STATEMENT FROM UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON PRESIDENT RENU KHATOR:
Today, I am placing the Epsilon Xi chapter of Sigma Chi Fraternity, a Greek organization that is part of the University of Houston Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life, on immediate suspension following disturbing allegations of hazing within the fraternity.
I am shocked, dismayed and deeply disappointed that allegations of this nature have arisen on our campus. In addition to suspending the fraternity, the University is placing the five students accused of these acts on immediate suspension. Pending further investigation and due process, if the allegations prove to be true, those responsible will be subject to immediate disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion.
Let me be clear, hazing is a criminal act, and consent is not a defense. Failure to report hazing also is a criminal offense and a violation of University policy. Those who engage in such reckless and immature behavior will be punished to the full extent of the law and in accordance with University policies. As a reminder, anyone can file a complaint report anonymously through the MySafeCampus online reporting system.
The Board of Regents, led by Chairman Tilman Fertitta, has been clear in its mandate that the University has a zero-tolerance policy for hazing. I am extremely disappointed the health and safety of our students have come into question.
I expect all of our students, regardless of whether they belong to a Greek organization, to understand the obligations they have as members of our community. These include upholding the highest values in their decisions and actions, and personifying a campus culture based on treating every person with respect and dignity.
Today, the University of Houston Police Department turned over its findings to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, which will determine what, and if, charges are filed. To protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation, and to comply with student privacy laws, neither I, nor the University, will comment beyond this statement at this time.