Updated: Dec. 9 at 9:06 p.m.
Nearly two dozen sophomores in Alpha Epsilon Pi are fighting an eviction from Greek housing this month, which GW officials said results from more than a year of hazing, alcohol and drug violations.
The students learned they would be forced out of their chapter’s housing through a Dec. 4 letter from Greek life director Christina Witkowicki and GW Housing director Seth Weinshel.
That letter, which cited drug paraphernalia found at International House last spring and damages to the chapter’s townhouse, frustrated students and parents who said they did not receive adequate notice from University officials.
Students must move out of the chapter’s 22nd Street townhouse and fifth floor rooms in International House by the start of next semester.
In an email to parents the next day, Associate Dean of Students Tim Miller said GW had counted 17 counts of hazing, alcohol and drug violations since August 2012. AEPi’s national organization announced last week that the chapter would be hit with hazing sanctions.
Miller said the University was increasingly concerned about “the number of incidents and their severity,” according to the email, which was obtained by The Hatchet. Miller also cited “several thousand dollars” in damages to the chapter’s townhouse.
“Remaining in the townhouse is not a viable option, because the University has grown increasingly concerned about your health and safety and the safety of students who visit your townhouse,” Miller wrote in the email.
Students in the chapter said they immediately began pushing back against the decision, scheduling meetings with Witkowicki and Miller.
“Our first approach is going to be to work diplomatically with the University to come up with a different way to deal with this rather than to have to evict us,” said one sophomore, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
University spokesman Dave Andrews confirmed that the 22 students were told to move out, but said he did not have additional information. Miller and Witkowicki did not return requests for comment.
Alpha Epsilon Pi president Nate Kropp and Interfraternity Council president Peyton Zere did not return requests for comment.
Jon Pierce, a spokesman and former national president of Alpha Epsilon Pi said he was aware that the lease would be terminated, but did not believe the decision was related to the ongoing hazing investigation.
“My understanding is that the housing issue is unrelated to the hazing allegations, it is due to the damage that was occurring at the houses,” Pierce said.
Sophomore Jordan Mondshine, who lives on the chapter’s affinity floor in International House, said he thought the 17 reports were “completely unfounded.” He added that the damages to the townhouse were minor.
A handful of outraged parents penned letters to top leaders, including University President Steven Knapp and Senior Vice President and General Counsel Beth Nolan. They demanded an explanation and threatened to take legal action for what they described as unreasonable policies that could impact their students’ reputations.
“This vague reporting of facts used to determine this punishment is of grave concern to me, and in my opinion may warrant a defamation suit against the University,” according to one of the letters, which was obtained by The Hatchet.
A parent, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he spoke with Miller and Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff Kelly Leon on Friday, questioning the timing of the decision and a lack of communication. He said GW has not presented parents with proof about the alleged violations.
“The timing was about as ridiculous as anyone could imagine, coming about a week and a half before finals,” he said. “It seems shocking, beyond excessive.”