Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Compassion: Not in Greek Life’s vocabulary


In an entire issue that talks about how human compassion will create peace, I want to give you an update on something that’s less than compassionate.

The cover story in the last issue of the UP was an investigation about hazing in the Greek Life system. Since then, there have been several developments you should know about.

Steven Eissa, internal vice president of Pi Kappa Alpha, e-mailed administrators all the way up to Senior Vice President of Student Affairs Charles Brown, requesting a meeting. He also asked three administrators under Brown to be there because “current and alumni members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity are displeased with the slander and defamation of character that the University Press has written not only about us, but Delta Phi Epsilon and Sigma Alpha Mu [as well].”

The problem is that “slander” is the spoken word meant to cause damage to an individual, whereas “libel” refers to the written word.

I e-mailed Frank LoMonte, executive director for the Student Press Law Center, and told him about the meeting Eissa coordinated. He read the story on this Web site and e-mailed me back.

“What you are probably going to hear is generalities: ‘Well, this creates the impression that all we do is haze people,'” he said. “But that’s not libel — libel means a specifically false, factual charge that Joe hazed Charlie when Joe, in fact, didn’t haze Charlie.”

The UP doesn’t believe that there are any false charges in that story. We take libel seriously and would want to correct any mistakes in the reporting. Monica Ruiz, the UP’s news editor and the writer of that story, actually spoke to the sources afterward and has yet to hear any definite examples of libel.

Two days after that story was distributed on campus, Eissa spoke to Monica again. He said he called the meeting with administrators because “the story showed a negative light on Greek Life. We want [the UP] to print a positive article.”

The meeting was supposed to be on Friday, Feb. 26. However, at 10:27 p.m. the night before, Eissa sent an e-mail to the would-be attendees claiming they had to cancel because “[Pi Kappa Alpha’s] alumni adviser, who was supposed to be attending this meeting, has to leave for an emergency business trip to New York.”

The subject of the e-mail was “Need to Reschedule Meeting,” but in the e-mail he never actually asked to reschedule.

One of Monica’s sources, an officer in an FAU fraternity, also said that the fraternities are “freaking out” because they’re worried more information will come out.

They may be “freaking out” a little bit more once police conclude an investigation that started when Monica and I filed a report with the FAU Police Department on Feb. 25.

We distribute approximately 5,000 issues every Tuesday to all seven FAU campuses, with the majority staying on the Boca campus. Since Feb. 23, more than 900 copies of the “Dangerous Games” issue were removed from the bins and thrown away.

Less than 24 hours after filing that police report, we got a call in the UP newsroom from a student who had seen a guy throwing away issues behind the Visual Arts Building.

She saw a white male wearing basketball shorts and a backward baseball hat. While that doesn’t sound like a good description, the police have video footage from inside the Indian River Towers dorms of a man fitting that description doing the same thing — throwing away our newspapers.

The police told me Thursday night they have a lead in the case but weren’t allowed to give me a name just yet. However, Ryan O’Rourke, Greek Life coordinator, told the police that the “person of interest” may be a member of the Greek Life community.

While the issues were being stolen from the bins, Adam Epstein, Ayden Maher and Collene O’Reilly were campaigning in the Breezeway for Student Government elections. Monica spoke with each of the presidential candidates because we wanted to know what they thought about the hazing story.

Epstein said, “I would prefer not to make a comment on it.”

Maher, who just joined the fraternity Phi Delta Theta, thinks “suspending Sigma Phi Epsilon was good, but we don’t want to deter people from joining Greek Life.

And O’Reilly, a sister in Delta Sigma Theta, said, “I haven’t read it. I was looking for it, but there hasn’t been any in the bins. I’ve heard it’s the article of the year.” She did ask for our Web site’s URL and said she would read the story online immediately.

The current Student Government president, Tiffany Weimer, hadn’t read the story but said she was familiar with the situation.

So, where could it go from here?

“I guess it’s just about spreading the word on consequences. I think reading the article is really instrumental in informing people about what can happen,” O’Reilly said. “Just like drunk driving, you have to spread awareness of the consequences.”

Maher had a similar opinion but a more concrete plan.

“There needs to be better training for Greeks and members of the organization because things like this will happen. There needs to be a retreat to teach them how to deal with hazing [after the fact],” he said. “Hazing is like the war on drugs: It’s never actually going to stop.”

If you’ve seen or heard anything about the UP’s missing issues, please contact me at [email protected].

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