UT releases details about fraternity drinking incident

UT releases details about fraternity drinking incident

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By JESSA LEWIS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Authorities have released new information in the alcohol incident at the University of Tennessee that sent a student to the hospital and prompted the suspension of a fraternity.

UT Student Life Vice Chancellor Tim Rogers said Wednesday that the incident involving Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity members is beyond disappointing, and that it leaves more than a black eye on the Volunteer family.     

Rogers says the university will now step up their investigation, since police have issued a preliminary report.

The UT students involved in Saturday's alcohol incident not only face charges from the police, but they will face the university as well.

"Here on campus, our burden of proof is a little bit different," said Rogers. "We need to show that it's only more likely than not that they committed those violations, either open container ordinance or underage consumption then we move it through our disciplinary channels,"

The penalties following the 12 citations related to the incident could range from a warning to permanent dismissal from UT.

"Put it in context though," said Rogers. "If you had a simple possession of alcohol, it's unlikely to be permanently dismissed from the university. On the other hand, if there were compounding offenses, say prior disciplinary records, things of that nature, it might reach that more severe level of penalty."

The fraternity chapter has been suspended by its national headquarters for 30 days, but the PIKE chapter is indefinitely suspended by the university.

"They can have no activities in the house other than the meals. Those are on a meal plan," said Rogers. "They can't even convene a meeting without an alumni advisor there and that advisor must be engaged in the meeting and that meeting must be restricted to the purpose of addressing these issues."

Police officers found multiple empty and partially empty bags from boxes of wine when they searched the house.     

The way the alcohol was consumed could play a role in determining the severity of punishment.

"We like to think we stay current with what's going on, but this did surprise me," Rogers stated.

He also said the university won't make significant changes to the alcohol education program on campus, and that they already do unannounced walkthroughs of the common areas in fraternity houses and residence halls.

Pi Kappa Alpha was challenging a recommended disciplinary probation of one semester regarding an August incident in which UT police found a number of people drinking at the PIKE house.

The university said the August incident would likely be reviewed with the most recent incident.

The fraternity chapter is just coming off probation from the spring and fall of last school year for a female student who was found unconscious on the fraternity's front steps after drinking alcohol inside.

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