Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Conduct Update: Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

On April 20, 2015, a disciplinary conference was held to adjudicate the charges below:

  • Respect for Others D1 (Hazing)
  • Respect for Community A1 (False Information)
  • Respect for Community I1 (Posted Rules and Regulations)

The incident these charges were related to is described below:
It was reported that Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity was involved in unsanctioned activities off campus that constitute hazing.

The chapter was found responsible for the charges and the following sanctions were imposed:

The organization is placed on Disciplinary Deferred Dissolution from April 21, 2015 through December 31, 2015. During this period of time, the organization is on notice that any further violations of the Code of Conduct will result in the dissolution of the organization immediately without further review. Disciplinary Deferred Dissolution may not be imposed for longer than two regular semesters. If this sanction is imposed during a semester, it may be imposed for the remainder of that semester and two additional semesters.

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity is placed on Disciplinary Probation effective January 1, 2016 through May 31, 2016. Disciplinary probation is the conditional continuation of a group or organization for a specified period of time not to exceed four semesters. This status implies that any further violation of this Code of Conduct may result in dissolution, termination, or other authorized sanctions. Other sanctions may be imposed, including limitations on social activities, and additional requirements may be imposed as conditions for reinstatement of recognition in good standing.

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. is required to develop a power point presentation outlining Kappa Alpha Psi's recruitment and intake process that can be used with Dean of Students and other University Staff. It is to be completed by November 1, 2015.

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. is required to work with the OFSA to develop and execute a program on hidden harms and hazing. It is to be completed by February 1, 2016.

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. is required to develop a transparent explanation of the organization's
recruitment and intake process that can be shared with potential members and used by other organizations as a template for their own processes. It is to be completed by October 1, 2015.

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.is required to have all activities related to new member education
approved by the OFSA at least 2 weeks in advance.

Rationale for Findings 
During the hearing, the chapter representative of Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc. took responsibility for charges 2 and 3 and the evidence provided confirmed that assertion. Regarding the hazing charge, it became clear during the hearing that there was little differentiation between recruitment and intake (new member education) during the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters and that at least one potential new member believed that the activities that were going on during January of 2014 were a requirement for membership. These activities included shoveling show, cleaning members houses, and similar acts of personal servitude. The perception of the time commitment was significant enough that new members felt overwhelmed and unable to meet those requirements.

Rationale for Sanctions:
The Lehigh University Code of Conduct calls for dissolution in cases of hazing that "...cause actual
emotional distress (or creating a situation in which emotional distress is likely to occur,". This case
clearly meets those requirements. The members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. were not intentionally malicious in this case, but their lack of planning, communication, and empathy towards
new members created a situation in which any new member would experience significant emotional
distress. With that in mind the sanction of dissolution is deferred and assuming that Kappa Alpha Psi
Fraternity, Inc. learns from this incident, the organization can continue to provide a positive opportunity for men at Lehigh University.