UC Berkeley News
Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

UC Berkeley fraternity involved in pellet gun hazing forced to close one year, seek new members

– A University of California, Berkeley, fraternity chapter involved last spring in a hazing incident in which a student was shot dozens of times with a pellet gun, will be closed for a year and forced to start fresh with new membership, campus officials announced today (Tuesday, July 5).

The fraternity will not be allowed to resume operations as a UC Berkeley chapter until August 2006 and only then amid a host of conditions, restrictions and close oversight by the campus administration and the fraternity's national headquarters.

The sanctions taken against Pi Kappa Phi fraternity were reached as part of a settlement agreement between the campus and the fraternity and represent the most severe and comprehensive disciplinary action that UC Berkeley has taken against a fraternity in several years, said Karen Kenney, the campus's dean of students.

"UC Berkeley has a zero-tolerance policy on hazing, and the offenses in this case were especially shocking and disturbing," said Kenney. "Strong disciplinary action was called for and is appropriate."

The settlement agreement addresses an April 8 hazing activity in which a prospective member, or pledge, was shot at least 30 times with an air pellet gun. The pledge was treated at a local hospital for welts and bruises and released. The agreement announced today also addresses a March 4 incident in which the chapter held an unauthorized party involving various alcohol use violations, including the serving of alcohol to minors.

Campus officials found the fraternity chapter in violation of numerous UC Berkeley student conduct code provisions including hazing, physical abuse, weapons charges and alcohol charges.

Under the terms of the agreement, representatives from Pi Kappa Phi's national office in North Carolina will immediately place members of the UC Berkeley chapter on inactive status. No chapter activities will take place in the house during the 2005-06 school year, and a live-in house director will be placed on the premises.

During the fall 2007 semester, the national chapter, working with campus staff, will meet and come up with a plan outlining how a newly-constituted chapter would steer clear of hazing activities and follow the policies, codes and laws that govern fraternity activities, according to the agreement.

The fraternity's national headquarters will decide which, if any, current members of the local Pi Kappa Phi chapter can return to the chapter house if the campus allows a newly-constituted chapter to open in August 2006. It is anticipated that no more than four current members of Pi Kappa Phi would be reinstated to the local chapter. Representatives from the national Pi Kappa Phi office will travel to UC Berkeley to oversee the local chapter's 2006-07 recruitment activities.

In addition, during the 2006-07 school year, the newly formed chapter would operate under strict conditions and restrictions, including adherence to a ban on alcohol consumption at the chapter house and at chapter-sponsored events.

Other terms of the settlement agreement, which encompasses two years, require that the fraternity members pay a $4,000 fine, perform 750 hours of community service, produce a seminar for the campus's fraternities and sororities on the dangers of hazing, participate in leadership development programs, complete an online alcohol abuse awareness program, and restructure their chapter's alumni board.

If any of the terms of the agreement are violated, the campus administration will move to revoke the chapter's recognition as a campus-recognized fraternity - a move that could cause the chapter house to permanently close.

The campus Student Judicial Affairs office continues to investigate possible student conduct charges against individual members of the chapter who may have been involved in the April 8 hazing.

Charges against individual students can result in disciplinary action ranging from a warning to, in more serious cases, suspension or expulsion from campus. Students have a right to a hearing in all student conduct cases, though most UC Berkeley students choose to dispose of cases through a settlement agreement with the campus.