Education

Cal Poly just kicked out another frat. Here’s what it takes to get banned or suspended

Carson Starkey’s parents talk about the loss of their son and their efforts to save lives

Cal Poly student Carson Starkey died in 2008 as a result of alcohol poisoning from a fraternity hazing ritual. Now, his parents are living in San Luis Obispo and leading a cause to raise awareness and save lives on college campuses.
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Cal Poly student Carson Starkey died in 2008 as a result of alcohol poisoning from a fraternity hazing ritual. Now, his parents are living in San Luis Obispo and leading a cause to raise awareness and save lives on college campuses.

Cal Poly announced on Tuesday that it had banned its second fraternity from campus in recent months after an investigation into the organization found members were hazing new initiates during recruitment.

Tau Kappa Epsilon joined Lambda Phi Epsilon as the two fraternities to lose their Cal Poly affiliation this school year — both for hazing. Two other fraternity chapters have been suspended for the rest of the 2018-19 school year for similar concerns.

In light of the university cracking down on unsafe hazing activities among Greek Life organizations, here’s what has landed some fraternities in hot water in recent months.

  • Forced drinking of alcohol: Tau Kappa Epsilon (disaffiliated through 2021), Lambda Phi Epsilon (disaffiliated through 2020)
  • Underage drinking of alcohol: Tau Kappa Epsilon, Lambda Phi Epsilon, Sigma Pi (suspended through June 2019), Kappa Sigma (suspended through June 2019)
  • Using chapter funds for parties where alcohol is available to minors: Tau Kappa Epsilon
  • Forced push-ups: Tau Kappa Epsilon
  • Knuckle push-ups: Lambda Phi Epsilon
  • Push-ups as a punishment for incorrect fraternity history quiz answers: Kappa Sigma
  • Late-night ocean submersion: Lambda Phi Epsilon

  • “Actions that included the humiliation of its pledges, causing mental and emotional distress”: Sigma Pi

Four other fraternities are also currently on probation for non-hazing activities, according to Cal Poly’s web page on Greek Life sanctions. Those are:

  • Lambda Chi Alpha: Lambda Chi Alpha came under national fire in 2018 amid Cal Poly’s blackface scandal. The fraternity is on social probation through June 2019 for violation of registered student organization code of conduct, falsifying information to a university official, violation of alcohol policy, violation of party registration procedures, aiding and abetting in falsifying information to a university official, disruption or interference with an orderly process of a disciplinary matter.

  • Zeta Beta Tau: On probation through fall 2019 for violation of the alcohol policy, falsifying information to a university official, violation of health and safety policy and violation of Recognized Student Organization Code of Conduct
  • Sigma Nu: On social probation through spring 2020 for violation of alcohol policy; violation of health and safety policy, violations of law and violation of university policy and party registration procedure.
  • Theta Chi: On probation through winter 2020 for violation of alcohol policy, violation of health and safety policy and violation of law

The university also currently has an investigation open into activities at Alpha Chi Omega — the only sorority listed on the sanctions web page.

According to the website, the chapter is on a temporary social probation while the school looks into allegations that the sorority violated alcohol, health and safety and university policies as well as the law.

More anti-hazing efforts

With Tau Kappa Epsilon’s disaffiliation, Cal Poly is continuing a recent push to hold Greek organizations more accountable when it comes to hazing activities.

Cal Poly spokesman Matt Lazier said the university “significantly strengthened its education and prevention efforts around hazing in the past two years,” noting that the Student Affairs office launched a more comprehensive anti-hazing program in 2017 to help educate students.

“Given that increased training and attention, it is natural that we would see an increase in reporting,” Lazier wrote in an email to The Tribune on Wednesday. “We know in prevention work generally that when you engage students in education on a topic, it increases their awareness and, thus, increases reporting.”

“Going forward, the university will continue to take seriously every report we receive of hazing, in any student club or organization on campus,” Lazier added.

The Dean of Students office is also developing a new plan “to advance the university’s anti-hazing efforts,” according to Lazier.

That could include forming a campus committee on hazing prevention, adding hazing education to new student orientations and consider reducing the length of time for pledging in all Greek Life organizations, among other changes.

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