FIJI placed under interim suspension pending UA investigation
UA officials have placed Phi Gamma Delta fraternity under interim suspension as it stands accused of multiple violations of the Arizona Board of Regents Student Code of Conduct, including hazing and serving alcohol to minors.
The University of Arizona Police Department submitted a complaint, triggering an investigation from the Dean of Students Office from information it had uncovered about Phi Gamma Delta, commonly known as FIJI, during its investigation of the death of Michael Anderson, 19, a pre-business freshman and one of its members, according to a letter sent to the chapter’s president from Christina Lieberman, associate dean of students.
UAPD has passed on the findings of their investigation to the Pima County Attorney’s Office in a continuation of the criminal investigation of Anderson’s death, Kendal Washington White, associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students, said.
Anderson fell to his death on the roof of Colonia de la Paz residence hall in the early morning hours of April 4 after he and a friend tried climbing a 20-foot ventilation structure atop the residence hall.
Former Phi Gamma Delta member Mike Anderson's memorial service is held on the rooftop of the FIJI house on April 9. FIJI has been placed under interim suspension following allegations uncovered during a UAPD investigation into Anderson's death.
The letter said that FIJI poses “a substantial risk to members of the university community” and is therefore placed under interim suspension of recognition. Pending the outcome of the investigation, FIJI must cease all activity on the UA campus, UA officials said in a statement. This includes chapter meetings, organizational events and recruitment of new members.
White said interim suspension of recognition is a rare measure for the Dean of Students office to take, but that the administration believes the allegations are serious enough to merit the suspension during the investigation.
“We did not want the organization to be able to conduct business as usual, particularly bringing in new members,” White said.
Members of FIJI have due process just like anyone else, White said, and have the right to respond to the charges as an organization. A decision on FIJI’s recognition will most likely be made before the beginning of the fall semester, White said.
The letter details some of the hazing FIJI members allegedly took part in including kicking new members in the stomach, new members cleaning the house before and after parties and performing personal acts of servitude to members.
The chapter president also allegedly instructed members not to cooperate with UAPD or UA officials, White said.
FIJI reportedly hosted several unregistered events in the spring 2014 semester where alcohol was served to minors, violating the Student Code of Conduct and leading them to be placed on probation, White said. Under the terms of their probation, alcohol was prohibited in the house, but events with alcohol were still held in FIJI, White said, violating their probation. UAPD also alleged marijuana was smoked inside the FIJI house.
FIJI’s national organization is aware of the allegations and is cooperating with the DOS investigation, the statement read.
“The vast majority of our greek organizations abide by and live up to the community standards that we have for individual and organizations on campus,” White said.
While there always organizations on campus that will choose not to live up to those standards, White said she does not see the actions of FIJI as a reflection on greek life on campus.