The University of Connecticut’s chapter of Phi Gamma Delta, also known as FIJI, is currently suspended and will be facing expulsion after being found responsible for violating seven acts of the university’s Student Code, according to a Department of Student Activities sanction letter.
“The ongoing culture of hazing at Phi Gamma Delta’s UConn chapter and last February’s incident could have produced tragic results.”
Stephanie Reitz, university spokesperson, said the university’s decision came after an hazing investigation due to an incident during a pledge event on Feb. 24, 2020. The event led to the hospitalization of one student for acute alcohol intoxication. According to the sanction letter, the student was four times over the legal limit of intoxication.
“The ongoing culture of hazing at Phi Gamma Delta’s UConn chapter and last February’s incident could have produced tragic results,” Reitz said. “Such severe misconduct warrants the strongest possible action proposed under UConn’s conduct process.”
Reitz said UConn officials notified Phi Gamma Delta chapter leadership on Sept. 30 with the sanction letter saying effective immediately, it had been “permanently separated from the University with no opportunity to return in the future as a recognized student organization.”
The sanction letter stated the fraternity violated seven sections of the University of Connecticut’s Responsibility of Community Life: The Student Code. The sections are Part III.B.5. Endangering behavior; Part III.B.6. Hazing; Part III.B.7c. Serving, distributing or obtaining alcohol; Part III.B.9. Uncooperative behavior; Part III.B.19b. Falsification, distortion or misrepresentation of information; Part III.B.19c. Influencing or attempting to influence another person and Part III.B.19d. Attempting to discourage or retaliate against an individual.
The letter said the Community Standards and the Student Activities Ad-Hoc Committee discovered during their investigation that hazing and underage drinking was deeply ingrained in Phi Gamma Delta’s culture and was not limited to the Feb. 24, 2020 event. With the combination of the February incident, history of hazing members, a failure to address such incidents and written and verbal responses by Phi Gamma Delta members, the Community Standards and the Student Activities Ad-Hoc Committee was able to come to their decision to expel the organization.
“Hazing occurred through many different dehumanizing methods and these activities and practices were degrading, dangerous and fully incompatible with the organization’s own values and those of the University,” according to the sanction letter. “There is also widespread, willful secrecy and lack of transparency between the executive board and membership, which has bred a lack of accountability throughout the organization.”
Phi Gamma Delta can file an appeal to the interim Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs/Director of Student Activities before Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 5 p.m., according to the sanction letter. If they do not file an appeal or if the appeal is denied, the organization will be expelled.
This is the second University of Connecticut fraternity chapter to be suspended in the past twelve months. According to The Daily Campus, Zeta Beta Tau was initially under an interim suspension following an incident involving a freshman student who fell out of a third-story window in October 2019.
According to a sanction letter dated April 15, 2020, Zeta Beta Tau was officially suspended after being found responsible for endangering behavior and hazing. They were permanently separated from the University and lost their University Housing in Husky Village. Zeta Beta Tau filed a recommendation appeal that was later denied, Reitz said.
Reitz said UConn has a “zero tolerance approach” towards organizations or individuals whose behavior may endanger others.
“UConn is committed to campus communities that are, above all, safe, healthy and respectful environments for our students, employees and guests,” Reitz said.