KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A long-standing fraternity on The University of Tennessee’s campus is closing after multiple incidents of hazing.
On Tuesday morning, University of Tennessee officials confirmed Lambda Chi Alpha has been told to close by their national headquarters. Current members have until March 6 to move out of the fraternity’s house and find new housing.
“The Board of Directors took this action in response to multiple operational and new member incidents over a three year period that violated the oaths and laws of our fraternity,” said Nick Zuniga, Director of Chapter Services for the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.
Members of other fraternities on campus say they feel for the brothers of Lambda Chi. “I know that must be hard to lose their house, not be on the row anymore, and not be considered an active fraternity,” said sophomore Peyton Sosebee.
“Obviously all of us have put in our support and we wished there could’ve been something, we as alumni, could have done to help the situation,” said alum Ben Connor.
The Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity Board of Directors voted to suspend the Epsilon Omicron chapter effective February 22. In a statement, Lambda Chi Alpha said Lambda Chi Alpha brothers at the University of Tennessee may not represent the fraternity, display emblems or symbols, or gather in the name of the fraternity.
“If there is anything that was done, that needs to be punished, I hope that the individuals are punished. But I hope the entire fraternity system in general and Lambda Chi as a whole isn’t seen with a black eye,” said Connor.
The fraternity, which currently has 80 undergraduate members, will be closed for a minimum of five years. “Lambda Chi Alpha has a zero tolerance policy in regard to hazing and this closure imposes the appropriate penalty given the circumstances,” said Zuniga.
Students who used to be in Greek life say this closure is devastating to the entire Greek community.
“There’s a difference between tradition and crossing that line and getting into stuff that should’ve never happened and stuff that shouldn’t happen,” said junior Haley Burton.
Lambda Chi Alpha was put on interim suspension in fall 2013 for hazing. Investigators said pledges may have been forced to perform a militaristic exercise regimen. UT police reports outline that one of the students was hit and kicked needing 17 stitches in his chin.
The university says once the fraternity house is vacant the local housing corporation will review options for leasing to another student group.
According to the chapter’s website, Lambda Chi Alpha has been on campus since March 20, 1932. To date, the fraternity says they’ve initiated close to 2,400 brothers and is one of the largest fraternities at UT.