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Phi Kappa Psi suspended through 2019 academic year

Graphic representing fraternities being taken off campus.
Graphic representing fraternities being taken off campus.

By Bonnie Meibers, Senior Staff Writer

At a Phi Kappa Psi party in February, "inappropriate pictures" were taken of a student attendee, without the person's consent, and then distributed via the messaging app GroupMe.

These photographs, along with hazing violations, would later lead to the fraternity's four-year suspension from campus, a Miami Student records request revealed.

The victim depicted in the inappropriate pictures had attended a Phi Kappa Psi-hosted party Feb. 10, where the fraternity also served alcohol to minors, university records show.

However, due to previous allegations of hazing, Phi Kappa Psi was on a university-mandated disciplinary probation when the pictures were reported in April.

Those hazing allegations came about in March, after two anonymous phone calls to the university tipped off officials to the activities occurring within Phi Kappa Psi.

After those calls, the university conducted interviews with newly recruited members. The fraternity's former chapter adviser sent the university a report attributing the hazing to members of the 2012 pledge class.

After this report, the Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution found the fraternity responsible for the hazing and put Phi Kappa Psi on disciplinary probation April 3.

Later that month, Miami received the report from the pictured student, whose name was redacted from all records.

After this report, the university notified the fraternity of three alleged violations of the Student Conduct Regulations - mental abuse, prohibited use of alcohol and disorderly conduct - and called a disciplinary hearing April 27.

After the hearing, both Phi Kappa Psi and the victim had the right to appeal. Phi Kappa Psi took advantage of this opportunity and entered a plea of "not responsible" for all three violations.

However, the appeals board found that there was no new evidence presented, no procedural defect and maintained that the sanctions were appropriate. Therefore, based on the evidence presented, the university found the fraternity responsible for mental abuse, prohibited use of alcohol and disorderly conduct.

The Miami University Code of Conduct defines mental abuse as "intentional or reckless acts that cause or reasonably could cause physical or mental harm to any person are prohibited." This makes the pictures that were taken and distributed a chargeable offense.

Two Miami and Phi Kappa Psi alumni said this is not the fraternity they experienced.

Chuck Bath said hazing never occurred while he was attending Miami. Bath graduated Miami in 1977 and was in the first pledge class of Miami's chapter of Phi Kappa Psi in 1974.

"Phi Psi was sort of formed to combat the hazing in other fraternities," he said.

This no-hazing policy is what set the fraternity apart from others on campus, another Phi Kappa Psi alum, Allan Huber said.

"We were known as the 'Boy Scouts' on campus," Huber, '80, said.

But the Phi Kappa Psi of today is suspended from Miami's campus from May 13, 2015 to May 31, 2019. The fraternity is also required to submit a "reorganization plan" with a focus on hazing education to the Cliff Alexander Office by January of 2019.