A grand jury in Texas indicted the national Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity for a three-day hazing ritual during which one pledge was forced to roll around in vomit and feces before being body slammed, resulting in a lacerating spleen, prosecutors said.
The indictment on Thursday stems from alleged incidents during the brutal November 2016 event at the University of Houston, where prosecutors said Pi Kappa Alpha pledges were deprived of sleep, food and water. After being broken down physically and mentally, one pledge was also forced to roll around in a vile mix of vomit, spit and feces, according to prosecutors in Harris County.
The pledge was then told to run along a rural, darkened stretch while holding a glow stick before he was tackled by frat members who wore dark clothing, a hazing ritual known as the “green light game,” prosecutors said.
“Brotherhood and collegiate good times should be safe, and hazing is not,” District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement. “It is also illegal, and that should be recognized by the dozens of fraternities and sororities on college campuses all over the Houston area.”
The indictment named the Tennessee-based Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity Inc., Ogg said. No fraternity members, known on campus and nationally as Pikes, were indicted, but a conviction on the misdemeanor hazing charge could result in a fine of up to $10,000.
In a statement posted on its website Thursday, the national fraternity said the alleged hazing detailed in the indictment took place in the “context of activities” of a now-defunct chapter, Epsilon Eta.
“The Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity does not tolerate hazing, maltreatment of members, or any activities that do not treat individuals with dignity and respect,” the statement read. “After allegations of hazing by Epsilon Eta Chapter were received by the International Fraternity, the Fraternity suspended the Chapter’s charter on August 2, 2017.”
University officials had previously suspended Pi Kappa Alpha from campus until 2023.
“The University of Houston showed resolve in conducting a thorough investigation and holding the fraternity accountable,” Ogg said.
University officials, meanwhile, said they were happy to see a “stern message” sent by the grand jury, KTRK reports.
“Our University takes pride in the camaraderie and well-rounded experience of our students, and for many that includes participating in fraternity and sorority life,” the statement read. “We take seriously our responsibility to train our fraternities and sororities to adhere to University policy and laws against hazing and the need to conduct themselves in a safe manner.”