An unprecedented five Greek-letter organizations are under investigation by the University, but officials are releasing few details about the nature of the allegations against the chapters.
Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Delta Gamma, and Kappa Kappa Gamma are all under investigation for allegations of hazing, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Judicial Services Tara Pereira said. Pi Kappa Alpha and Sigma Phi Epsilon are currently suspended by their national organizations through the investigations' completion, and could possibly last longer depending on what the investigations yield.
The "interim suspension of recognition" for Pi Kappa Alpha and Sigma Phi Epsilon means neither chapter is permitted to conduct any operations, including membership meetings, philanthropy events or mixers, Pereira said. Such suspensions typically last through the investigation and, if appropriate, the subsequent judicial process.
Pi Kappa Phi is also under investigation by the University. Pereira would not elaborate on what the fraternity is under investigation for, but said the allegations are not related to hazing. A representative for Pi Kappa Phi confirmed the national organization is working with GW but declined to share the nature of investigation.
The Hatchet first reported that Kappa Kappa Gamma was under investigation for allegations of hazing and underage drinking last month, and Pereira said no final decisions about the sorority have been made, and that the University is still in a fact-finding phase into the alleged incidents.
Rumors radiated through campus following the series of hazing allegations. On Wednesday, The GW Patriot, a student-run blog, received an e-mail from a fake account alleging to be a president of a fraternity. The fake e-mails attempted to call out chapters for hazing and drinking violations.
A contributing factor to the rumors, an alumnnus of Greek-letter life said, is a belief that finger-pointing could help diffuse blame.
Pereira declined to give any specifics as to what the groups were being investigated for, citing the ongoing nature of the investigations. Director of the Student Activities Center Tim Miller said the bulk of rumors he heard were embellished and some were untrue, adding that the University is investigating any allegations that seemed credible.
Pereira said the bulk of the allegations have not come from chapter-on-chapter tattling, but rather from other students, parents and concerned members of the GW community coming forward.
"The lion's share of the information that I am most concerned about was not received from other chapters about other chapters," she said.
Pereira acknowledged that the increased number of hazing rumors over the past few weeks has been unusual.
"It's more," Pereira said. "I don't know if it's more in quantity in the chapters, but it's more at one time than I think we've experienced."
She added that the University is collaborating with each of the chapter's national organizations in order to conduct the investigations.
Pereira said she expects the investigations of the five chapters to take about three to four weeks each to complete, but said it could take longer.
Contrary to other circulating rumors, Pereira and Miller said there has been no coordinated effort between administrators and the University Police Department to conduct searches of Greek-letter life townhouses in the wake of the investigations.
"There was no coordinated 'Let's get the Greeks' process here," Miller said. "This is not a coordinated 'Let's go after anybody' approach."
All five of the chapters being investigated occupy University townhouses on Townhouse Row, but Miller said no discussions have occurred about whether or not the chapters will be able to keep their townhouses due to the incidents.
"There is no discussion, no debate, no even considering the house part yet because we're not there," Miller said.
The significant increase in hazing investigations comes during record high interest in Greek-letter life at GW. Approximately one-quarter of GW students are involved in Greek-letter life, and the four chapters under investigation for hazing account for about 400 to 500 students.
All five of the chapters under investigation have been Gold Award finalists for the Student Activities Center's Chapter of the Year Awards within the last two years, meaning they were recognized for being among the top Greek-letter life chapters at GW.
Megan Lloyd, communications specialist for Delta Gamma's national organization, said the organization is aware of the concerns and is working with the University. A representative from Pi Kappa Phi's national organization would not comment on the allegations except to say they were not related to hazing.
Logan Reynolds, Pi Kappa Alpha's national director of services, said they are working with their fraternity members and with the University to figure out how to move forward once all evidence has been gathered.
Sigma Phi Epsilon Regional Director Joshua Hodnichak said the national organization placed the chapter under "cease and desist," an order to cease operations pending the investigation's conclusion.
Beth Black, Kappa Kappa Gamma's national vice president, previously told The Hatchet that Kappa Kappa Gamma has a strong stance against hazing and was working with University officials during the investigation. Black did not return repeated requests for comment for this story.
The president of Pi Kappa Alpha, Pi Kappa Phi, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Kappa Kappa Gamma and Delta Gamma each declined to comment on the investigation.