Fraternity says it may sue University after interim suspension for alleged hazing

Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity will not be able to host Trojan Family Weekend or hold fundraisers while under suspension. (Emily Smith | Daily Trojan)

The Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity released a statement Wednesday announcing that it may sue the University after it was suspended Friday for alleged hazing violations. The fraternity said USC has not informed them of any specific event related to hazing.

“Unfortunately, the University’s standard operating procedure has been to ‘suspend first, provide information later,’” the statement read. “We believe that procedure runs counter to the law, due process and fundamental fairness not only to us, but to our larger community.”

According to the statement, the fraternity contacted University officials and Greek life liaison offices and hired an attorney who sent a letter to the University requesting information.

The University declined to comment about the statement.

The alleged hazing violation was written with a notice of interim suspension on the Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Development website. The Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity was also suspended Friday for the same alleged violation.

“We wish to be clear: We do not condone hazing, in any form, and believe it should be eradicated from Greek life,” the Phi Sigma Kappa statement read. “That said, we have spoken to our brothers and new members, and we are unaware of any ‘hazing’ incidents, complaints or other issues involving Phi Sigma Kappa, which makes the University’s action, and the speculation around its reasons, all the more frustrating.”

Phi Sigma Kappa President Bradley Billig said the issue was about the larger student body  rather than the fraternity.

“This situation isn’t about us so much as it’s about the basic rights of all students and organizations to be treated with fairness and transparency,” he said in an email to the Daily Trojan. “The University has not made us aware of any improper conduct, but if there is, we simply would like to know what it is so we can promptly address and correct it in full cooperation with the University and regain our good standing in the community.”

In a general statement to the Daily Trojan Monday, USC said it takes hazing violations seriously.

“Organizations that are being investigated for alleged violations of the code of conduct can be instructed to suspend or modify social activities pending results of an investigation,” the University wrote.

The interim suspension will impede on the fraternity’s ability to fundraise and host events for Trojan Family Weekend. Phi Sigma Kappa believes the suspension will hurt the organization.

“We have a proud tradition and track-record of positive community involvement at Phi Sigma Kappa and, in our view, our future of community engagement, as well as personal, academic and professional development has never been brighter,” the statement read.