Under investigation

After allegedly beating and hospitalizing a pledge, the Alpha Xi chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. was suspended from Florida A&M University until further notice.

LeNedra Carroll, FAMU director of university relations and public affairs, said the vice president of student affairs and the dean of students received information concerning the incident and issued a cease and desist order for the Kappas.

“It basically means that this chapter is not allowed to sponsor any events, hold any events (or) wear any paraphernalia of any kind while this investigation is taking place,” Carroll said. “In other words, they are not active and they are not recognized on campus at this time.”

The length of the organization’s suspension is currently unknown.

“I can’t say with any certainty what the duration will be. With it being under investigation, the university will await the results of the complete investigation,” Carroll said. “We won’t speculate or guess about what we need to do. We will await those results.”

Although many of the facts are unknown, Carroll said that jurisdiction is not the most important factor.

“Our concern is that the young man who was injured in the alleged incident is recuperating,” she said. “Secondly, we want to make it very clear that hazing is not condoned, supported (or) tolerated here at Florida A&M University. It’s illegal; it’s against the law.”

Monday, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office took over the case. Detective Brice Google said the investigation was given to their department because it was discovered that part of the incident might have happened off campus.

“It is an ongoing investigation. We’re following up on multiple leads,” Google said.

Marcus Jones, 20, a sophomore environmental science student from Decatur, Ga., was allegedly beaten with canes on four nights while pledging to become a member of the fraternity.

After finding out, Marcus’ father, Mark Jones, a master sergeant with the U.S. Army, reported to the Tallahassee Democrat the details of the incident.

He said that one of the wounds needed 25 stitches.

Sam Hamilton, the fraternity’s national grand polemarch, said Kappa Alpha Psi is an organization that enhances the communities and campuses and condemns hazing.

“Kappa Alpha Psi has a zero tolerance of any behavior involving hazing,” said Hamilton. “It’s something that has no place.”

Hamilton also said the Kappas are concerned about the health of Marcus Jones and are cooperating with the police’s investigation. Hamilton said organization would be conducting its own investigation.

Sherri Luke, the crime prevention officer for the FAMU Police Department, has held workshops explaining the hazing laws at the university.

Luke referenced Florida Statute 1006.63, stating that hazing can be a third degree felony.

“Hazing is any action or situation that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for purposes including, not limited to, the initiation or mission into or a affiliation with any organization, ” she said.

Luke said whipping and beating of an individual is not the only way to commit hazing.

Branding, sleep deprivation and forcing individuals to withstand extreme weather conditions are also considered hazing.

“If it affects the dignity or mental health of the student, it meets the perimeters of hazing,” Luke said. “If you have to ask, then it usually is.

“If you’re involved in any kind of hazing and you’re in violation to university policy…you can be held accountable,” Luke said.

Members of the Alpha Xi Chapter are unavailable for comment until after the investigation concludes.

Contact A’sia Horne-Smith at asiatyree04@hotmail.com Source: Tallahassee Democrat