TUCSON, AZ - The University of Arizona has stripped a fraternity of recognition after an investigation showed multiple cases of hazing that endangered its members.
The local chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon was booted last week for what the university's dean of students described as an entrenched culture of disregard for student safety that involved multiple forms of hazing.
The fraternity is the third to lose its accreditation this year at the Tucson school.
The fraternity known as the "Tekes" violated the university's code of conduct by forcing new members to drink alcohol and go through physical challenges so extreme the students either passed out or vomited, Dean of Students Keith Humphrey said.
Chapter president Billy Dimitri tells the Arizona Daily Star (http://bit.ly/NKcAe9 ) the fraternity was framed and will appeal. Dimitri, a UA senior studying civil engineering, said the allegations date back to 2010 and were made by "a disgruntled former member we kicked out who's trying to get revenge."
"It's all secret rituals," he said. "It's harmless, no one was ever hurt. But I can't talk about it because it's what makes us a brotherhood."
The university substantiated the allegations after they were made a few weeks ago, Humphrey said.
The fraternity cooperated in an investigation, giving the UA access to numerous past and present members.
The university usually tries to help offending fraternities or sororities change their ways before the last resort of kicking them off campus, Humphrey said. In this case, officials determined that wouldn't work because the problems ran too deep.
The wrongdoing at Tau Kappa Epsilon "was part of their practice as an organization, which we couldn't allow to continue," he said.
The fraternity also is suspended by its headquarters based in Indianapolis. Tom McAninch, a spokesman there, said it will also investigate.
"We have a zero tolerance policy for hazing," McAninch said.
In January, the UA kicked out the local chapter of Phi Kappa Psi over allegations of hazing, underage drinking and lying to try to cover up wrongdoing. The local chapter of Delta Chi was stripped of recognition in April by the UA for repeated violations that "presented a threat to the health and safety of members."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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