For the third time this year, the University of Arizona has booted a fraternity accused of wrongdoing that endangered its members.
The local chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon was stripped of recognition last week for what UA's dean of students describes as an entrenched culture of disregard for student safety that involved multiple forms of hazing.
An investigation found the fraternity, nicknamed "Tekes," violated the UA code of conduct by subjecting new members to "forced consumption of alcohol, extreme physical exertion to the point of individuals either vomiting or passing out (and) sleep deprivation."
Chapter president Billy Dimitri, a UA senior studying civil engineering, said in an interview the fraternity was framed and will appeal.
He said the allegations date back to 2010 and were made by "a disgruntled former member we kicked out who's trying to get revenge."
Dimitri, who joined the fraternity as a sophomore, declined to say what his own initiation entailed.
"It's all secret rituals," he said. "It's harmless, no one was ever hurt. But I can't talk about it because it's what makes us a brotherhood."
Dean of Students Keith Humphrey said his office substantiated the allegations, which were brought to his attention a few weeks ago.
The fraternity cooperated, giving the UA access to numerous members past and present.
Typically, he said, his office tries to help offending fraternities or sororities change their ways before the last resort of kicking them off campus.
In this case, he said, officials determined that wouldn't work because the problems ran too deep.
The wrongdoing at Tau Kappa Epsilon "was part of their practice as an organization, which we couldn't allow to continue," he said.
The fraternity also is suspended by its headquarters based in Indianapolis. Tom McAninch, a spokesman there, said an investigation will also be done there.
If members acted wrongly, they'll be removed from the fraternity's rolls, he said. Those not involved in wrongdoing will be given alumni status.
"We have a zero tolerance policy for hazing," McAninch said.
In January, the UA kicked out another fraternity, the local chapter of Phi Kappa Psi, over allegations of hazing, underage drinking and of lying to try to cover up wrongdoing.
In April, the local chapter of Delta Chi was stripped of recognition by the UA for repeated violations that "presented a threat to the health and safety of members."
Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 573-4138.