AUSTIN, Texas—Lambda Phi Epsilon’s status as a registered student organization at The University of Texas at Austin has been canceled until Dec. 19, 2011 because of hazing, Teresa Graham Brett, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, announced today (Dec. 20).
“The cancellation of a group’s registration is the most severe penalty that can be levied against a registered organization,” Brett said.
There are more than 1,000 registered student organizations at The University of Texas at Austin. At the end of the cancellation, Lambda Phi Epsilon will face an additional one-year suspension and one-year probation, should they register as an organization.
Administrators in the Office of the Dean of Students began an investigation of the organization following the death of Phanta “Jack” Phoummarath, a freshman from Houston, on Dec. 10 in the Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternity house.
“Our investigation included interviews with members of the fraternity,” Brett said. From the information gathered during these interviews, university officials determined the organization’s activities constituted hazing, including the expectation that new members should consume large amounts of liquor at the presentation of new members and new members being required to shave their heads.
During the suspension, Brett said, returning and new members of the fraternity must sign a non-hazing statement. Each member must participate in five hours of community service and three hours of educational programming per semester. The fraternity also must hold and attend a risk management information workshop, approved by the Office of the Dean of Students, that will include information on hazing and alcohol.
The university is continuing to review facts surrounding the case to determine whether there will be referrals made for individual disciplinary action. Federal privacy law prohibits the university from identifying those students or releasing any personally identifiable information about individual penalties. In general, university disciplinary penalties for individuals range from warning probation to permanent expulsion.
“We will continue to educate organizations and individuals about hazing and will continue to penalize both groups and individuals for any violations,” Brett said.
Lambda Phi Epsilon can appeal the decision of the Office of the Dean of Students to the vice president for student affairs, or to a university hearing officer. The deadline for the organization to file notice of an appeal is 10 days after the start of the spring semester.