Sanctions for Pi Kapp, KA leave fraternities on probation for a year

By Matt Kyle and Ana Ruiz Brictson | Staff Writers, Video by Nate Smith | Executive Producer

The Student Conduct Administration published the spring 2022 hazing report for Pi Kappa Phi (Pi Kapp) and Kappa Alpha Order (KA) Thursday, outlining sanctions for both fraternities.

Pi Kapp and KA were removed from All-University Sing in February when the hazing allegations were initially reported. The fraternities have been placed on disciplinary probation until May 31, 2023, and social suspension until Dec. 31, 2022.

Matt Burchett, senior director of Student Activities, said the organizations will be unable to host on-campus events during the social suspension period. They will still be allowed to compete in the homecoming float parade and Sing, but they will be unable to partner with other student organizations.

Until the end of the probation period, Burchett said any further violations of university policy will result in “more substantive action” against the fraternities.

Both organizations will be subject to a membership review process in which alumni and members of the national organization will review and revamp the current membership process. Alumni will meet with individual members to determine if they can remain a member or not. Members of the fraternities will also have to take hazing prevention courses.

According to the hazing report, KA “incorporated calisthenics within the new member education experience that subjected new members to an unreasonable risk of harm and/or adversely affected the physical health and/or safety of students.”

Pi Kapp’s hazing report said the organization “incorporated sleep deprivation through repeated late-night activities within the new member education experience that subjected new members to an unreasonable risk of harm and/or adversely affected the physical health and/or safety of students.”

Assistant executive director for advancement and editor of The Kappa Alpha Journal Jesse Lyons said the Kappa Alpha Order national headquarters does not tolerate hazing of any kind.

“A thorough review was conducted in coordination with Baylor administration, alumni leadership and the national staff,” Lyons said. “In agreement with the university, comprehensive educational programming sanctions — locally and at future leadership conferences — have been implemented for both the chapter membership and leadership. Local alumni leadership has been confirmed, and they are receiving additional training and will continue to be involved in the future of the chapter. While the chapter is in good standing, certain social restrictions are in place and will be evaluated later this year. We greatly appreciate the shared goals with the university for the future success of the chapter.”

In reaction to the hazing report, Monica Ceja, assistant executive director of communications at Pi Kappa Phi National Headquarters, said they are aware of the ongoing investigation.

“The national organization has placed the chapter on an interim suspension, and we are cooperating fully with the university’s investigation,” she said.

Friendswood freshman Jonah Isaak said he initially rushed Pi Kapp because his father had been a member back in 1991. Less than a week after accepting his bid for the spring 2022 semester, Isaak said he dropped Pi Kapp due to several instances of hazing.

On the night of bid day, Isaak said Pi Kapp members told the pledge class to delete all social media and share their phone locations with all pledge trainers, including the president of the fraternity.

“The limited communication makes it harder for stuff to get out,” Isaak said. “So it’s really not about us not being on social media. It’s really much more [about us] not going around and spreading what’s happening.”

On the same night, he said all 23 members of his pledge class were forced to sleep on the floor of a small room, which he estimated was about 15 feet by 10 feet. Isaak said pledges were forced to sleep in that same room on multiple occasions.

Isaak said the pledges were made to clean members’ houses, sometimes multiple times in one day.

Pledges were asked to show up at one of the members’ houses at 8 a.m. to clean during the February freeze and had to wait outside in the cold for approximately two hours to be let into the house, according to Isaak.

“They told me later, after the fact, that that was not intentional,” Isaak said. “But I don’t really know what to believe, quite frankly, because of some of the other stuff that was said.”

On Feb. 4, Isaak said his pledge class was told to purchase several items, including a headband and a can of sardines, and to go to one of the members’ houses.

Isaak said pledges were blindfolded with the headband and yelled at by members “like drill sergeants.” Over the course of about two and a half hours, he said pledges were forced to eat the can of sardines and then do calisthenic exercises. He said any pledges who threw up the sardines were forced to eat their own vomit.

The day after, Isaak scheduled a meeting with Pi Kapp’s executive council to understand the reasoning behind its actions.

“They tried to excuse it to me, but there’s no way this is building brotherhood or anything like that,” Isaak said. “It’s really degrading, that you’re going to make a kid eat his own vomit. It’s pretty clearly humiliating, because I could hear them laughing while they were doing this.”

Isaak said the members of the executive council initially seemed to hear out his concerns and even admitted some things had gone too far.

In the following days, Isaak said members of the pledge class were made to drive to Independence on very little sleep and were yelled at for being late to one of the members’ houses, which Isaak said made him feel lied to by the executive council.

The next day, he decided to drop the fraternity and later reported the hazing to the Interfraternity Council (IFC) at Baylor, Pi Kappa Phi Nationals and Waco PD.

According to Waco PD spokesperson Cierra Shipley, the case was closed on Feb. 28 because “the hazing that was reported is not anything that could be criminally charged.”

Isaak said he and his family are not pleased with the results of Baylor’s investigation.

Isaak’s father, David Isaak, gave this statement:

“The Baylor report is a whitewash, which fails to list many of the violations that occurred including forcing pledges to eat their own vomit and tracking their movements through location sharing. The lenient nature of the sanctions makes it clear that Baylor is not committed to punishing or deterring student organization misconduct.”