Hazing incidents and misconduct violations have resulted in the suspension of organizational privileges for the College of William and Mary’s chapter of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity.
“Suspending a chapter is always our last option, and it’s not something we take lightly,” Director of University Relations Brian Whitson said. “This is following a pattern of conduct violations over the past couple of years, so it was certainly the last straw, not the first.”
A Student Conduct Board issued the suspension, which was upheld by an appeals committee.
The ruling stripped Phi Kappa Tau of its status as a recognized campus student organization through at least May 2015. At that time, the College’s chapter can reapply for official recognition.
The most recent hazing incident occurred during a scavenger hunt for newly recruited members in November. According to Whitson, one student was told to steal the hat of a Colonial Williamsburg employee, and the theft was investigated by the Williamsburg police.
It was the latest in a series of reported infractions. A statement released by Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler ’88 Ph.D. ’06 noted that the chapter was already on probation for a 2010 hazing incident.
“A property damages incident occurred while the fraternity held a formal in a hotel in Virginia Beach,” Whitson said. “Furniture was damaged in one of the hotel rooms. In the past they’ve been cited for alcohol violations as well.”
Inter-Fraternity Council President Ishan Bardhan ’13 confirmed the chapter was implicated for several instances of hazing. The Inter-Fraternity Council had no role in the conduct board’s decision.
“This is simply inexcusable; the College of William and Mary, the state of Virginia, and Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity all have no tolerance policies on such behavior,” Bardhan said in an email.
According to Bardhan, although the school has suspended Phi Kappa Tau, the fraternity’s national organization will determine the status of the organization’s charter.
“Though it is unfortunate any time our College and community loses a chapter, we wish the best to all students most impacted by this most regrettable situation,” Bardhan said in an email.
Phi Kappa Tau member Alex Corwin ’12, who described himself as a bystander in the reported incidents, said he did not know much about the disciplinary process and that his future participation in the organization would depend on the College’s rulings.
“I think the school kind of rolls the dice and decides how long they want to suspend the fraternity for,” he said.
The College has been working with the national Phi Kappa Tau organization and is expected to release a joint statement on the suspension this week.