UNCC fraternity shuts its doors after hazing incident

by: Mark Becker Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

A fraternity at University of North Carolina Charlotte closed down for eight years after one of its pledges almost died during a camp out where pledges were forced to drink dangerous amounts of alcohol.

The Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity was facing a hearing on the hazing allegations from a camp out in September in the Uwharrie Forest.

Pledges told investigators they were told to drink so much beer and hard liquor so fast that one of the pledges, an 18-year-old freshman from Waxhaw, was rushed to the hospital where doctors determined that his blood-alcohol content had reached 0.42 percent, which is more than five times the legal limit.

"They have been removed from our campus as a recognized student organization," said Christine Reed Davis, UNC Charlotte's Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

It's the third time since 2005 that a fraternity has faced long-term suspension for hazing, she said.

The president of the Pi Kappa Alpha chapter at UNC Charlotte did not respond to an email, and had referred questions earlier to the fraternity's national office in Memphis.

Eyewitness News called and left a voice mail there but there has been no response.

If the penalty is meant to send a message, the president of another fraternity on campus said it should be clear.

"They should very well get it. Losing your charter is a very big deal," said Curtis Bobray.

The attorney who represents the family of the pledge involved in the hazing said he is still suffering physical damage from the incident and is not sure an eight-year suspension is enough.

"I don't know. If you slap them on the hand they're going to do it again," said Mike Bednarik.

He said the fraternity has a reputation nationally for hazing, and despite their stated policy against the practice it doesn't appear to be serious about addressing it.

"It's just one thing after another after another. Here, this boy was probably half-an-hour away from being dead," he said.