Alpha Phi at the University of San Diego was the center of some weird fraternity/sorority three-way hazing violation (no, not THAT kind of three way) involving Delta Tau Delta And Phi Gamma Delta. The incident happened back on the February 8 and the sorority was ordered to cease all operations following their hearing on April 14. Alpha Phi is appealing the decision made by the Fraternity and Sorority Life Standards Board (FSLSB), claiming that the investigation was not handled correctly.
According to emails obtained by USD Student Media, it’s not clear what exactly happened on February 8th between Alpha Phi, DTD, and FIJI. A letter written by Cynthia Avery, PhD., assistant vice president of Student Affairs cited confirmed hazing allegations. “The incident included alcohol, blindfolds, sexual exploitation, etc.,” the letter stated. Avery immediately placed a hold on ordered all activities and meetings, including initiation of 30 new members.
In a separate letter, Mandy Womack, director of Student Leadership and Engagement, who oversees USD’s FSL, notified Alpha Phi President Cassidy Kelly of the hearing that will decide the fate of Alpha Phi. “Both events had alcohol present, sexual misconduct, and were connected to the Big Sister/Little Sister program in Alpha Phi. Some of the members involved in these incidents were/are officers of the organization,” the letter stated.
Alpha Phi’s hearing did not go well. They were found in violation of several Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) guidelines, including hazing, the purchasing of alcohol using chapter funds, the presence of alcohol during any pledge/associate activity, and the worst of them all, harassment and abusive behavior. They violated two sections under this guideline, noted below.
“Fraternities and sororities may not engage in any organizational activities involving sexually abusive behavior (whether verbal or physical) or behavior that is lewd, obscene, or otherwise inappropriate,” Section II.F.1 states.
“Fraternities and sororities may not engage in any organizational activities involving physical or verbal behavior that makes persons the subject of harassment, intimidation, or hostility because of their race, religion, color, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin,” Section II.F.2 states.
The sorority cannot rejoin the USD community until Fall 2019 at the earliest.
But what about the fraternities? Public documents don’t say what happened on February 8 or what their involvement was, but it’s abundantly clear that the fraternities did not receive the same punishment as Alpha Phi. DTD was found responsible for hazing violations and having alcohol present during a pledge/associate activity. Fiji was responsible for the same violations as DTD in addition to two others: misbehavior by a chapter officer and activities involving sexually abusive or inappropriate behavior.
The two fraternities are allowed to remain on campus, unlike Alpha Phi, but there with a few stipulations.
Fiji and DTD will undergo mandatory membership reviews which will be conducted by their international administrations. This sanction could lead to the dismissal of several members from each chapter. Both fraternities will also be required to participate in educational programs involving speakers on hazing, sexual assault, and bystander intervention. DTD also received probation from the university through May 31, 2017. Fiji will be suspended from all social events through December 31, 2016 and be suspended from participating in Fall 2016 membership recruitment.
Some members of Alpha Phi who spoke to USD Student Media believe that it’s unfair that all parties involved were not punished equally, considering they all played a role in the hazing incident.
A majority of Alpha Phi has decided to appeal the decision handed down by FSLSB. We’ll update this post as more information becomes available. .
UPDATE 5/6/2016 1:52 p.m.: A current member of Alpha Phi has reached out to TSM to give us an insider perspective. The anonymous tipster claims that the “sexually exploitative” incident was actually just a “girl-on-girl lap dance (if you can count a three-second booty shake as a lapdance).” She also makes a point to clarify a few things in her email to us:
- “Obviously alcohol was involved, but consumption was optional. Ask any of the new members who were involved (we have also included a statement approved by all of the new members at the bottom of this document). I have also spoken with many of them and they have all expressed how much fun they had, and that it was more of a party than “hazing”.
- “The girls were blindfolded when they were taken into the house AKA nothing exciting really happened here. You could compare it to a surprise party.”
- “No physical contact between boys and girls.”
- “There were two SEPARATE incidents at two SEPARATE houses, which is why there are two different fraternities involved.”
She freely admits that the incident occurred and that members involved in the incidents were immediately terminated.
Our tipster also voices her disdain at how the punishments were handed down, saying, “Alpha Phi, Delt, and FIJI, all went under investigation for the two hazing incidents, and the sanctions given were less than fair. Alpha Phi was kicked-off. Delt and Fiji were given probation. Who is guilty of gender discrimination now?”
She goes on to talk about the way the matter was reported on by USD Vista, the article we originally quoted. Here’s what she had to say about the matter:
As if unfairly getting kicked-off campus wasn’t enough, the USD Vista (school newspaper that is supposed to be supporting the campus community- HA!) decided to publish an article exposing information that was provided to them by the school (information the school REFUSED to provide to us when we asked for it to appeal the decision).The article was published online for the world to see, including all of our future employers (because getting a job after college isn’t hard enough already), and thousands of copies were placed all around campus with our chapter’s philanthropy picture with our faces blurred out as the front page. The article talks about Alpha Phi doing things we DID NOT do i.e. sexual exploitation, paying for alcohol with chapter funds, gender discrimination, etc. The article also linked 100+ members names to the article, and none of us gave permission or knew this article was running. We reached out to members of the USD Vista asking them politely to make these changes, to which they basically told us to fuck off and that they will continue to release more documents and information as they are released.
The incident has basically started an all-out war between the newspaper and Greek life. All of the copies of the school newspaper with the Alpha Phi story disappeared from the stands across campus and were found in the dumpster.
Members of Alpha Phi are recieving tons of backlash for their innocent “hazing” incident. The tipster says she and other members are being called rapists, and saying they had boys “stick their dicks in our new members faces,” and are being asked if they forced their new members to give blow jobs, something she is adament did NOT happen.
I wouldn’t expect anything less from this easily-offended generation we live in now, but it’s still disappointing to see a chapter being forced to shut down because some people don’t like having fun. Although Alpha Phi was wrong to blindfold their members (I think we’re all taught as PNMs/active that blindfolds = hazing), it looks like they just treated their new members to a fun surprise party with a few fraternities. Sounds like a good time to me.