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UF, alumni board suspend TEP fraternity for 1 year

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Posted: Wednesday, November 26, 2008 12:00 am

A criminal charge of hazing against UF's Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity, known as TEP, has been dropped, but the fraternity has agreed to a suspension lasting until Jan. 1, 2010 for its participation in hazing activities discovered by UF earlier this month.

In an agreement reached between UF and the alumni board of UF's TEP chapter, the fraternity will close its house, located at 9 Fraternity Row, for one year and will overhaul its pledging process.

The house will close at the end of this year and reopen Jan. 1, 2010.

The fraternity will remain on suspension, which means it will be unable to hold social or sporting events or take part in service projects or recruiting efforts, said UF Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin.

Rick Freedman, vice president of the alumni board, said the board would conduct a "brother by brother" review to determine if any members should be removed.

"If you're not contributing to this fraternity in terms of service and scholarship, then you're not, in our view, a brother in good standing," Freedman said.

The sanctions agreed to by UF and the board resulted from an incident on Nov. 3, when 36 pledges were found kneeling on the floor at the TEP house basement.

Most pledges were shirtless and indicated they had been kneeling for more than hour, according to a University Police report.

Some pledges told officers food and liquid had been thrown on them, and they were told to wear diapers secured with duct tape on their heads, according to the report.

Pledges also told officers they may have been given laxatives and had been told to do pushups and wall sits.

The pledges indicated these were done voluntarily, according to the report.

Paige Crandall, interim dean of students, said UF was alerted to possible hazing activities through an anonymous tip. Crandall said another tip was received earlier in the semester, but UF was unable to prove any wrongdoing.

Telles-Irvin said if the alumni board had not acted so quickly, the fraternity's suspension could have been much longer. She said they acted so quickly that UF did not even have time to officially file charges against the organization. She would not say if any individuals are being charged separately.

Adam Fischer, the fraternity's chancellor, declined to comment when reached by phone.

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