This item originally appeared in the January 21, 2005 issue of The Tech Talk.
By JULIE MILLER
and RINDY METCALF
Associate managing editor
Members of Kappa Alpha fraternity are under criminal investigation for hazing after a former pledge alerted authorities about an incident that allegedly occurred Dec. 1.
James "Andy" Cummings, a junior business administration major, claimed he and other pledges were required to strip down to their boxer shorts and were sprayed with cold water.
"The university is conducting its own investigation with extensive interviews with active former pledges," Dr. Jim King, vice president for student affairs, said.
"I haven't heard of any violence involved, but we don't condone any type of hazing," King said.
Clayton Flurry, a senior business management and entrepreneurship major, was issued the summons for hazing.
Described in the student handbook, hazing is "any reckless or intentional action taken or any situation created which produces mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment or ridicule."
Andy Cummings is the son of District 8 Police Juror Brad Cummings of Bossier City, and brother of KA fraternity member Will Cummings.
Gary Stokely, faculty adviser for KA and associate professor of social sciences, said, "Often times, families get more upset than kids. Will [Andy's brother] is in a tough spot because the president and he are best friends.
He is probably torn between [Flurry] and his parents."
Stokely said Andy Cummings was not going to be initiated because of problems in his pledgeship.
The fraternity will interview those mentioned in the accusations and will make recommendations to the Student Organization Board, Kappa Alpha national headquarters and the university, Stokely said.
"I don't know how it's all going to work out, but the important thing to understand is that it was nothing violent," Stokely said.
"No one was injured. No one was forced to drink alcohol like in the LSU death several years ago. At least we're not facing those charges."
Galen Rockett, the director of judicial affairs, said the KAs have voluntarily placed themselves on suspension until the Student Organization Committee meets to decide the fraternity's fate Feb. 2.
The committee will consist of a faculty or staff member appointed by King, a faculty senate representative, the Interfraternity Council president, the Panhellenic President and the SGA president.
A university staff member appointed by the vice president for student affairs, the chief of university police, the IFC adviser, the Panhellenic adviser, the director of multicultural affairs and the Union Board president will also make up the Student Organization Committee.
"Once the committee's decision is in place, we'll work with the sorority and fraternity systems to ensure that there are no more hazing issues," Rockett said.
Administrators continue to try to resolve the issue and facilitate the process of the investigation.
Dee Dee Anderson, the dean of student affairs, said as the IFC adviser she has helped the KAs by assisting them with making reports and gathering information about the investigation.
"We have had a few meetings about what happened," Anderson said. "We are just trying to make something positive out of this and learn from our mistakes."
Anderson also said only a small group within the fraternity has been accused of hazing, and it is not characteristic of the KAs.
She said she encourages all organizations to review their new member programs, and make sure everyone in the group knows what hazing is.
King said if the fraternity is found guilty of hazing, the minimum punishment will be educational seminars and workshops, in which chapter members will have to attend.
The maximum would be removal of the fraternity from the IFC.
"This organization has not had any violations we've been aware of," King said.
"I think it's important that all those concerned know we have very clear guidelines. We are conducting a thorough investigation which is all we can do at this point."