University of Arizona officials notified the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity that they are no longer welcome on campus after an investigation by University Police found an alleged instance of hazing pledges by blindfolding them and forcing them to drink alcohol.
According to a letter from Rosanna Curti, Assistant Dean of Student Assistance and Accountability to the frat, “On March 31, 2017, Alpha Sigma Phi was issued notice that the organization was being placed on Interim Loss of Recognition to address the behavior, prohibiting all club activity including hosting, attending, participating, or sponsoring any organizational activities, and use of University facilities until the final disposition of the case. The interim measures also precluded current members and alumni from having any contact with new members.”
Allegedly after the interim measures had been put in place by the Dean of Students Office, “several text messages from Alpha Sigma Phi members were sent to at least one new member which is a violation of the interim measure which stated: Any contact with the alleged victims for purpose of intimidation and retaliation are prohibited and will result in future disciplinary action.”
“After this meeting, DOS followed up with witnesses who expressed fear of retaliation from fraternity members,” wrote Curti. “A witness was allegedly told by members of the fraternity the night of the assault, that “we kill rats,” and stated that new members were forced to consume alcohol and placed in a room where music was blaring.”
I have completed my investigation into the alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct by Alpha Sigma Phi reported to the Dean of Students (DOS) staff on March 31, 2017. The allegations pertain to behavior that reportedly occurred on or about March 23, 2017 at the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity house where minor new members were furnished alcohol, forced to drink alcohol, blindfolded, hazed and physically assaulted.
On March 31, 2017, Alpha Sigma Phi was issued notice that the organization was being placed on Interim Loss of Recognition to address the behavior, prohibiting all club activity including hosting, attending, participating, or sponsoring any organizational activities, and use of University facilities until the final disposition of the case. The interim measures also precluded current members and alumni from having any contact with new members.
The Dean of Students Offices initiated an investigation to address the following potential violations of the Student Code of Conduct:
Code of Conduct/2. Endangering / Threat / Cause Harm – Endangering, threatening, or causing physical harm to any member of the university community or to oneself, causing reasonable apprehension of such harm or engaging in conduct or communications that a reasonable person would interpret as a serious expression of intent to harm.
Code of Conduct/4. Other Published Rules – Violation of, or attempt to violate, other rules that may be adopted by Board or by the university.
Code of Conduct/15. Alcohol – Violation of Board or university rules or applicable laws governing alcohol, including consumption, distribution, unauthorized sale, or possession of alcoholic beverages.
Code of Conduct/19. Hazing – Engaging in, supporting, promoting, or sponsoring hazing or violating Board or University rules governing hazing.
Code of Conduct/26. Violation of State or Federal Law – Commission of any offense prohibited by state or federal law or local ordinance.
In the course of this investigation, the DOS spoke with witnesses and the detective assigned to the criminal investigation into the aforementioned allegations.
Per the Student Disciplinary Procedures (ABOR 5-403), Alpha Sigma Phi was provided the opportunity to respond to the Student Code of Conduct charges.
In an administrative hearing on April 4, 2017, President [REDACTED] (president at time of initiation of investigation) stated that Alpha Sigma Phi had a puzzle night during the new member event in an effort to create an environment that allowed pledges to work and bond together.
[REDACTED] stated that the pledges were blindfolded by active members, then lined up while placing their hand on the back of one another’s (new members) shoulder.
The pledges were then walked down a hallway in the fraternity house; during this time one new member was shoved by an active member into a pillar.
Two active members witnessed the shoving, but beyond that, pledges didn’t witness what occurred because they were blindfolded.
[REDACTED] also stated that pledges were taken to a dimly lit room where music was played in the background and pledges were to work together to assemble a puzzle in groups of three. After approximately 15 minutes, the new member educator noticed the same new member that was shoved hunched over complaining of stomach pains. [REDACTED] stated it was decided that the new member needed medical attention and he was driven to the hospital by the recruitment director.
When asked if alcohol was present at this new member event, [REDACTED] stated that it was, but that no one was required to consume alcohol. [REDACTED] stated that he understood that not everyone present at the new member event was of legal drinking age.
[REDACTED] stated that the incident happened because the new member process has strayed, and that in the future, the fraternity will work to have more involvement in the community, and Greek Life, and that there is no tolerance for physical assault.
After this meeting, DOS followed up with witnesses who expressed fear of retaliation from fraternity members.
A witness was allegedly told by members of the fraternity the night of the assault, that “we kill rats,” and stated that new members were forced to consume alcohol and placed in a room where music was blaring.
A witness shared that after the interim measures had been put in place by the Dean of Students Office, several text messages from Alpha Sigma Phi members were sent to at least one new member which is a violation of the interim measure which stated: Any contact with the alleged victims for purpose of intimidation and retaliation are prohibited and will result in future disciplinary action.
In addition, DOS spoke with the University of Arizona Police Department (UAPD) who stated that after interviewing several members of Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity regarding the events that occurred on March 23, 2017, UAPD was able to confirm which individual physically assaulted the new member. UAPD also stated that the interviews included statements from men that alcohol consumption was required of pledges by playing a game referred to as “Don’t Fuck Your Brother.”
In making a determination in this matter, I considered all of the relevant information gathered by the Dean of Students Office, including:
• [REDACTED] admission that alcohol was furnished to minors
• The environment present at the new member event that was conducive to endangering university students
• New members being subjected to forced alcohol consumption
• The physical assault of a new member (NM) by an active member during the event where all NM’s were blindfolded; resulting in significant injury and long term hospitalization of that NM
• Reports of threats and intimidation to a new member if Alpha Sigma Phi’s behavior was reported; and again reported threats after Alpha Sigma Phi was charged by DOS
Based on the totality of the information gathered in the investigation, the alleged behavior was verified by [REDACTED] through his admission in the administrative hearing that new members were blindfolded, led into a dark room, and alcohol was furnished to minor new members. [REDACTED] also confirmed it was the actions of an individual member of Alpha Sigma Phi during the official new member event at the fraternity house that resulted
in a new member’s injury and hospitalization. This information was also confirmed by UAPD and witnesses.
Alcohol consumption was part of the new member event (violation of item 2, 4, 14, and 19) and the new member was physically assaulted during the new member event (item 2 and 19), in addition to the threats and intimidation received by the new member both during the incident from active members, and new members of Alpha Sigma Phi, and after the organization was charged by DOS (violation of interim measures and item 2).
As a result of this investigation, I find it more likely than not that Alpha Sigma Phi violated the Prohibited Conduct items 2; Endangering / Threat / Cause Harm; 4; Other published rules; 15; Alcohol; 19; Hazing of the Student Code of Conduct. These findings and the serious and dangerous nature of the allegations along with Alpha Sigma Phi’s history of Student Code of Conduct violations ranging from alcohol, hazing, and physical assault beginning in 2013-present, support the sanction of Loss of Recognition from The University of Arizona effective immediately through May 31, 2021.
Loss of Recognition means the withdrawal of the Club as a recognized student organization at the University of Arizona. An unrecognized student organization cannot participate in any University sponsored event and loses the use of University facilities and resources.