Dan McKechnie/the Gateway

U of C fraternities react to U of A hazing

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Revelations regarding severe hazing at a University of Alberta fraternity have called the bonds of brotherhood into question.

U of A's campus paper The Gateway obtained video footage of sleep-deprived pledges for the school's chapter of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity eating their own vomit and being locked in a small, urine-soaked plywood box.

After the article was published on Oct. 21, two additional sources contacted The Gateway to confirm the allegations. They said the pledges were given almost no water over the course of the weekend. Dehydration and loud, repetitive music frequently caused pledges to hallucinate.

Both sources said they tried to leave the initiation but were not allowed.

There are two traditional Greek fraternities and one business club at the University of Calgary. There is no DKE, or Deke, fraternity in Calgary.

Although no hazing allegations were previously reported in Alberta, president of the U of C Mu-Lambda chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity Dean Zanutig said the Edmonton incident could affect the perception of U of C fraternities.

"The Dekes have brought a lot of negative light on the Greek organizations on campus, throughout Alberta and probably across Canada," said Zanutig.

Zanutig said there hasn't been much interest from the public about the fraternity until now.

"A lot of people are interested in us, want to know how we function and if we do something similar," said Zanutig. "The public shouldn't assume that all Greek organizations act like Deke. The Deke [hazing] went against the values and the rules of pretty much every Greek organization."

Zanutig said there is no hazing during Mu-Lambda initiation.

"It's more an idea of bonding," said Zanutig. "I was initiated the same way someone 25 years ago was initiated when this chapter was opened, the same way someone 130 years ago was initiated."

Every Greek organization has a code of conduct book. The guidelines towards hazing are usually drawn out within the first section.

The U of A hazing incidents were in direct violation of the zero-tolerance policy of DKE International, the fraternity's governing organization.

The frat had its status as a student group suspended by the school Oct. 28.

Dean of students Frank Robinson said the suspension is effective immediately and removes privileges, such as space and equipment bookings, that come as a result of being a student group.

The following day the Interfraternity Council sent out a press release announcing the suspension of DKE's membership until further notice.

Two investigations into the incident are underway -- one by the university and the other by DKE International.

The school investigation could result in a possible letter of reprimand or a permanent retraction of DKE's student group status.

Ryan Foulkes, president of the Omega Chi chapter of the U of C's Alpha Kappa Psi fraternity, was "surprised and disgusted" by the news.

"I think this doesn't help the image that many fraternities have been trying to get out of these past 20 years of being nothing more than a hazing boys club full of sick-headed fools," said Foulkes. "This is certainly a set back from the re-imaging many of the fraternities were trying to go through and I think it is going to take awhile before they are able to recover from it."

The Omega Chi is a professional business fraternity with no initiation rituals.

"There are always a couple chapters in any fraternity that do what they can to lower the bar," said Zanutig.

Zanutig said it will take considerable charitable contributions to overcome the current negative connotation the public associates with fraternities.

According to Zanutig, the Mu-Lambda chapter has raised $1,400 for charity and has worked over 100 service hours since the beginning of August. They hope to raise more than $6,000 this year.

"We're a social organization but we're still very responsible to the community," he explained.