Delta Chi

Courtesy to the Alligator

UF suspended its chapter of Delta Chi for four years after a pledge nearly died following a Spring hazing incident.  

The chapter is suspended until May 9, 2022, according to letters sent by Dean of Students Heather White last Monday.

The Greek Conduct Committee found the chapter responsible for violating four Student Conduct Codes, including serving alcohol to underage students and hazing, which led to “the hospitalization of a student in critical condition with risk of fatality,” the letter said.

The chapter has not been allowed to host social activities or recruit new members since February when the incident occurred, UF spokesperson Steve Orlando said. The fraternity must move out of its house on Fraternity Row by Oct. 1 and complete a full review of its members, White wrote.

“In this case, the committee found Delta Chi brothers participated in a coordinated effort to cover up their actions and put a new member’s life in jeopardy, as he was hospitalized in critical condition,” Orlando wrote in an email.

The brothers drove the student to the hospital but did not call 911. The chapter’s presence is a “health and safety risk” to UF and its Greek organizations, White wrote.

The chapter has until Monday to appeal the suspension.

A student not affiliated with the fraternity told University Police he thought the then-18-year-old pledge was being hazed, according to a police sworn complaint.

The pledge later told police he went to a “Big Brother” ceremony, where Pablo Castillo, 22, was announced as his big brother, a mentor in the Greek organization.

There, the pledge drank a bottle of “sweet tea vodka” and participated in a foot race, the complaint said. He said he didn’t realize how much he drank, and brothers found him unconscious and slumped in a chair in the backyard at about midnight, police said. Ty Simon, the then Delta Chi president, told police he decided to take him to the hospital.

Simon, Castillo and Kyle Basignani, the fraternity’s risk manager, drove the pledge to North Florida Regional Medical Center, although the UF Health Shands Trauma Center was closer, the complaint said.

When they arrived to the hospital, his blood alcohol level was .324, which is four times the legal driving limit of .08. Doctors told the group if they waited five more minutes, the student would have died, the complaint said.

Castillo was charged with hazing, but the case was dropped in July due to insufficient evidence, according to court records.

The chapter was suspended in 2001 after the fraternity hired a stripper for a party, according to Alligator archives. The stripper accused a fraternity brother of rape, but UPD charged her with filing a false report.

The national organization's interim executive director, Jerod Breit, said in a statement that the UF chapter's actions go against the values of the oath of Delta Chi. 

"Violations like these simply won't be tolerated," he said. 

UF chapter president Travis Knight wrote in an email that the fraternity does not condone hazing and included apologies to the university community.

“The actions that took place were done by a small minority and do not represent the character of our men,” Knight said. “We’re grateful that the correct judgement was made to seek medical attention and that this didn’t turn out to be worse.”

Contact Amanda Rosa at arosa@alligator.org and follow her on Twitter at @AmandaNicRosa

In an earlier version of this article, the Alligator incorrectly stated the amount of years Delta Chi suspended and the Executive Director of Delta Chi. The fraternity is suspended for four years until May 9, 2022, and Ben Ely is not the Executive Director. The Alligator regrets the error.

Amanda Rosa is a second-year journalism major from Miami Beach, FL. As a general assignment staff writer, she covers anything in Gainesville and the University of Florida. She loves drawing, reading and drinking too much coffee.