Wednesday, March 12, 2014
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — State police and the University of Connecticut have launched separate investigations into alleged hazing by a sorority and a fraternity.
UConn officials on Monday temporarily suspended the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity from all activities on campus pending the outcome of their investigation.
UConn sophomore and Kappa Kappa Gamma member Hillary Holt told reporters Friday that she was taken to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon's off-campus house on March 6 and forced to commit humiliating acts, including being told to lie on the floor and pretend to "sizzle like bacon." She said she was then pressured to drink alcohol to the point of passing out.
Holt said she woke up in a hospital and was told her blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08.
School spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said UConn's Office of Community Standards is investigating to determine if anyone violated the honor code, and state police are looking into whether any crimes were committed.
In a letter to the organizations, the school said the interim suspension is not meant to be punitive, but part of the investigative process and used "when information indicates that the presence of your organization on campus could pose a threat to the health and safety of the campus community."
The local Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity declined to comment and referred all inquiries to their national offices.
Kappa Kappa Gamma's national office issued a statement saying it was working with the university on the investigation and does not tolerate hazing.
Brandon Weghorst, a national spokesman for Sigma Alpha Epsilon, said the fraternity sent a letter to the UConn chapter ordering it to halt all operations while it conducts its own investigation.
"SAE offers its apologies to Miss Holt for any hazing or ordeal that she may have been subjected to, especially in a Sigma Alpha Epsilon house," he said. "And we apologize if any of our members were responsible for those actions. They are not consistent with our expectations."
Weghorst noted that the national fraternity last week changed its structure to eliminate the pledging process in an effort to "address some of these issues."
It's not the first time the fraternity has faced sanctions at UConn. SAE was placed on probation in 2004 after the alleged theft of some snacks from a local convenience store. It was given a warning in 2007 for damage caused to a university meeting room. And in 2010, the fraternity was again placed on probation after it was determined that several members riding on its homecoming float were intoxicated and one of them had urinated on another organization's float.