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UMass fraternity charged with hazing and liquor violations

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UMass fraternity charged with hazing and liquor violations

Pi Kappa Alpha is located on the corner of Fearing Street and North Pleasant Street.

Pi Kappa Alpha is located on the corner of Fearing Street and North Pleasant Street.

Brian Choquet

Pi Kappa Alpha is located on the corner of Fearing Street and North Pleasant Street.

Brian Choquet

Brian Choquet

Pi Kappa Alpha is located on the corner of Fearing Street and North Pleasant Street.

Nicole DeFeudis, Co-Editor in Chief

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AMHERST — A University of Massachusetts fraternity that was suspended by the university last fall now faces charges of violating hazing and liquor laws.

A Hampshire County Grand Jury indicted the Theta Mu chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha, located at 374 North Pleasant St., on two counts of procuring alcohol to minors and two counts of hazing.

The indictments are linked to several incidents that occurred last fall and resulted in the hospitalization of a UMass student for alcohol poisoning, Northwestern District Attorney’s Office Communications Director Mary Carey announced today in a press release.

The unidentified undergraduate student was hospitalized after attending a social event at the fraternity, located on the corner of Fearing Street, UMass spokesperson Mary Dettloff said. The university and district attorney’s office have not released any further information about the incidents.

The fraternity was placed on interim suspension by the university last November, according to UMass spokesperson Ed Blaguszewski. The suspension barred all official social and recruitment activities and continues into this semester, Blaguszewski said in a statement.

“As part of the student conduct process one sanction that will be seriously evaluated is dissolving the university’s recognition of the chapter,” Blaguszewski said. This would permanently strip the local chapter of recognition by the university.

The fraternity will be arraigned in Hampshire Superior Court, Carey said. Each indictment for serving alcohol to a minor could result in a fine of up to $2,000. The fines for alleged hazing could be up to $3,000 each.

The hazing charges allege that the fraternity “engage[d] in conduct or a method of initiation into a student organization which did willfully or recklessly endanger the physical or mental health of any student or other person,” Carey said.

Blaguszewski said the university condemns hazing by fraternities or any registered student organization.

“The behavior by the Theta Mu chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity as alleged in the September 18, 2018 Hampshire County Superior Court indictment is deeply disturbing,” Blaguszewski said in a statement.  

Last September, two other  fraternities, Theta Chi and Phi Sigma Kappa, were placed on interim suspension and interim restriction respectively for potential violations of the Student Code of Conduct.

Phi Sigma Kappa was placed on interim restriction following a late night fight where an 18-year-old Easthampton resident claimed his ear was gnawed off.

Pi Kappa Alpha did not respond to requests for comment.

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UMass fraternity charged with hazing and liquor violations