UF Alpha chapter faces suspension in hazing incident


University of Florida’s chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity Inc. has been suspended due to a recent hazing incident.

Less than three months after Florida A&M University’s Marching “100” incident, UF police filed a hazing complaint on Feb. 4 against fraternity members and completed their investigation Feb. 27.

UF’s spokeswoman, Janine Sikes said, “We believe the incident took place several weeks prior [to the complaint].

The incident took place between Jan. 22 and Feb. 1. The UF police department is considering misdemeanor, hazing charges towards the 10 accused fraternity members.

The complaint states that fraternity members performed a ritual called “thunderslaps,” a punishment that involves members of the fraternity hitting pledges in the chest for not answering questions when asked. The pledges were struck and paddled hard enough to cause bruises, according to the complaint. One pledged reported to police being unable to sleep on his back for several nights.

Alpha Phi Alpha is a historically black fraternity that dates back to 1906. The Alpha Phi Alpha website says the fraternity “has a zero tolerance level in regards to hazing/pledging and strongly prohibits these illegal activities in any form.”

The rules of University of Florida say, “In accordance with Section 1006.63, F.S., ‘hazing’ means any action or situation, which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with any organization operating under the sanction of the university.”

The university cannot sanction the students until Florida authorities give the go-ahead. “At the moment, we are on hold waiting on the state attorney’s office before we can make any disciplinary decisions,” Sikes said.

After FAMU’s hazing incident, Gov. Rick Scott requested that all universities create a task force related to hazing. UF’s committee met in late January, which was a week before the Alpha Phi Alpha allegedy incident took place.

In an email to students, UF President Bernie Machen said, “As that investigation proceeds, I want to reinforce the university’s prohibition against all forms of hazing — and ask each of you to help us guard against this dangerous and destructive behavior.”

The UF hazing committee is in the process of developing an incident reporting site to maintain transparency. On this website, students will be able to anonymously report hazing within university student organizations.