Lambda Phi Epsilon, Penn's only Asian-interest fraternity, has been shut down indefinitely by the national headquarters after "significant evidence of hazing."
The national Lambda Board of Directors voted on Dec. 21 to withdraw the Lambda chapter following a university-led investigation into the hazing of pledges, according to a press release from Lambda Phi Epsilon Executive Director Jim Gaffney. Former Lambda members at Penn and University spokesperson Stephen MacCarthy also confirmed the chapter's closure.
Bwog, a Columbia University student news blog, reported in December 2018 that members of Columbia's chapter of Lambda Phi Epsilon sent their pledges to Penn's campus to compete with Penn pledges in activities involving extreme physical exertion. The December post attributed information to an anonymous Columbia student who allegedly pledged the fraternity in spring 2018, but no official report confirmed the allegations in the blog at the time.
"We can confirm that our chapter has ceased all operations. We will not comment on any specifics about our new member education process, but will say that parts of the December report from Bwog were misleading and dishonest," an email sent to The Daily Pennsylvanian from the chapter's official email read. "Our hundreds of alumni over the past 25 years have strove to make positive change in the [Asian Pacific Islander Desi American] community at Penn and beyond and will continue to individually do so."
The Columbia blog reported that, "In the last week of the pledging process, the Columbia pledges were taken to the University of Pennsylvania’s chapter. There, they were made to compete with the Penn Lambda pledges in physical activities, including push-ups and high knees. The exertion was so extreme that our source recounts passing out and being doused with ice water to forcibly awaken him."
Gaffney said he could neither confirm nor deny the accuracy of the article's quote. Former members of Penn's Lambda chapter also declined to comment on the specific initiation process of pledges.
Bwog also reported that New York University's Lambda chapter was involved in the hazing as well, having sent members to Columbia's campus to take part in the hazing. Gaffney said an investigation conducted jointly with the Office of Student Conduct at New York University found no evidence of hazing at the NYU chapter.
Gaffney declined to comment on whether Columbia University's Lambda chapter has also been closed. Columbia's Lambda chapter president did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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