Fraternity closes BU chapter in hazing
Board vote comes after 14 suspects faced police charges
The Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity has closed its Boston University chapter in response to allegations that members bound and beat five students in an apparent hazing incident.
In a unanimous vote Tuesday night, the group’s board of directors shut down the 30-member chapter, which was not sanctioned by the university. The vote came shortly after police sought charges against 14 suspects for hazing and assault and battery.
“Alpha Epsilon Pi does not, in any way, condone hazing of any type,’’ the fraternity said in a statement. “We have been a leader for many years on this subject and expend considerable effort each year to educate our chapter leaders and members.’’
The fraternity - which has more than 160 chapters in the United States, Canada, and Israel - had previously suspended the group but took more definitive action after investigating, a spokesman said.
It also called for a three-day moratorium on pledging activities to reinforce antihazing policies to its chapters.
“The actions being reported at Boston University do not reflect our fraternity’s values or principles of brotherhood,’’ the national fraternity said. The BU chapter had been active for about five years.
A spokesman said the fraternity has had other hazing incidents at a few chapters over the years but said it had a pretty good track record.
Early Monday morning, police responding to a noise complaint found five BU students in the basement of the off-campus fraternity, taped to each other at the wrist and wearing only underwear. Covered in honey, hot sauce, and other condiments, they were shivering and looked horrified, police said.
Police later saw that their backs were covered in red welts, and the backs of their heads had been shaved in some areas.
The suspects, most if not all of whom are BU students, are due in court next month. BU officials say they will probably be suspended and could be expelled.
The university ended its affiliation with the fraternity in 1993 after members were found to have served alcohol to underage students. In recent years, the fraternity never applied for reinstatement.
“They’ve made no effort to return to the fold,’’ said Colin Riley, a university spokesman.
The university does not track or oversee off-campus Greek organizations that are unsanctioned, but its members are subject to the university’s code of conduct if they are students.
Nationally, the large majority of Greek organizations are affiliated with a college, fraternity officials say.
“There are very few of our groups that are unrecognized by the universities,’’ said Tom McAninch, spokesman for the Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity which has nearly 300 chapters, but is not active at BU. “They are usually in universities that don’t recognize Greek life at all.’’
When chapters lose their standing with a school, the national group will typically shut them down or help them regain official status.
“When a group becomes unrecognized, it becomes very difficult for them to survive,’’ he said. “They just aren’t going to get the support they need.’’
Some colleges warn students about “underground fraternities,’’ which are neither affiliated with a school nor a national group.
“The most important fact to recognize is that these groups are not fraternities as they are devoid of any ritual or recognition by a national organization,’’ Villanova University tells visitors to its website.
Peter Smithhisler, president of the North-American Interfraternity Conference, said rogue fraternities are rare and operate without any accountability.
“It’s unsupervised by any definition of the word,’’ he said.