Last spring, the Tau Epsilon Phi (TEP) fraternity was issued an interim suspension pending an investigation after Binghamton University’s Office of Student Conduct received reports that the fraternity was hazing prospective members, including excessive alcohol consumption and the endangerment of a student. Now, the fraternity has been kicked off campus for violating the terms of its suspension.
During the investigation, the Office of Student Conduct found that the fraternity violated the University Code of Student Conduct, which prohibits the distribution of alcohol to minors, hazing, endangering persons, unauthorized access to University premises and providing false information or identification to the University.
According to L.C. Coghill, director of fraternity and sorority life, BU suspended the fraternity for one year as a result of the investigation’s findings.
“While on suspension, TEP violated the terms of their sanction by continuing to conduct activities,” Coghill wrote in an email. “As a result, Binghamton University has revoked the recognition of TEP, and the Tau Epsilon Phi National fraternity has suspended the chapter.”
BU’s actions are consistent with the University’s ongoing efforts to hold affiliated fraternities and sororities to the highest standards and to hold organizations accountable for violating established policies. The University is not the only institution struggling to manage Greek life groups; at Syracuse University, Theta Tau fraternity was suspended in April after a video emerged showing brothers using racial slurs, and last week, Cornell University revoked recognition of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity following hazing allegations.
“Binghamton University will continue to educate our members, parents and the general student body about the dangers of hazing and to respond swiftly and firmly to hazing by any organization,” Coghill wrote.
At BU, every Greek life organization and member is required to abide by their national organization’s policies and rules, in addition to the Student Code of Conduct.
According to Yitzhak Maurer, president of the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and a senior double-majoring in classical and Near Eastern studies and anthropology, fraternity members must also follow the rules established by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and the IFC’s constitution and risk management policies. Maurer said these rules are readily available to all students.
For many fraternities, including Tau Epsilon Phi, national policies are largely influenced by insurance requirements. Tau Epsilon Phi National could not be reached for comment; however, they no longer recognize the Phi Pi chapter at BU as an actively chartered chapter.
According to BU’s Fraternity and Sorority Relationship Agreement, the fraternity’s Phi Pi chapter will not be eligible to apply for return to the University until summer 2020. The agreement specifies that the suspension must last either three years or until at least 80 percent of current known members are no longer enrolled at BU, whichever comes first.
After the fraternity’s official suspension last semester, Coghill recommended that all other fraternity and sorority chapters cease contact with the group and sent an email reminding all Greek life organizations that both the IFC and Panhellenic Councils have direct policies against the co-sponsoring of events with unrecognized organizations.
“There is absolutely no place for this toxic behavior in our community,” Coghill wrote. “We will continue to strive to provide a healthy, safe and productive experience for our members.”