Thursday, January 20, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 77

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TKE investigated for hazing, theft reports

Allegations prompt formal University inquiry

By Jim Parsons
Daily Cougar Staff

The University has opened a formal investigation of alleged incidents of hazing, alcohol and theft within the UH chapter of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.

The investigation, being conducted by the Dean of Students' office and the Department of Campus Activities, was begun in early December in response to reports that TKE members had violated student life policies during the Summer and Fall 1999 semesters.

Henri Chen/The Daily Cougar

Tau Kappa Epsilon members pose around their letters Wednesday afternoon. The fraternity is under University investigation for alleged incidents of hazing, theft and alcohol policy violation.

"We are concerned about what we've heard from these reports, so we want to investigate it, but at the same time we want to give this fraternity a fair opportunity to respond," Assistant Dean of Students Zack Coapland said.

Coapland declined to give specific reports of violations, but he said alleged violations of Interfraternity Council policies were not a part of the current investigation.

TKE was frequently in the news last semester when it was disciplined for incidents of alcohol policy violation and violation of IFC sanctions during the Spring and Summer 1999 semesters. What one official referred to as a "chess game" between the fraternity and the Council ended with TKE being removed from the IFC in October.

The University investigation now under way is two-pronged: the Dean of Students' office will investigate possible incidents of hazing, theft and alcohol violations, while Campus Activities will conduct an audit of TKE's registration as a student organization.

"We're basically doing an audit of their registration to ensure they are in compliance," Kathy Anzivino, director of Campus Activities and Recreation said. Anzivino said the audit will examine the TKE's registration, constitution, roster and finances to ensure the group is in compliance with Campus Activities regulations.

"We'll review what we have on file and what they're doing and ask them to make corrections as needed," Anzivino said. She said Wednesday afternoon that she expects to present the findings of the audit to the Dean of Students soon.

Although Coapland gave no specific timeline for the investigation, he said officials wanted to move "as quickly and as efficiently as possible so we can put this matter to rest and allow the chapter to respond to any charges, if they come up."

Should the investigation find sufficient evidence of University policy violations, that evidence will be forwarded to the University Hearing Board. The group would then have the choice of a judicial board or an administrative hearing.

If found guilty, the organization could have its registration as a student organization revoked. The status of the lease TKE holds on its house at 5069 Calhoun, which is owned by the University, could also be in jeopardy.

Any charges against individuals would be reported to the UH Police Department, which could then pursue prosecution through the Harris County district attorney's office, Anzivino said.

The Houston Police Department is also conducting an investigation into the mid-September 1999 theft of statues from two Heights-area churches, All Saints' and St. Anne's. The thefts were apparently intended as retaliation against St. Thomas High School, sources said.

Evidence in that investigation appears to point to UH's TKE chapter, HPD Officer Mark Rayne said. It is unclear whether the HPD investigation is linked with UH's.

Attorney Michael Valentine, who said he was representing the fraternity last semester, did not return The Daily Cougar's phone calls Wednesday.

Anyone with information that might help the investigations should call the Dean of Students' office at (713) 743-5470.

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