Cornell suspended the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity on March 3rd, making it the third fraternity placed on interim suspension in just over a month.

Adrian Boteanu / Sun Staff Photographer

Cornell suspended the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity on March 3rd, making it the third fraternity placed on interim suspension in just over a month.

May 10, 2017

Two Fraternities Placed on Yearlong Probation After Suspensions

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Cornell placed Pi Kappa Alpha — also known as PIKE — and Kappa Alpha Psi on yearlong probations Wednesday after keeping the fraternities on interim suspension since March 3 and April 17, respectively.

Pi Kappa Alpha was placed on probation “as a result of incidents determined to include hazing and alcohol consumption,” while Kappa Alpha Psi was placed on probation “as a result of incidents determined to include causing a disturbance and failure to respect health and safety,” Joseph A. Burke, executive director of campus and community engagement, wrote in two separate statements posted online Wednesday.

In all other announcements of fraternity sanctions this semester, Burke specifically identified hazing and alcohol consumption as reasons for the sanction. But those two infractions make no clear appearance in the Kappa Alpha Psi statement.

During its year of probation, Pi Kappa Alpha will have to complete a “comprehensive plan for improvement” that it created and the University approved, Burke’s statement said.

Parts of the plan include “anti-hazing education, a membership review, redeveloping components of the new member process, reaffirming their commitment to a live-in advisor, and increased oversight at social events.”

Kappa Alpha Psi will be required to meet regularly with leaders in the Multicultural Greek Letter Council “to make sure they are fulfilling the expectations of membership for MGLC chapters.”

If the fraternities fail to adhere to University rules during the probation period, “chapter recognition will be reconsidered,” Burke said in both statements.

The Pi Kappa Alpha chapter has come into trouble with the University before. In 2010, the University withdrew its recognition of Pi Kappa Alpha “due to [the chapter’s] history of alcohol and hazing-related infractions over several years, which culminated in a Jan. 22, 2010, incident involving underage and high-risk drinking,” The Sun previously reported.

The University’s sanction was supposed to last four years, but it provisionally reinstated the fraternity in January 2013 after it submitted another “plan.”

The fraternity is not the first organization to be punished for “alcohol and hazing-related infractions” this semester. Two weeks ago, the University “permanently dismissed” Cornell’s oldest all-male a cappella group Cayuga’s Waiters for hazing activities.

The decision to ban the 67-year-old, all-male group came after the University Review Board overturned a hearing board decision that gave a lighter sanction.

The University’s two Wednesday announcements leave only one Greek group’s interim suspension in the air: Alpha Xi Delta sorority, the first sorority to be given an interim suspension in five years. The University suspended the sorority on March 30 for an unidentified “serious violation of the University Recognition Policy,” The Sun previously reported.

“Interim suspension is used when details of a credible report compel the university to cease activities of the organization for the safety of the members, those joining or guests,” Burke explained in his announcement of the sorority’s interim suspension.

The four fraternities given interim suspensions this semester now are either on “probationary recognition,” including Kappa Alpha Psi and Pi Kappa Alpha, or on “provisional recognition status,” including Sigma Phi Epsilon and Lambda Chi Alpha.

The latter sanction is the more severe: “provisional recognition status” lasts for “no less than one year” and includes a ban on recruitment in the fall 2017 semester. “Probationary recognition” lasts exactly for one year and does not include a fall 2017 recruitment ban, according to Burke’s statements.


  • Dan ’14

    This appears to be an asymmetrical application of justice. How is PIKE’s hazing violation any less serious than the Waiters’? The answer is, “we can’t really know for sure”, because Cornell inexplicably published details of the Waiters’ charges, while conspicuously omitting them of PIKE’s.

    The Waiters were around for 68 years and had a SINGLE black mark end their long run as a Cornell tradition. PIKE already screwed up their first chance, and now they screw up their second chance just four years after their reinstatement?!?!?!

    • CU ’13

      Probably because Pike got in trouble for providing alcohol to a pledge who blacked out and told his RA, not put icy hot on kids’ balls?

  • D. Westoby

    And the hits just keep on coming. Please, will someone in the administration grow a pair, and simply wave bye-bye to the Greek system generally? I know you fear impacts on donations from parents of frat brats, and I’m sure you’re aware that closing frats would exacerbate the housing problem you’ve created for yourself, but sheesh — enough already.

