TKE International closes AU chapter amid hazing allegations
CEO: "In my fraternity, this is not acceptable"
Tau Kappa Epsilon International closed AU's chapter of the fraternity on April 25, effective immediately due to a "demonstrated absence of strong and responsible leadership," according to TKE International Chief Executive Officer Shawn Babine.
"Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity's vision is that we are 'Better Men for a Better World,'" Babine said in an April 25 press release. "Reported behavior of the local chapter and its men is not representative of our fraternity's ideals nor do we believe it is representative of the high ideals expected by the American University community."
TKE is not eliminating the possibility of reopening the fraternity at AU and would work with AU to re-establish a colony and chapter of "value-based American men" on campus, Babine said in the release.
The decision to close AU's chapter was based on a four-month-long joint investigation by the University and TKE International of the alleged hazing practices, Babine said in a phone interview with The Eagle. Babine informed AU Dean of Students Rob Hradsky of the chapter's closure at 4:45 p.m.
The closure process depends on the type and severity of misconduct and whether it is a chapter-wide or individual issue, Babine said.
Closing AU's Upsilon-Omicron chapter means TKE cannot hold meetings or recruit more men as an organization at the University. The status of individuals as members of the fraternity depends upon the outcome of AU's ongoing disciplinary hearings, Babine said.
The international organization considers a chapter separate from its members in disciplinary matters, Babine said. A brother can still be considered a member of the fraternity even when his chapter is closed.
Brothers may continue to wear clothing with TKE's Greek letters and attend TKE International social events such as conventions and alumni association meetings unless AU imposes sanctions to disallow individual memberships, Babine said.
An article published in The Eagle on April 25 detailed the alleged hazing based on evidence from five active TKE brothers who asked to remain anonymous. Nearly all 5,000 copies of the April 25 edition of The Eagle went missing from news stands across campus beginning at 9:30 a.m., The Eagle reported later in the day.
"Their behavior is not becoming of the organization, it does not represent the organization," Babine said. "We have no place for this type of hazing or this type of men ... In my fraternity, this is not acceptable."
As of publication, Chapter President Phil Seggio, AU Interfraternity Council President Dan Kerins and AU Assistant Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Curtis Burrill had not responded to requests for comment sent after business hours.
"Our goal is to eradicate those members and get them out," Babine said of brothers who commit acts that violate the fraternity's constitution.
TKE International did not seek an agreement with the University to close the chapter before acting because they wanted to end the brothers' "unacceptable behavior" immediately, according to Babine. The international organization normally works with the school to close a chapter rather than on its own, he said.
TKE International closed four chapters and opened 14 chapters in 2012, Babine said.
"I personally hope [AU does] adjudicate and deliver the sanctions for the individual actions," Babine said." [The brothers] need to have that information before they head home or wherever they're going next."