Univ. of South Florida Omega Psi Phi chapter not active when alleged hazing happened
A fraternity suspended by the University of South Florida for allegedly hazing members did not have enough members to be an active chapter, according to the fraternity’s national organization.
Omega Psi Phi’s USF chapter has been under investigation by the Tampa Police Department and the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office for what went on at an off-campus meeting two weeks ago.
“As far as I am aware, we did not have the requisite number of members in that chapter,” said Christopher Cooper, grand counselor for Omega Psi Phi national fraternity. “That chapter was not functioning, and we were not involved in a membership intake process at [USF].”
Cooper said he was surprised when he learned of the hazing allegations because there had been no request to recruit new members from the USF chapter.
University officials and investigators have been tight-lipped about what exactly they are investigating. There were off-campus meetings Aug. 22 and 23 when the hazing is alleged to have taken place.
USF President Judy Genshaft sent a message to the university’s students, faculty and staff saying hazing “is against university policy, and it is totally unacceptable at USF.” She said students found to be involved would be suspended.
“Every one of our students signs a policy that stipulates that they will not haze and will not allow themselves [to be hazed] or contribute to hazing,” said Patrick Romero-Aldaz, director of fraternity and sorority life at USF.
Cooper said the Omega Psi Phi fraternity also has a zero-tolerance policy and will expel members who participate in hazing.
“There’s no reason to go through any hazing to become a member of this organization,” Cooper said.
“We are constantly watching any sanctioned membership intake process to see if we see evidence of any hazing,” he said. “We’ve done this since Nov. 17, 1911, and we think we’re pretty good at being able to observe potential members and gauge whether they could possibly be secretly being hazed.”