    • Concerned Student

      Clearly written by some angry unpopular teen that thinks that Cornell should head towards the boring and unattractive demise that this administration already wants it to. There’s a reason 30% of the student body continues to join Greek Life, and it’s for the benefits of brotherhood and sisterhood, which go far beyond just drinking. It’s about joining an organization that’s bigger than yourself, and if there’s some induction process every sensitive teen out there gets personally offended and starts throwing a fit. i don’t know what college has become these days, and I go here. I talk to my parents who both went to Cornell, both liberal like me, but they are just confused with this new wave of oversensitivity. Let the fraternities do what they want if they’re not harming people. Back off.

      • How Silly

        “Let the fraternities do what they want if they’re not harming people.”

        The whole purpose of the anti-hazing campaign is because of the fact that hazing hurts people. If your idea of “boring and unattractive” is safe and inclusive, you may just be an angsty young college student who needs to grow up and have children.

      • Keep your heads in the sand

        Ummm..”let the faternitities do what they want”? Have you had your head buried in the sand? Read about the current case of Timothy Piazza at Penn State- forced to drink during pledging as usual, fell down a flight of stairs and fractured his skull and ruptured his spleen- left for dead for 12 hours before medical help was called while his future “brothers” through water on his face and put a backpack behind him to prop him in a position on the floor as he bled internally. Yes darling, let them do what they want. READ the Timothy piazza case- maybe you’ll wake up and see reality.

        • Keep your heads in the sand

          Threw not through.. sorry for typo.( did not proofread)

  • ockie

    This, the underbelly, the”correct” Cornell Daily Sun version of campus morality, namely, anti sex, drugs and rock and roll, cowering in fear of political correct politics.

    The “administration” is little else than the high school principal’s office, with a horny, middle-aged, bespectacled secretary with a perm in the outer office.

    Have fun while you can. Death and taxes are just around the corner.

  • Old Man McCloud

    Don’t you turkeys ever LEARN?? How did you get into Cornell with only very partially developed frontal lobes? I keep seeing this sloppy hazing on national news and saying to myself “I certainly hope the Greeks on the Hill will know better than this!”, but no, perhaps not. As long ago as 1961 my brothers had the sense to stay away from dangerous and dehumanizing activities – well, perhaps really dangerous ones anyway. No one got injured or their feelings hurt. Now in this day and age, WE ALL KNOW one can’t say JACK or roll your eyes without offending someone! Verdad??

    So keep your eyes and ears open!! LEARN from Penn State’s mistake. Learn from the other houses on the Hill. If you don’t, you’ll see the inside of a court room or a jail. (Ever been there? Try it some time.) Your family who sacrificed hard to get you to CU will be dishonored.

    If you see activities that are leading to your disgrace: LEAVE! JUST LEAVE! If the group you’re trying to associate with doesn’t have your values, doesn’t act well, JUST LEAVE! WALK AWAY– AND YOU DONT HAVE TO GIVE A REASON!! You’ll be much better off and eventuially glad you did. Don’t wait for something terrible to happen. They’re not worth it!

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  • Concerned alumnus

    A big problem is that the Sun (and some administrators) treat fraternities as static organizations, when the membership is dynamic. Because of the decision to ban Cayuga’s Waiters current undergraduates who want to join that a cappella group will not have the benefit of doing so. Instead of making Cayuga’s Waiters hazing-free, it used a remedy that completely ended the organization. That is a sad penalty imposed on future generations of Cornell students.

    With these fraternities, there was misconduct by members in the past, but any sanction or remedy is being imposed on future members. The goal here should be to insure that the entire Greek system operates in a safe and hazing-free manner. The students who violated the rules will have long graduated and long-forgot the entire episode by the time that these sanctions expire.

  • Charles Swensen

    I pledged in the 70 s and found it no big deal. We were not forced to drink and even had some who drank little or nothing. On the other hand, most drank and sometimes to excess. Drinking was legal over 18 at that time. Now (according to my son who is a current student) hazing has been expanded to include wearing a pledge pin in public. How is that hazing? If you are ashamed to be joining an organization you can always quit. Banning all ordeals reduces the value of initiation. As anyone who has teenagers rapidly learns; something that has cost them nothing holds little value; they’ll take a lot better care of a cell phone that they had to pay for.