Alpha Phi Alpha faces hazing charges

admin | 2/15/2012, 7:30 a.m.

Hazing has reared its head at another state school this time at the University of Florida (UF). The schools chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., was suspended for hazing and is under investigation by campus police. The dean of students office placed the chapter on interim suspension, which means the organization is not allowed to participate in any campus activities. Bernie Machen, 67, president of UF, declined to comment but did address the situation in a letter to the Universitys students. It is with great concern that I write to you today regarding what we believe was a recent and serious physical hazing incident off campus by a UF fraternity, he said. Hazing is specifically prohibited by UF regulations and it is also classified as a crime in Florida. We cannot tolerate hazing on our campus or in our Universitys community and anyone found responsible will face the gravest possible consequences, including expulsion and criminal penalties. According to UF officials, the recent incident happened three months ago near the time a Florida A&M University student band member died in what police called a hazing incident. An individual came forward to the University of Florida Police Department with the allegations of serious physical hazing, which is against Florida law and UF regulations, said Janine Sikes, University spokeswoman. The case remains open and under investigation. Although representatives from the state and national level declined to comment, the fraternity did release a unified statement in the form of a cease-and-desist order against the local chapter in Gainesville. "We recognize that hazing is a persistent social scourge that has proven time and time again to be difficult to eradicate and too dangerous to tolerate," the statement said. Alpha Phi Alpha does not condone hazing. Alpha Phi Alpha has embraced programs which provide leadership tools to recognize, prevent and address hazing." Local graduatechapter President, Trevor T. Wade, Sr., 36, of the Beta Beta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. said, The fraternity's stance is hazing is not tolerated. [We] are in the process of revamping the intake process to prevent issues like we have at UF. Wade says he has a theory that explains why the hazing culture still exists on college campuses. Sometimes the younger members lose sight of why the fraternity was founded, he said. They may think that this is the way to prove that the person trying to join really wants it. Unfortunately, the fraternity can't control all members at all times and things like that can happen. The new intake process will hopefully help with preventing these types of actions. By Randy Gricergrice@miamitimesonline.com