The University of Louisville and International Headquarters of Tau Kappa Epsilon are now involved in a joint investigation. Hazing allegations regarding pledges and active members were reported in late February of this year.
“There are about 106 members in the TKE fraternity at U of L, with all active members involved in the allegations. Their time on campus ranges between their first semester through four years,” said a TKE member who asked that his name not be used.
“Essentially, what happened was pledge activity has been discontinued for the time being, and the reason for that is because we have what you call red binders, and you’re not supposed to carry them at all. However pledges were forced to carry the binders wherever they went and they were hidden in their backpacks. That was one of the major allegations because that was put to a stop at the beginning of the year. The other allegation was that there was severe hazing going on, and it wasn’t really physical hazing but more mental.”
Because a handful of members rather than the entire fraternity was allegedly forced to carry the binders, the act was considered hazing. If one of the pledges was found without a binder by one of the active brothers, which according to Assistant Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Brooke Kingsley Isbell was against policy, he would be scolded.
“In our current investigation we’ve had no reports of physical harm or endangerment of students and their suspension is interim until the investigation is finished,” said Isbell.
When asked to define the allegations of mental hazing, Isbell said that the investigation was still ongoing. Interfraternity Council President Raymond White declined to comment on the matter.
The future of the Tau Kappa Epsilon chapter at U of L is uncertain. But if the allegations are proven true, TKE could face further suspensions and penalties.
“They have a long road ahead,” said the member of TKE who wished to remain anonymous.”They’ve formed a fairly bad reputation, as they’ve almost been kicked out of the REC Center and multiple other places including restaurants due to their recklessness. So they’ve got a lot of tension going on. It’ll be hard to make amends, and if they do it could take years.”
Founded on Jan. 10, 1899 at Illinois Wesleyan University, the fraternity includes around 260 chapters located in the U.S. and Canada including U of L’s. The TKE motto involves personal growth as well as mental and moral development for life.
Photo by Rachel Essa / The Louisville Cardinal