Duke University suspends fraternities pending hazing investigation

Duke University in Durham, N.C.
Duke University in Durham, N.C. N&O file photo

Duke University has suspended Delta Tau Delta and Pi Kappa Phi fraternities, along with new member activities at Sigma Phi Epsilon, pending a hazing investigation, a Duke spokesperson confirmed Saturday.

“Interim suspension of a student group simply means that the group is prohibited from operating as a recognized Duke student group on Duke’s campus or elsewhere using any Duke identification until the investigation and determination of action to be taken, if any, is completed,” Keith Lawrence, Duke’s executive director of News & Communications, said in an email Saturday.

The university’s student newspaper The Chronicle, first reported the story on Friday. Duke is working with campus police and the fraternities’ national offices to investigate the alleged incidents, The Chronicle reported.

The police department on Saturday said it could not provide any information on the case.

Efforts to reach someone through a listed number for Delta Tau Delta and by email also were unsuccessful Saturday afternoon. Duke fraternities are all located on campus.

Lawrence said the university had no further comment Saturday. He included in his email a link to Duke’s administrative action policy, part of the student code.

It defines hazing, a misdemeanor under state law, as “any action taken or situation created, whether on or off university premises, that is harmful or potentially harmful to an individual’s physical, emotional, or psychological well-being, regardless of an individual’s willingness to participate or its bearing on his/her membership status.”

The university recognizes three levels of hazing. They include activities such as marching in line and wearing inappropriate clothing; sleep deprivation and forced consumption of food and drink, including alcohol; and branding, paddling and compromising sexual situations.

Incidents may be reported to the Office of Student Conduct (919-684-6938) or Duke Police (911 or 919-684-2444). Concerns may be reported confidentially on the university’s Hazing Hotline at 919-684-5766.

Mark Schultz is the deputy metro editor for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. He has been an editor, reporter and photographer in North Carolina for 30 years.