By: Cody Boteler, Senior Editor
Update: A rumor originating from the social media platform Yik Yak claimed that TU administration was talking about terminating Greek life on campus is entirely untrue, according to Vice President for Student Affairs Deb Moriarty.
In a statement today, Towson University announced that all operations and activities of Tau Kappa Epsilon on campus have been temporarily suspended, effective April 5, pending the results of the ongoing investigation.
The statement clarifies that the University began an investigation into the off-campus incident Monday and that Baltimore County Police Department joined the investigation Tuesday.
“The action to suspend this fraternity is normal practice when serious accusations of illegal activity have been alleged and are being investigated,” Vice President for Student Affairs Deb Moriarty said in the statement. “During this period of suspension, members of this chapter are to have no contact whatsoever with pledges.”
The statement said that decisions regarding additional sanctions would be made after the completion of the investigations.
In the statement, Moriarty added that hazing “will not be tolerated.”
The president of Towson’s Inter-Fraternity Council has sent an email to chapter presidents reminding them not to talk with the media and advising students not to wear their letters.
“This is still a developing investigation and you are not at liberty to comment on the investigation,” the email said, according to a copy obtained by The Towerlight.
In an email to The Towerlight, Hunter Haines, the IFC president who sent the email out to Towson’s chapters, reiterated that he was “not at liberty” to discuss the situation.
Haines also clarified that students were advised to not wear their letters on or around campus in order to “avoid the media disrupting their daily academic routines for comments on information that is not confirmed yet.”
Towson’s chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon has been temporarily suspended, according to the fraternity’s national office.
In an emailed statement, Alex Baker, chief information officer for Tau Kappa Epsilon’s national chapter, said that they are “investigating this alleged incident at Towson University.”
“We are fully cooperating with the university and police investigations,” the email said. “If these allegations are found to be true, we will address the allegation swiftly and with appropriate action.”
The Towson University Police Department is working with Baltimore County Police to investigate an off-campus incident involving a Towson student.
Corporal Shawn Vinson, a BCPD public information officer, confirmed there was such an investigation but said it was too early for any details.
According to Director of Media Relations Ray Feldmann, privacy issues are preventing the University from disclosing any more details at this time.
TUPD declined to offer further comment, instead deferring to Feldmann.
WBAL News Radio is reporting that the victim’s family contacted them, alleging that the male victim was “forced to eat cat food and a liquid he was told was vinegar and pickle juice by members of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity” on March 31.
According to WBAL’s report, the student started vomiting blood hours later and was taken to a nearby hospital later that day. Per WBAL’s report, the student is still in the hospital.
Feldmann added that Towson takes all allegations of hazing very seriously.
“Our hazing policy is very clear: Hazing is against the law and is strictly prohibited at Towson University,” he said.
In Maryland, hazing is codified as a misdemeanor, and if someone is convicted of hazing, they can face fines up to $500, imprisonment up to six months, or both.
At Towson University, if a student organization is found to have been participating in hazing, the entire organization can be held culpable.
The Towerlight will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
–Sam Shelton contributed research to this article.