UA's Phi Kappa Psi frat house shut down for hazing, alcohol

2012-02-22T00:00:00Z 2014-08-05T10:29:55Z UA's Phi Kappa Psi frat house shut down for hazing, alcoholCarol Ann Alaimo Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 22, 2012 12:00 am  • 

A troublesome frat house at the University of Arizona will cause trouble no more: Its charter has been revoked.

The local chapter of Phi Kappa Psi, a fixture at the UA for more than 60 years, was shut down by the fraternity's national headquarters over numerous allegations of hazing and of lying to try to cover up wrongdoing.

The hazing claims included cases in which minors were encouraged to abuse alcohol and incidents of pledges being subjected to sleep deprivation by "holding early-morning activities on the heels of late-night activities," said Keith Humphrey, UA dean of students.

The decision to dissolve the chapter, founded in 1947, "was not something taken lightly by the ruling body of the fraternity," said a statement on the national Phi Kappa Psi website.

The UA chapter, with 115 members, was one of the largest and oldest in the country, the national office said. But problems there reached a point where action had to be taken "to maintain the integrity" of the organization.

The UA chapter engaged in "repeated instances of hazing over a period of time. The chapter's effort to hide the truth and mislead those investigating the allegations also contributed" to the outcome, the statement said.

It did not provide details about cover-up efforts. A message left at national headquarters Tuesday wasn't immediately returned.

The national group voted to cut ties at a Jan. 20 hearing in New Jersey.

Besides the hazing problems, the UA chapter also created potential legal liabilities for the national fraternity by routinely flouting its risk-management rules, the statement said.

UA junior Paul Fielding, 20, president of the now-defunct chapter, did not dispute the allegations but said in an interview they date back to 2009 and 2010, when a different crop of fraternity leaders was in charge.

Fielding, who is majoring in engineering management, said he flew to New Jersey at his own expense to explain that at the revocation hearing, but he said the national outfit all but ignored his input.

Humphrey said revoking the local chapter's charter was the right thing to do.

"It sends a strong signal throughout the UA community about what is acceptable, and what is not acceptable, for student groups," he said.

"The vast majority of our (fraternity and sorority) houses don't engage that way," he said. UA has about 50 sororities and fraternities.

Revoking a charter typically is a last resort after offenders are given multiple chances to correct misconduct, Humphrey said.

The national organization said officials there hope to one day re-establish a Phi Kappa Psi chapter at the UA.

Humphrey said that may be possible, though the group would have to wait several years and be able to show that past problems weren't likely to be repeated.

The group's UA frat house, a two-story building with a swimming pool at 1011 N. Tyndall Ave., still is occupied.

There's nothing to prevent students from living there, Humphrey said. They just can't call themselves a fraternity or hold fraternity events.

The closure of the UA chapter marks the second time in less than a year a Phi Kappa Psi chapter has been stripped of its charter.

Similar action was taken in June 2011 to shut down a troubled chapter at UCLA.

Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at calaimo@azstarnet.com or at 573-4138.

"It sends a strong signal throughout the UA community about what is acceptable, and what is not acceptable, for student groups. The vast majority of our (fraternity and sorority) houses don't engage that way."

Keith Humphrey, UA dean of students

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