FAYETTEVILLE Activities at a University of Arkansas fraternity house have been suspended pending the completion of a hazing investigation by the group’s international organization.
Bob Biggs, executive vice president of the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity, said members of the Arkansas Alpha Chapter of Phi Delta Theta came under fire earlier this week after a new member was transported to the Washington Regional Medical Center and treated for alcohol poisoning. Biggs said the incident occurred Nov. 12, following a “Big Brother, Little Brother” fraternity function at the Phi Delta Theta House at 108 N. Stadium Drive.
“There were over 100 individuals in attendance at an event where alcohol was present,” Biggs said. “A young man had to be hospitalized over the course of the evening. The young man, fortunately, has been treated and released from the hospital and has resumed his schedule at the UA, which we are very grateful for.”
Central Emergency Medical technicians transported the student from his residence hall to the hospital, where he remained for two days.
UA Media Relations Manager Steve Voorhies initially on Wednesday said there was not an investigation under way. On Thursday, Voorhies confirmed that the local Phi Delta Theta chapter was the subject of an investigation involving alcohol.
Ashley Tull, UA senior associate dean of students, said he couldn’t say whether any criminal charges would be filed.
“So far, there hasn’t been a criminal investigation and I don’t know if there will be one,” he said. “There could be the potential of student conduct charges, but that would be a separate process. Right now, it’s too early to tell.”
Tull said the incident is being treated as a hazing investigation, though officials haven’t confirmed whether any hazing occurred.
According to the UA student handbook, hazing is defined as, “any activities causing mental or physical stress and/or embarrassment which are required of an individual joining or belonging to any organization.”
UA Phi Delta Theta President Robert Darnell said he couldn’t comment specifically on the incident, but that fraternity members are taking the matter seriously.
“We are very concerned for our new member and his family,” he said. “We are, however, elated to see him back on campus. We are doing our absolute best to cooperate with the university and the Phi Delt headquarters during their investigation.”
The Arkansas Alpha Chapter of Phi Delta Theta was founded at the UA on Oct. 8, 1948. It has since grown to be one of the largest fraternities on campus, with nearly 200 active members and more than 1,700 initiated members. The group was one of six chapters that received the Greek Life Award of Excellence in 2005, which is given to top Greek-lettered organizations on the UA campus.
“We know several fraternity risk management policies were violated that night,” Biggs said. “This behavior is very atypical of the friendship and educational values associated with this organization. We hope to have enough information to share with the board and take action early next week.”
Tull said he couldn’t remember the last time a UA fraternity has been investigated for hazing.