NC State temporarily bans alcohol at most fraternity events

AP News
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Posted: Mar 20, 2015 6:39 PM
NC State temporarily bans alcohol at most fraternity events

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina State University became the latest school to crack down on its fraternities by banning alcohol at events for most of the organizations, a move that came after a racially offensive pledge book was discovered and a separate sexual assault investigation launched.

A news release Friday from university spokesman Fred Hartman said the school worked with the Interfraternity Council to temporarily suspend social events that involve alcohol for more than 20 fraternities. The ban doesn't apply to historically black Greek organizations, or the Multicultural Greek Council.

The Pi Kappa Phi chapter was suspended after derogatory comments attributed to members in a notebook were found at a restaurant near campus. Separately, new details about a drug paraphernalia seizure surfaced in a search warrant related to a sexual assault allegation at Alpha Tau Omega, which was suspended earlier this month.

The details came out not long after shocking behavior at the University of Oklahoma, Penn State and other schools put fraternities in the spotlight.

West Virginia banned Greek social and pledging activities for several months after alcohol-related problems in the fall, and Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, which helped inspire "Animal House," recently banned hard liquor.

In Raleigh, television station WRAL posted photos of a notebook attributed to Pi Kappa Phi brothers. The notebook included sexist and racially insensitive comments.

One comment said: "If she's hot enough, she doesn't need a pulse." Another said: "Man, that tree is so perfect for a lynching."

The school said it received "an apparent pledge book" on Friday and was investigating. Some fraternities make new members keep notebooks with information about brothers during the initiation process.

"The written comments and quotes reported earlier this evening are offensive and unacceptable," Pi Kappa Phi Chief Executive Officer Mark E. Timmes said.

The book was turned in by student Katie Perry, who said she found it while working at the restaurant.

"The contents were horrible," she said in short interview with The Associated Press on her front stoop. "I wanted to make sure everybody knew this was going on so it could be corrected. ... Frats are looked up to, but this is what they are doing."

She said she's received mixed reactions from other students, mostly through Facebook. She alerted the university to one student's negative comment and told Raleigh police that someone posted her address online, but she didn't consider any of the messages physical threats.

In announcing the alcohol crackdown, N.C. State said the school also plans training on diversity for chapters and other measures to increase accountability.

In the Alpha Tau Omega investigation, a woman called police March 1 to say that she was sexually assaulted at the fraternity house. She also told officers that drugs including cocaine, ecstasy and prescription pills were being sold out of the house.

Campus police Sgt. J.P. Dye wrote in a warrant that he smelled marijuana from 20 feet away when he went to search the house, and he seized drug paraphernalia, a scale and white powder in a small bag. No one was at the house at the time.

Wynn Smiley, Alpha Tau Omega's national chief executive officer, said in an interview that the fraternity kicked out a pledge who had white powder and other drug paraphernalia in his room.

The student had been associated with the organization for less than a month, Smiley said.

He said the national organization conducted its own investigation with a lawyer and other alumni advisers, and the organization believes the woman was exaggerating about drugs being sold and the level of drug activity.

"It just didn't line up with what we were finding out," he said.

He also questioned her credibility on the sexual assault allegation.

Kayle Graham, a junior psychology major at N.C. State, said racism and sexism among students is sad because the younger generation's attitude indicates where the country is heading.

"It's unfortunate that at a college level, students aren't as mature and socially aware as one would like them to be," she said.