Chi Phi on Social Probation; UNC Still Investigating

Carolina’s Chi Phi fraternity is prohibited from social functions for one year and must hire a resident adviser, punishments imposed by its national office following an investigation into alleged alcohol and hazing incidents last fall.

“After a thorough investigation and review of the facts, the Chi Phi Grand Council has agreed to a course of corrective action that will ensure the Alpha-Alpha Chapter at UNC-Chapel Hill is in compliance with national standards and values,” Michael Azarian, the national office’s executive director, said in a statement.

The campus chapter was suspended from all activities in November as the national office’s investigation got underway. The new sanctions, which include one year of what is known as social probation, effectively extend that suspension through spring 2015.

In the meantime, the University is conducting its own investigation of Chi Phi, as it does routinely in the event of an outside probe.

“We have been clear in articulating a position of zero tolerance for any actions taken by groups or individuals that put the health, safety and well-being of students at risk,” said Winston Crisp ’92 (JD), vice chancellor for student affairs, in a University statement. “We will continue to evaluate the conduct of chapter members and the chapter’s adherence to University policies.”

Chi Phi could face additional penalties as a result of the University’s investigation, which will include involvement from the Interfraternity Council’s Greek Judicial Board, said board chair Fields Pierce. Sanctions could include “a wide range of things,” including a restructuring of the chapter’s pledge process, “to curb any behavioral issues that we see as fixable,” he said.

Neither the University nor the national office have detailed what is alleged to have occurred at Chi Phi last fall. In its statement, the University said only that the national office sanctioned the chapter for “personal safety violations.”

Chi Phi has been under scrutiny of its activities since one of its members, David Shannon, fell 40 feet to his death from equipment at a concrete plant in Carrboro in October 2012. An autopsy showed Shannon was significantly impaired by alcohol at the time.

Carrboro police later seemed to rule out hazing as a contributing factor in Shannon’s death, and the fraternity’s national office has said its investigation into the campus chapter was not connected to that episode.

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