Fraternity evicted

After a month of investigation, Lambda Chi Alpha (LXA) Fraternity’s international headquarters declared its USF chapter inactive Monday, citing concerns of hazing and alcohol violations.

LXA, one of USF’s largest Greek organizations, has approximately 70 members, many of whom live on campus and are subject to eviction.

According to Florida state statutes and USF’s Interfraternity Council (IFC) bylaws, hazing is defined as “any action or situation, which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with this organization.”

“We got a report three or four weeks ago that there were some potential hazing and alcohol violations in the chapter,” Assistant Dean of Greek Life Megan Vadnais said. “And upon investigation, we determined that those were credible. So we launched an official investigation with the international headquarters. There were significant violations of the Greek alcohol policy. There were violations of the resident services alcohol policy and Lambda Chi international alcohol policy.”

A representative of LXA’s international governing body traveled from Indianapolis to join Vadnais and Vice President of Student Affairs Jason Spratt in the investigation, which ended Dec. 4 with a unanimous vote by LXA’s board of directors to indefinitely suspend its USF chapter.

An open letter sent by John Holloway, director of chapter services of LXA, explained the governing body’s decision.

“The Lambda Chi Alpha chapter and its members have chosen to behave in a manner inconsistent with our brotherhood’s values and ideals, and the current members showed no hope for change,” the letter stated.

Repeated attempts to reach LXA’s international office were unsuccessful.

According to Vadnais – who acted as the designated hearing officer throughout the process – the purpose of the University’s involvement in the investigation was to determine whether the allegations leveled against LXA warranted filing charges.

When LXA chose to shut the chapter down, the University’s investigation began to focus on individual charges rather than the fraternity as a whole.

“There may be individual referrals to (Student) Judicial Services, but that hasn’t been determined yet,” Vadnais said.

Only serious written statements are considered grounds to start an investigation, and anonymous complaints are disregarded, Vadnais said.

This is not the first time that LXA’s USF chapter has been under investigation. The fraternity was already under probation at the time the new allegations were made, according to Vadnais.

“The behavior that was happening in relation to hazing and alcohol was more significantly detrimental than participating in continued philanthropy,” she said.

Members of the fraternity living on campus must vacate LXA’s house in Greek village by 5 p.m on Dec. 16.

According to Vadnais, these students will not be left without options and have two choices when they are forced to move.

“The students will be removed from the house in Greek Village,” she said. “But all of the students that have contracts with Residence Services will have two options: They can continue those contracts in another facility on campus … or they can buy out their contract and move off campus.”

USF’s IFC President Alex Bell said he felt this was an isolated incident that doesn’t reflect the actions or attitudes of USF’s Greek community as a whole. He and Vadnais both expressed hope for the future and a renewed commitment to education and prevention.

“We actually have a vice president in the council whose entire job is risk management,” Bell said. “We’re going to have him form a committee that is going to be nothing but a pro-active committee that handles all things that could happen such as this.”