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UNC fraternity suspended over possible hazing

Posted November 26, 2013

— A fraternity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is under investigation for possible hazing.

In a statement posted Monday on its website, the Alpha-Alpha Chapter of Chi Phi confirmed it has been suspended from campus as “a result of alleged risk management violations including alcohol violations and inappropriate new-member activities.”

The chapter is under review by the Chi Phi national governing body.

Winston Crisp, UNC's vice chancellor for Student Affairs, said in a statement that the university supports the investigation and has "zero tolerance" for actions that threaten the health or safety of students.

"The university always investigates any allegations of such behaviors and will take appropriate actions based on the facts and the requirements of our own policies and procedures," he said.

Last year, a student who was pledging the fraternity died after climbing machinery at a concrete plant in Carborro and falling about 40 feet. According to an autopsy, David Palmer Shannon, 18, of Charlotte, had a blood alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit when he fell.

Carborro police initially said there was no evidence to suggest that fraternity hazing led to his death. However, WRAL News has learned that the incident remains under investigation.

Police said they have tried to interview more than a dozen students but haven’t received much cooperation. They think Shannon may not have been alone when he climbed the equipment and fell in the early-morning hours.

Police also said Chi Phi had just gotten off probation one day before Shannon died.

Crisp told UNC's "Carolina Week," a student news program, that Shannon’s death and the suspension are not directly related.

Despite the suspension, fraternity members will be allowed to continue living at the chapter house, Crisp said.

"Student Affairs will provide those students with the same services and support available to other students as we enter the final exam period next month," he said.

14 Comments

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  • harmasters Nov 27, 5:05 p.m.

    The reporting of this incident has been absolutely tasteless. Releasing an audio recording of a friend's worst nightmare is unforgivable. This is not to mention, playing judge, jury, and executioner of a reputable organization whose membership is composed of the deceased closest friends.. Really?

  • carrboroyouth Nov 27, 1:20 p.m.

    When I learned of the circumstances of Shannon's death, I knew that others had to be there. Drunk people don't climb machinery alone at night. I think he was either trying to show off or that someone was egging him on. I was surprised when the police originally said that they weren't looking into hazing. I wonder what changed that?

  • exador7 Nov 27, 12:35 p.m.

    HA HA HA ,, Institutions of higher learning... Places where spoiled rich kids play twisted games.

  • UpChuck Nov 27, 11:57 a.m.

    "Frat"...it is called a "Fraternity". Would you call your "Country" a...well, you know what I mean.

  • anonymous99 Nov 27, 11:36 a.m.

    1775 - I suppose that's true ('It may be difficult for some personalities to draw a distinct line between "dues" and "hazing"'), but we are able to draw a distinction in every other realm. Fraternities have bylaws. It's not that hard to enumerate what is acceptable and what is not.

    Objective Scientist - You are spot-on. Bottom line, do what you think will help you make the most of your time in school. I enjoyed my time in a frat (for the most part), but under the circumstances you describe, I may have been right there with you.

  • Objective Scientist Nov 27, 11:26 a.m.

    ...continuation of comment. Some of my friends/roommates seemed to have low self-esteem and seemed to have the notion that being a "frat guy" would lead to them feeling "better" about themselves. Others seemed motivated primarily by the "partying, drinking, mixers with sororities, and the prospect of "getting laid" would be better as a "frat boy". On the other hand... I had some friends, etc. who became members of a frat and seemed to "manage" the life of being a frat guy with no negative consequences.

    Bottom line for me... I had great "bonding" experiences with some truly great friends as an undergrad that had nothing to do with a frat. We played B-ball in Woollen almost every afternoon, studied together, "hung out" at the dorm together, played on IM teams together, sent to football/basketball games - home and away - together, etc., etc., and occasionally took a trip to Meredith or what is now UNC-G for the women.

    Joining a "Greek" organization may appeal to some... NOT me!

  • Objective Scientist Nov 27, 11:09 a.m.

    Full disclosure - as an undergrad at UNC I was never a member of a fraternity. I was "curious" about fraternities because I had roommates, classmates, friends, etc. who sought to become, and some became members of a fraternity. I went with a friend to one fraternity "rush" event, primarily to see what it was "all about". Having satisfied my simple curiosity and in doing so learned more about fraternities... for me the positive aspects of being a member of a fraternity did not even come close to balancing out the negative aspects. Hazing definitely took place - it happened. I had a roommate (in a dorm) who pledged a fraternity and went through all the "initiation" events, including what was known as "Hell Week". There was no way my roommate/friend could be a student for that week. Some of what he "had to do" was merely DISGUSTING, some was clearly DANGEROUS!!! For me... there was NO organization or group for which membership in was worth doing what he had to do!!! Continued...

  • UpChuck Nov 27, 11:08 a.m.

    Ha ha...Sally you have no clue; guess you were not involved in the Greek system, right?

  • anonymous99 Nov 27, 10:57 a.m.

    Sally, I don't think there is anything fundamentally wrong with fraternities or sororities. It makes perfect sense for young people to pool resources to enjoy an active social life. That's always going to happen, regardless of what you call it.

    Stuff like this deserves to go the way of the dodo, though...

  • 1775 Nov 27, 10:55 a.m.

    It may be difficult for some personalities to draw a distinct line between "dues" and "hazing," especially when groupthink is factored in. It only takes one to mess it up for everyone else, especially when lives are at risk.

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