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The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)



The Associated Press

KNOXVILLE -- Kappa Alpha campus fraternity chapters at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and at Vanderbilt University in Nashville are in trouble.

The 40-member chapter at Vanderbilt received a two-year suspension this week from the fraternity's national office for hazing.

Meanwhile, the 86-member UT chapter received a temporary suspension over allegations that members hired strippers, held cockfights in the fraternity house and provided alcohol to homeless people to get them to fight in staged tournaments. UT chapter president Patrick Diener made the allegations in comments to The Daily Beacon, the campus newspaper. Members said Diener was joking.

"I honestly believe there is very . . . little or no truth to (Diener's comments)," said Ashley Worboys, assistant executive director of the Lexington, Va.-based national Kappa Alpha Order.

Still, he said, "It was extremely unfortunate that the chapter president would make such untrue statements because they reflect poorly upon their chapter, the Kappa Alpha Order and the University of Tennessee."

Asked about the suspension, Diener said, "Everything is up in the air right now. Nothing is final."

That isn't the case at Vanderbilt, where the Kappa Alpha chapter will not be officially recognized again by the national fraternity or the university until the spring of 2004, Vanderbilt fraternity adviser Clayton Arrington said.

Arrington and Worboys declined to say exactly what the Vanderbilt chapter did to pledges earlier this semester to deserve the sanctions.

"None of the incidents resulted in physical harm or damage to property but violated the university and Kappa Alpha Order policy of zero tolerance for hazing," the fraternity's national office said in a statement.

It was the chapter's first suspension in its 119-year history at Vanderbilt, Worboys said.

The UT-Knoxville chapter has been in trouble before. One member and seven pledges were caught in 1999 stealing wreaths, lights, figurines and other Christmas decorations from a Knoxville neighborhood.

To make amends, UT required chapter members to provide 2,500 hours of community service to the neighborhood.

Caleb Darby, a UT senior and Kappa Alpha member, said the current charges against his chapter aren't true.

"There's so many great guys in this fraternity. We're all God-fearing gentlemen. We treat ladies with nothing but respect. Everything that Diener said was completely a joke," he said.