The Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity chapter at the University of South Carolina was suspended Wednesday by its national leadership following the death of an 18-year-old member. The male student was found dead that morning in a private home near campus, where police also found a beer keg and St. Patrick’s Day decorations on the porch. There was no sign of trauma, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts told the Associated Press.
Gary Watts, of the Richland County Coroner's Office, called it a “suspicious death,” according to the State newspaper in South Carolina. “The Fraternity’s thoughts and prayers are with the family of this young man and the brothers of Xi Chapter,” said Justin True, a spokesman with the Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity, in a statement.
The news comes as multiple fraternities at college campuses across the nation have come under scrutiny for allegations of racism, hazing and various criminal activity. The Kappa Delta Rho chapter at Pennsylvania State University was suspended by its national headquarters Tuesday for a private, members-only Facebook page that allegedly featured pictures of drug deals, hazing rituals and nude females, WJAC-TV in Pennsylvania reported.
The Pi Kappa Alpha chapter at the University of Connecticut lost its recognition on campus Monday for hazing members and holding parties while on probation for feuding with members of Alpha Kappa Alpha, a historically black sorority, WVIT in New Britain reported. The fraternity, also known as PIKE, was the fourth to be sanctioned at the University of Connecticut this year. Fraternities Sigma Chi and Sigma Alpha Epsilon also lost recognition, and Kappa Sigma was placed on probation for alleged alcohol violations.
Last week, Sigma Alpha Epsilon national leadership shut down its University of Oklahoma chapter after fraternity members were caught on video participating in a racist chant. While traveling by bus to a party on March 7, the members chanted “There will never be a n------ in SAE. You can hang him from a tree, but he can never sign with me.” The fraternity’s national headquarters condemned the racist chant, disbanded the school’s chapter and suspended all of its members. University of Oklahoma President David Boren expelled two SAE fraternity members who appeared in the video and “played a leadership role.”