KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The Pi chapter of Alpha Tau Omega, University of Tennessee Knoxville’s oldest fraternity chapter, was handed a five-year suspension last month for repeated hazing and alcohol violations. Newly-released documents outline some of the alleged violations that led to the lengthy punishment.
Alpha Tau Omega was sanctioned in both 2018 and 2019 for on-campus alcohol violations and hazing. The most recent reports of violations occurred after they were handed a deferred suspension in January and put on disciplinary probation for hazing and violating previous sanctions.
An anonymous caller reached out to a hazing hotline in October and claimed new members were forced to sleep in the boiler room of the fraternity house. The caller said new members had to go to gatherings at an off-campus site where they were forced to perform exercises called wall sits while being kicked.
Investigators eventually found the chapter had added a 4-week set of initiation rites beyond the chapter’s approved 6-week pledge program.
Some of the requirements put on pledges were mundane, such as cleaning or picking up food orders for brothers. The investigation also found claims of hazing, being hit or kicked, forced consumption of alcohol, and even a claim that new members had broken bottles thrown at them.
Some new members reported feeling that they were “on-call 24/7” to drive around fraternity members, complete menial projects, or attend events referred to as ‘call-downs.’ Call-downs occurred late at night or early in the morning and were events where pledges were made to do different tasks, such as cleaning and singing children’s songs while engaged in different forms of calisthenics, while often being ridiculed, intimidated, and/or belittled.
On Aug. 28, the chapter hosted a foam party with another organization attended by upwards of 300 people. In violation of previous sanctions, the chapter failed to submit or review the event with the Office of Sorority & Fraternity Life.
Witnesses reported that the chapter had unregistered parties almost every week where alcohol was provided and underage drinking was permitted.
The fraternity will be suspended until the fall 2026 semester and the chapter house will be closed. Everyone living in the on-campus house must vacate the facility by Dec. 10.
The Pi chapter of Alpha Tau Omega was the first Interfraternity Council fraternity founded at UT. The chapter was founded in 1872 and has 147 members.