for Pi Kappa Phi were being physically and verbally attacked during fraternity activities. The parent provided evidence of this misconduct in the form of a photo showing a new member bleeding after a fraternity event.
"In this situation, it seemed like the entire chapter was involved with hazing, and it was rampant throughout the entire pledging process," said James Jackson, associate director of Student Judicial Affairs. "This wasn't one isolated incident."
Several incidents involving drugs and alcohol at Pi Kappa Phi this semester also contributed to the closure of the chapter, including the Nov. 2 arrest of two fraternity members for underage drinking, indecent exposure and public intoxication.
Now, members will not be allowed to live in the fraternity house and must find alternate housing for next semester, according to Lindi Smedberg, director of Sorority and Fraternity Life.
"There are 21 men who are living in the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house right now," Smedberg said. "With it being so close to final exams, our office and Pi Kappa Phi Headquarters thought it would be best to allow them to remain in the house so they can focus on their studies."
Based on the student handbook, Hilltopics, UT defines hazing as "any intentional or reckless act which is directed against any other student that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of that student, or which induces or coerces a student to endanger his or her mental or physical health or safety, and includes treatment of a violent, abusive, shameful, insulting or humiliating nature."
In total, four reports of hazing this semester have implicated Pi Kappa Phi, Alpha Tau Omega, Lambda Chi Alpha and Sigma Chi.
These reports describe forcing pledges to clean the fraternity house wearing costumes, isolating a new member and kicking, punching and verbally berating pledges. At Lambda Chi, one pledge sustained injury to the head during an exercise conducted by other fraternity members.
"Fraternities are about fostering brotherhood," Jackson said. "New members shouldn't be subjected to mental distress. At some point, we have to step in to make sure students are safe."
As a result of the Greek Life Task Force put together last year, house directors were assigned to Phi Sigma Kappa and Sigma Phi Epsilon. Off-duty police officers were contracted to patrol on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at Fraternity Row.
Smedberg said she remains hopeful the strong tradition of UT fraternities will not suffer as a result of incidents this semester.
"I view fraternities and sororities as a home away from home, a close community of students who believe in the same things and want to share experiences together," Smedberg said.
"Fraternity can mean so much, and I don't think we've forgotten that."
Daily Beacon Editor-in-Chief R.J. Vogt was a brother of the Alpha Sigma chapter of Pi Kappa Phi. He did not contribute to or edit this story.