CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Three fraternities at Coastal Carolina University have been suspended following an investigation into complaints of hazing, University officials confirmed Thursday.
CCU's Director of News and Public Affairs, Martha Hunn, confirmed that the activities of the Kappa Sigma, Tau Kappa Epsilon, and Pi Kappa Phi fraternities have been suspended due to reports of "questionable new member education activities."
According to Dr. Debbie Conner, the Vice President for Student Affairs with CCU, all chapter activities of the Kappa Sigma, Tau Kappa Epsilon, and Pi Kappa Phi fraternities have been suspended. In addition, all new member and social activities have been suspended for the remaining chapters of the Interfraternity Council: Phi Gamma Delta and Sigma Phi Epsilon.
"In order to continue investigating, it is important to stop activities with these organizations," Hunn stated. "CCU is working in cooperation with the national organizations of these fraternities to complete the investigations."
The national website for the Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity published a memo to members on Wednesday that reads, in part: "As you have probably heard, a very small number of our 268 groups in the U.S. and Canada are being investigated for alleged conduct misaligned with TKE's values.
"Among these allegations are underage drinking and the use of illegal substances. Other allegations involve satire beyond all bounds of decency. Most damning are accusations of sexual assault. I want to make it crystal clear on behalf of the leadership of Tau Kappa Epsilon, that illegal behaviors will not be tolerated. In each of the instances, groups have been suspended pending ongoing investigations. Members found guilty have been removed from the Fraternity. We will continue to show the Greek World, colleges, universities, and the general public that we take every allegation seriously and we will take immediate and appropriate action."
The Vice President for Student Affairs does not believe there are any sexual assault allegations against the local chapter of TKE. Her office is aggressively looking into hazing allegations.
TKE issued a statement Thursday evening which reads:
"The international organization of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) has temporarily suspended the operations of the Coastal Carolina chapter pending the results of our own and the university's investigations. TKE is cooperating with Coastal Carolina officials.
Just yesterday, TKE's new CEO announced mandatory online, interactive training for all TKE student members which covers hazing, sexual assaults, substance abuse, codes of conduct and other issues. The organization has emphasized that such behavior goes against our values and will not be tolerated."
Part of those values include helping the community and giving back.
"When you hear reports of questionable new member practices in fraternities and sororities, it can overshadow the good things they provide," shared Dr. Conner.
While resources are in place to provide organizations to students, they are also in place to monitor appropriate behavior.
"If there has been an allegation, and if we find there is any risk to student safety or anything inappropriate, we will not hesitate to shut them down," said Dr. Conner.
This semester, Dr. Conner launched a new program which allows students to anonymously report any hazing they see or experience.
Last year, two organizations were suspended after an investigation. Dr. Conner and her staff will take the time to sit down with every organization and re-asses their member initiation practices.
"It gives us the opportunity to talk to the entire community and the perceptions of the fraternal community," said Dr. Conner.