Officials at Southern Methodist University (SMU) suspended a fraternity late Wednesday following an internal investigation into alleged hazing practices performed on new members so egregious that this chapter cannot return to the campus until 2021.
According to the university, the Beta Lambda chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity purportedly forced new members to consume hot peppers like jalapenos and habaneros plus red onions while drinking milk until they vomited after which the new recruits had to wear the vomit-soiled clothing, as was reported by SMU’s student newspaper, The Daily Campus.
The alleged hazing also subjected its pledges to paddling, forced calisthenics, sleep deprivation, and “underground membership.” Reportedly, fraternity brothers coerced new members into forced alcoholic consumption in a potentially dangerous drinking ritual nicknamed “booze hazing.”
The SMU Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards conducted the investigation on the fraternity following allegations of austere hazing which surfaced during the Spring 2017 recruitment period better known as rush week.
The university released a public statement about the fraternity’s suspension. “The SMU chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order national organization was suspended on October 4, 2017, for a minimum of four years by the University, in agreement with the Kappa Alpha Order national organization. The suspension comes in response to operational and new member incidents that violated the SMU Student Code of Conduct and the fraternity’s policies.” it stated.
The Student Code of Conduct lists hazing among behaviors that can lead to a conduct review.
The statement continued: “SMU has made available alternative living arrangements for students who lived in the fraternity house, as well as other resources to help with their transition.”
A letter went home to the parents of the fraternity’s members detailing the particulars of the hazing accusations and the subsequent investigation, according to the campus newspaper. It advised that students living in the Kappa Alpha house must be moved out by Saturday and that sophomores residing in the house will be required to find alternative on-campus housing to fulfill the university’s two-year on-campus living requirement.
Since 2013, SMU has required its incoming first-year students to live on campus for their first two years. The only students exempt from this policy are those who live at home locally in the Dallas area.
Jesse S. Lyons, assistant executive director for advancement of the national Kappa Alpha Order, confirmed the university’s announcement. “Kappa Alpha Order has suspended our chapter at Southern Methodist University, in cooperation with our risk management policies,” he said in prepared remarks. “We have an agreement with SMU to return to campus in 2021.”
The fraternity actually remains on suspension until the fall of 2021 and they may resume recruitment of freshman students beginning in the spring of 2022, according to The Daily Campus.
Apparently, the fraternity got into trouble with the university before over conduct issues. In 2009, SMU kicked Kappa Alpha off of the campus for violating the terms of a deferred suspension by hosting an off-campus social event. They returned two years later.
In March 2016, another national fraternity shut down its Lambda Chi Alpha chapter on the SMU campus following unexplained “health and safety” issues, according to The Dallas Morning News. They, too, can return in 2021.
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