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AEPi surrenders charter after national organization threatens to expel members

Hatchet File Photo Erica Christian | Photo Editor
Hatchet File Photo Erica Christian | Photo Editor

Updated Jan. 31 at 12:13 p.m.

The University’s chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi shut down this month, officials and chapter leaders confirmed Thursday, after a string of hazing and alcohol violations.

The fraternity has come under fire after more than a dozen violations surfaced in November, prompting GW and national officials to revoke its on-campus housing and interview every member as part of an investigation.

Director of Greek Life Christina Witkowicki sent a letter to the Greek community Thursday alerting all members that the national organization had closed the chapter after finding them “in violation of multiple risk management violations during the investigation.”

But Nate Kropp, the chapter’s president, said Wednesday that he and the other members voted to surrender their charter this month after national officials planned to boot some members from the fraternity for allegations of “misconduct” that he said were never proven.

“Given what we believed to be an impossible set of circumstances, our brotherhood voted to surrender our charter rather than watch our friends and brothers be arbitrarily removed from our fraternity,” Kropp wrote in an email statement Wednesday.

He said national leaders had threatened “crippling sanctions” against the chapter, but did not provide specific details of the allegations.

The shutdown represents the first GW fraternity to lose its charter since Delta Tau Delta in 2008. It also eliminates one of the two main Jewish fraternities on campus.

Jon Pierce, a spokesman for AEPi’s national organization, confirmed that the chapter was now defunct at the University, but said the chapter was not kicked off campus for one specific incident.

Pierce said chapter leaders had multiple conversations with national leaders after the allegations, but declined to give specific details about the conversations or the allegations brought against the chapter.
“On almost every count, this chapter was not meeting our standards,” Pierce said.

University spokesman Dave Andrews said in an email statement that the University “fully supports” the chapter’s national organization.

The chapter lost its townhouse on 22nd Street and multiple rooms in International House in late December, an unexpected decision that Kropp said gave members just a week to move out. A group of angry parents sent letters to top administrators, including University President Steven Knapp, slamming the lack of communication from University officials and threatening to take legal action.

Kropp said the chapter’s 85 members would remain committed to the organization.

“What we have doesn’t end because some administrator on Eye Street no longer recognizes it,” Kropp said about losing University recognition of the chapter. “What we have is deeply important to each and every one of us, and despite everything, will live on.”

Pierce said he “absolutely” expected the chapter to eventually return to campus, though he did not have a specific timeline. Alpha Epsilon Pi was previously barred from campus in 2001 for hazing and returned about two years later.

Witkowicki said University officials will work with Alpha Epsilon Pi regarding “future reestablishment” of the chapter when it is “mutually appropriate for all parties involved.”

Delta Tau Delta, the last chapter to lose its charter at the University in 2008, was reinstalled on campus in 2010.

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