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Monday, March 04, 2024

The Florida First District Court of Appeal has reversed the suspension of UF's chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, citing that UF lacked adequate evidence to justify the punishment.

The fraternity, known as Pike, was found guilty at every level of UF's judicial system for having an unregistered party in September 2006.

UF ruled that Pike members served alcohol to minors and disregarded the possible endangerment of an individual or group, and the fraternity was suspended through 2011.

Pike appealed UF's decision at a hearing in Tallahassee on March 26, arguing that UF presented insufficient evidence to suspend the fraternity.

The court released an opinion Monday, ordering UF to reinstate the fraternity immediately.

"It is unnecessary to recite in detail the evidence presented at the formal hearing held before the Greek Judicial Board," the opinion states. "Suffice it to say that all of the evidence offered in support of the charges consisted of inadmissible hearsay."

UF's two witnesses at the original hearing consisted of a University Police Department officer and a Gainesville Police Department officer, neither of whom were present the day of the party, the fraternity argued.

The opinion upheld Pike's claim.

Janine Sikes, UF spokeswoman, said she couldn't comment on how UF would proceed following the court's opinion or when Pike should expect to be back on campus.

"We're reviewing the judgment and certainly looking at all of our options," Sikes said.

The appeal court's decision isn't final.

UF has 15 days to request a rehearing, she said.

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Patrick Duffey, president of UF's chapter of Pike, said he was also unsure of what the future holds for the fraternity.

"My fraternity has been decimated by the punishment that's been inflicted thus far," Duffey said.

Since 2006, the last year Pike recruited, the fraternity's members have been reduced from 120 to about 30. A handful of the fraternity's members are also graduating this year, he added.

Duffey said he wasn't sure when Pike would start recruiting again or when the fraternity would be allowed back on campus.

He wouldn't comment on how the organization planned to improve its tarnished reputation.

"It's going to take a lot more planning to really even come to any conclusion," Duffey said of the fraternity's next steps. "It's not going to be a decision that's made rashly," he added.

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