By: Evan Myers, Assisant News Editor
Monday, Jan. 14 Furman’s administration notified students that, after careful deliberation, the decision had been made to suspend Tau Kappa Epsilon’s Gamma Mu chapter for at least four years as a result of “repeated and significant conduct violations including hazing, providing minors with alcohol, and risk management violations.”
TKE was ordered to cease all organizational activity, which Furman defines as any activity a reasonable person would associate with the suspended chapter. Finally, the administration’s email concluded that “these men are still part of our community and should be treated as such.” In short, Furman’s administration stated, our decision is final, TKE’s Furman chapter is suspended, and each student at Furman — regardless of Greek affiliation — should be treated with respect by his/her professors, peers and community.
Details concerning TKE’s suspension are lacking. Moreover, controversy still swirls with respect to who was responsible for tampering with drinks at a TKE party in September. A joint investigation by University Police and the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office found no evidence that any member of TKE at Furman conducted such acts, but questions remain with respect to what happened that night. In such a tense, hazy environment, TKE’s official response has been, “no comment.” According to TKE leadership, they have met privately with the administration to express their concerns and at this point would like to maintain the relationship they have with the administration.
Unofficially, however, some TKE members have made comments with respect to their fraternity’s suspension from campus. Late Tuesday night, a female sophomore student was approached and verbally harassed by a member of TKE. According to the student, this TKE member was suspicious that she provided the University information about the chapter’s activities and blamed her for their suspension. These actions were condemned and the university has made it clear that any further harassment would be considered retaliation. Additionally, a mutual “no contact” order has been issued between the victim of this verbal harassment and certain members of TKE.
Finally, it has been established that the female student had nothing to do with the investigation of TKE’s misconduct and neither brought forward information initially or corroborated information after investigations were opened.
In an interview, the victim of this verbal harassment expressed that “a fundamental flaw in fraternity culture on campus is that fraternities will always protect themselves before accepting responsibility for their wrongdoing.” In response, a TKE brother clarifies, “the party that initially got us suspended… occurred on the night of September 22, 2018.” TKE’s risk management contacted girls who felt sick, and early the next morning — upon finding out that four girls were in the hospital — Furman’s TKE chapter immediately contacted Furman University and TKE headquarters, informing them that their ‘dry’ party was wet, turning over their over capacity guest list and other incriminating information in order to assist in the investigative process.
After being verbally harassed by a member of TKE, however, this female student expressed that such actions should be taken seriously because they “perpetuate a cycle in which students don’t feel comfortable to bring forward legitimate concerns to the administration because they feel like their name will be dragged through the mud and disparaged.” TKE’s chapter will not be returning to campus until at least 2023.