The Phi Delta Theta chapter at the University of Central Florida is under investigation and temporarily suspended as it faces hazing allegations, according to the University of Central Florida.
UCF received an email on the university’s Hazing Hotline on Jan. 5. The report, which UCF partially released on Monday, discussed concerns for a freshman who rushed the fraternity.
“After weeks of ‘pledging’ Phi Delta Theta he has come to seek aid from me as he says it has been one of the most psychologically harming experiences he has ever experienced,” the annonymous source wrote in the email. “It has taken a toll on him both mentally and physically. On top of that his grades have dropped due to this. He simply doesn’t seem the same and I need action to be taken."
The email called for UCF to take action before that upcoming Saturday, Jan. 7, since it was the start of the fraternity’s ‘hell week’, yet UCF did not acknowledge it until Jan. 20. According to the fraternity’s Facebook page, they hosted official rush events on Jan. 10, 11, 16 and 17.
“The chapter is cooperating with university officials, and local alumni with the investigation,” Director of Chapter Services at Phi Delta Theta Headquarters Michael Wahba said in an email statement. “Any violations of university or fraternity policy will be addressed and individuals who are found responsible, will be held accountable.”
Under their temporary suspension which is pending the outcome of their disciplinary case, the chapter is prohibited “from participating in, on or off campus fundraisers, socials, mixers, intramural competitions, receptions, service projects, chapter meetings and/or conferences,” according to a letter addressed to the chapter from UCF.
"We have faced similar accusations in the past that turned out to be false and defamatory; however, we take all allegations seriously as the safety of our chapter, its members and the external community as a whole is our main priority,” Gary Burns, president of the UCF Phi Delta Theta chapter, said in an email statement to Knightly News. “We are working with UCF to obtain the specific allegations so we can investigate as thoroughly as possible.”
The fraternity, which was founded in 1848, according to their Facebook page, claims “UCF Phi Delt offers the TRUE full college experience and absolutely NO HAZING.”
“I have already started my own internal investigation with the limited information regarding these allegations that I have received from UCF,” Burns said in an email statement. “So far I have found nothing to support any validity in the allegations. We will continue to work diligently with UCF officials, alumni and our general headquarters in an effort to solve this investigation."
Originally published Feb. 10