Phi Delta Theta under police investigation for alleged hazing incident

Greek life at Pitt was under modified social probation from January until the beginning of this semester after two hazing- or alcohol-related incidents last year.


Thomas Yang | Assistant Visual Editor

Police are investigating Pitt’s Phi Delta Theta chapter after a Pitt community member reported an alleged hazing incident at off-campus fraternity events last week.

The University of Pittsburgh chapter of fraternity Phi Delta Theta is under police investigation after this weekend, when a Pitt community member reported alleged hazing at off-campus fraternity events last week.

“While we do not have all the details, the Pitt police have started an investigation, and the fraternity in question, Phi Delta Theta, has been placed on interim suspension,” University spokesperson Joe Miksch said in an email.

Phi Delta Theta declined to detail the alleged incident, as did Miksch, who, when asked whether any injuries resulted, cited privacy concerns and the ongoing investigation. Pitt police directed all inquiries to Pitt’s media relations department.

Pitt’s Phi Delta Theta chapter provided The Pitt News with an official statement regarding the incident.

“At this time and while this matter is being investigated it would be inappropriate for us to offer comment. Phi Delta Theta is a values-driven organization; among our highest values is moral rectitude. To that end our Chapter, its leadership and all of our members are working in compliance with the University to ensure all appropriate measures are being taken towards a factual outcome,” it read.

The statement also included a link to Phi Delta Theta’s hazing prevention resources website. A member of the Louisiana State University chapter of Phi Delta Theta died in September 2017 after an alcohol-related hazing incident, prompting the organization to institute new bystander education programs and mandatory new member programming. 10 other chapter members were arrested in October 2017 on charges of hazing, and one of those 10 also faces a felony charge of negligent homicide.

Two Greek life organizations at Pitt were suspended last year for alcohol- or hazing-related incidents — Sigma Chi and Alpha Kappa Alpha.

Sigma Chi was suspended in January after a student was hospitalized due to excessive alcohol consumption. The fraternity will be eligible for reinstatement on Pitt’s campus in the fall of 2022, according to Student Affairs director of marketing and communications Janine Fisher. Following the incident, Pitt placed all Greek organizations on modified social probation, barring them from serving alcohol at social events. Student Affairs also said it would reevaluate the future of Greek life at Pitt.

[Greek life social probation came after student hospitalization]

Following this, Alpha Kappa Alpha was suspended in February after a group of 12 pledges filed a police report in Penn Hills, alleging other members of the organization drove them to a house and hazed them.

[Alpha Kappa Alpha suspended, police investigating alleged hazing]

Dean Kenyon Bonner lifted the probation at the beginning of the fall 2018 semester after Greek life student leaders and University officials developed an action plan that he felt adequately addressed the changes that needed to be made.

“We could play around with this safety blanket for another year, another semester, another couple of months, but that’s all it is,” Bonner said at the Aug. 30 meeting. “At some point, you’re all adults, you’re all leaders, you’re all responsible people — and I think reasonable people — and you have a responsibility to manage your organizations.”

[Read: Dean lifts ban on Greek life]

The final action plan included measures to address alcohol abuse, sexual assault, hazing and other Greek-life-specific issues. Among the measures was a new way for affected students to anonymously report hazing.

As part of the action plan, Pitt also held a hazing prevention training Sept. 9, which Greek life chairs responsible for recruitment, intake and new member education were expected to attend. Phi Delta Theta has not yet confirmed whether its appropriate chairs attended the hazing prevention training.

Correction: A previous version of this article said Pitt Greek life organization Sigma Chi was indefinitely suspended. Sigma Chi will be eligible for reinstatement in the fall of 2022. 

This story was first published Oct. 3 at 11:28 p.m. It will be updated as more information becomes available.