The Daily Californian Online

Fraternity May Contest Recent Loss Of Affiliation

By Julie Strack
Contributing Writer
Monday, March 9, 2009
Category: News > University > Student Life

Delta Kappa Epsilon may sue the University of California after the UC Berkeley chapter lost campus affiliation due to hazing allegations.

The fraternity Delta Kappa Epsilon is considering suing the University of California over the judicial process that led to the UC Berkeley chapter's loss of campus affiliation.

A campus judicial panel found the chapter responsible for multiple violations of the Code of Student Conduct, including alcohol, hazing and fire safety misconduct after a Dec. 18 hearing. The campus rescinded its affiliation with the chapter two weeks ago.

John Howard, a lawyer for the fraternity, said it will likely sue because the judicial process was unjust and campus officials did not give the fraternity enough time to prepare for the hearing.

"We only had a few days during the holiday season, during finals, (to prepare)," Howard said. "We needed more time for things like evidence gathering, and we made a request (for additional time) that no reasonable person would have refused."

Campus officials said the hearing was conducted in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Code of Student Conduct and that the campus notifies students involved in a hearing 10 days before it occurs.

Officials declined to comment on specifics of the case.

Chapter president Gregg Irving said legal action would be unfavorably received by the chapter's members.

"It would not be a popular decision if (fraternity headquarters) decided to sue, but it's not really up to us," Irving said. "It's not worth it. What would be the gain?"

Irving and other members said they do not think the loss of campus affiliation will weaken the chapter. Delta Kappa Epsilon's national body and alumni association continue to support the chapter, which allows it to remain in the chapter house and seek new members.

The chapter can petition to become reaffiliated with the campus in four years.

Due to miscommunications within the fraternity, Howard was not available for the hearing, Irving said. Therefore, fraternity officials told chapter members not to attend, and the hearing was held without fraternity members present.

After the campus found the chapter responsible for student conduct violations, the chapter appealed its decision on Feb. 3. The appeal was rejected.

In addition to the lack of time to prepare, the appeal said the fraternity lacked "effective advice of counsel" and that the campus admitted "improper and hysterical allegations as findings of fact."

Howard declined to comment on the details of the appeal.

Fraternity officials, including Executive Director David Easlick, said last week that the university accused chapter members of having sex with goats.

Campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore denied this statement, but said there was an allegation of psychological hazing in which chapter members told pledges that sex with a goat was required for membership.

The chapter was found responsible for multiple student conduct violations stemming from four incidents during the fall and spring semesters of 2008. The fraternity already faced disciplinary sanctions after a 2007 incident.

Howard said he will discuss the potential lawsuit with fraternity officials this week.

He added that he is confident the fraternity would win the suit.

"We've sued other (UC) campuses and won," he said. "I think the court will decide in our favor."

Leah Greenbaum of The Daily

Californian contributed to this report.

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