COLUMBIA, Mo. - According to sources close to the hazing incident that occurred in Kappa Alpha Order Fraternity (KA) in September, the University of Missouri has officially withdrawn KA's recognition as a fraternity on campus for five years.
This "stop of recognition" means that KA will no longer be sanctioned by the university, will not have access to university facilities and will no longer be participating in Greek Life activities or events.
“We expect all of our student organizations to uphold our values of Respect, Responsibility, Discovery and Excellence,” said Cathy Scroggs, vice chancellor for Student Affairs. “We work hard with any organization that violates our policies to educate them on making better decisions. We have worked with this organization in the past, and I hope that they will take the necessary steps to improve in the future. The safety of our campus is our No. 1 priority; anytime that safety is compromised, we must take appropriate measures.”
MU suspended Kappa Alpha to investigate a hazing incident involving an 18-year-old male who had been drinking to the point of being taken in an ambulance to a local hospital. His blood alcohol content was .45, five times the legal limit to drive. He had three breaths per minute and a cold touch to his skin. University spokesman Christian Basi could not confirm whether the seven violations it found KA responsible for were tied to that incident.
ABC 17 News reached out to the Kappa Alpha national organization, and received the following response from Jesse Lyons, assistant executive director of advancement:
"Kappa Alpha Order has a 125-year history with the University of Missouri. We are disappointed at the ultimate decision by the university. The chapter and the national organization were prepared to educate our members on making better decisions, work with Mizzou as in the past, and take necessary steps to improve in the future.
During the course of this investigation, our national administrative office hired an independent investigator. We determined the specific hazing allegations related to the temporary suspension to be false. However, our investigation did find unrelated previous risk management violations, including hazing and alcohol misuse, that must be addressed.
Through our review and investigation, we identified a core group of men in our chapter with whom we could have moved forward. Our proposed sanctions included individual and chapter discipline, proven and intense culture change education for members, the separation of some chapter membership, enhanced alumni involvement, and ongoing progress monitoring.
At this time, our chapter remains under the previously issued temporary suspension from our national administrative office. This suspension will remain in effect until local alumni and national leaders can determine the best course of action for our members, the chapter, and the national organization.”
Kappa Alpha can remain near campus. While it is not a recognized student group, the national organization owns the house at University and College. Members can still live there, and the group is no longer bound by the university oversight other Greek groups are.
Lynn Zingale, the mother of the former pledge who sparked KA's suspension, said she was disappointed with the five-year loss of recognition. ABC 17 News highlighted the University's lack of notice to the community when a Greek organization is investigated until the semester ends. Zingale feels the school needs to send a stronger disciplinary message to prove it has the students' interests in mind.
"I'm never going to feel it's enough until the school starts doing more, and finds a way to let us parents know and other students know what exactly is going on with these troubled fraternities and or sororities," Zingale told ABC 17 News.
In the last nine school years, MU has withdrawn recognition five times, all of them fraternities. Three of those - Alpha Kappa Lambda, Alpha Tau Omega and Sigma Alpha Epsilon, have returned to campus. Sigma Pi is serving its first semester of a five-year withdrawal of recognition.
Zingale said the school should do a better job of publishing which Greek groups are either on probation or suspension.
"There might be students there thinking of this, going into Kappa Alpha Order, and might see this and say, 'No thank you.' But not if they're not going to put it out there, what violations there were. How can we know?"
MU's Interfraternity Council also commented on the university's decision:
KA will also pay a $1,000 judicial processing fee.
ABC 17 News will continue to follow this story. You can see the full release here.