Fraternity scandals – latest one breaks out in North Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Two fraternities at North Carolina State University have been suspended - one for what appeared to be an offensive pledge book, the other for drug and sexual assault allegations - the latest chapters reprimanded in a wave of unseemly fraternity behavior around the country.
The national Pi Kappa Phi organization said Thursday it suspended its Raleigh chapter while it investigates derogatory comments attributed to members in a notebook found at a restaurant near campus. Separately, new details about a drug paraphernalia seizure surfaced in a search warrant in the investigation of sexual assault allegations at Alpha Tau Omega, which was suspended earlier this month.
Details about the North Carolina suspensions surfaced not long after shocking behavior at the University of Oklahoma and Penn State have put fraternities in the spotlight. At Penn State, police are investigating allegations members of Kappa Delta Rho used a private Facebook page to post photos of nude and partly nude women, some apparently asleep or passed out. At Oklahoma, Sigma Alpha Epsilon members were caught on video singing a racist song.
In Raleigh, television station WRAL posted photos of a notebook attributed to Pi Kappa Phi brothers, including a list of members on the fraternity's website. The notebook included sexist and racially insensitive comments.
One comment said: "If she's hot enough, she doesn't need a pulse." Another said: "Man, that tree is so perfect for lynching."
WRAL said workers at the restaurant found the notebook that they described as a pledge book and showed it to the station.
"The written comments and quotes reported earlier this evening are offensive and unacceptable," said Pi Kappa Phi Chief Executive Officer Mark E. Timmes said in a news release. "These statements are inconsistent with the values of Pi Kappa Phi and will not be tolerated."
In the Alpha Tau Omega investigation, campus police Sgt. J.P. Dye wrote in a warrant obtained by multiple media outlets that officers seized drug paraphernalia and white powder during a search at the fraternity house.
A woman called police March 1 to say that she was sexually assaulted there. She also told officers that she had been offered drugs, including cocaine and that she had seen drugs being sold.
A digital scale and plastic bags were also found, according to the search warrant.
A campus police spokesman didn't immediately return a message from The Associated Press.
Wynn Smiley, Alpha Tau Omega's national chief executive officer, said the fraternity kicked out a pledge who had white powder and other drug paraphernalia in his room.
He had only been associated with the organization for less than a month, Smiley said in a phone interview.
Smiley said the national organization conducted its own investigation with a lawyer, staff member and alumni advisors, and the organization believes the woman was exaggerating about drugs being sold and the level of drug activity. He also questioned her credibility on the sexual assault allegation.
He acknowledged that the details in the warrant were shocking, but said they all appear to have been relayed by the woman to the investigator.
"It just didn't line up with what we were finding out," he said, adding that the chapter is continuing to cooperate with investigators.
An N.C. State spokesman said the university planned to issue a statement on the fraternities later Friday.