Carolina’s Chi Phi fraternity is in trouble with its national office for alleged alcohol and hazing violations, and the office has suspended it from all chapter activities, including meetings and social events.
A second fraternity, Pi Lambda Phi, also is under investigation; five of its members were arrested earlier in the semester for stealing paper products and damaging paper dispensers in restrooms in the Student Union and Granville Towers. The campus police report said the incidents were “in connection with pledging activities.”
The University has started its own investigation of the Chi Phi allegations, as it does routinely in the event of an outside probe. Dean of Students Jonathan Sauls ’94 (AB, ’97 JD) said he could not comment on which UNC agency was investigating.
“We always investigate anything that’s brought to our attention,” Sauls said. “Certainly student affairs is going to take a lead, and the IFC [Interfraternity Council] board, but we’re still in some of those initial stages.”
He said he expects the investigation will move as quickly as possible, since Chi Phi is under the no-activities order. The national fraternity’s website says its probe is “in conjunction” with UNC.
“The University has zero tolerance for actions by individuals or groups that threaten the health, safety and well-being of our students,” said Winston Crisp ’92 (JD), vice chancellor for student affairs, in a University statement. “We support the national fraternity’s decision and will cooperate fully as their judicial process moves forward.”
Chi Phi was the fraternity of David Shannon, a freshman from Charlotte who in October 2012 fell 40 feet from equipment at a concrete plant in Carrboro. An autopsy showed Shannon was significantly impaired by alcohol, with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.22, when he fell. Shannon received fatal trauma to his head, neck and torso.
Carrboro police have been investigating the incident and have looked into the possibility that hazing was involved. In September, Chi Phi President Ross Masters told The Daily Tar Heel that Shannon was not being hazed on the night he fell. “Masters said the fraternity does not haze its pledges,” the paper reported.
Chi Phi is listed in a spring 2013 academic report as having 62 members who together posted a 3.15 GPA that semester — that falls in the middle of a list of fraternities and sororities at UNC.
In the case of Pi Lambda Phi, the University would not say why it was investigating. A University spokesperson said that the IFC’s Greek Judicial Board was investigating and that the Fraternities and Sororities Standards Review Board, chaired by Sauls, could get involved.
But five students were arrested in October in connection with $3,162 in damages and $814 worth of stolen paper products on Sept. 27 at the Student Union and at Granville, according to Randy Young, spokesman for the UNC Department of Public Safety. Arrested on Oct. 18 and Oct. 21 were Alexander Mitchell, 21; Taran Casper, 18; Matthew Newman, 18; Renwick Atkins, 18; and David DeGenova, 18. The five were charged with misdemeanor counts of larceny and vandalism and are scheduled to appear in Orange County District Court early next year.
Young said the arrests were connected to pledging activities at the fraternity.
Referring to the fraternity, one of the students told The Daily Tar Heel that “they led us to believe that this was necessary for us to be initiated in the fraternity. I personally see it as a hazing issue.”
Hazing falls outside the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Safety, Young said. Hazing can be investigated and adjudicated by the Greek judicial structure and by the Office of Student Affairs.
Forty-five Pi Lambda Phi brothers posted a 3.16 GPA last spring, one spot above Chi Phi in the ranking. The Daily Tar Heel reported that Pi Lambda Phi was found guilty in November 2012 of four alcohol policy violations and received a two-week social probation.