Cal Poly's chapter of Alpha Phi offered its support to the UCSB chapter Saturday after two women were shot and killed outside the UCSB chapter house's front lawn during a mass murder Friday. | Mustang News File Photo

The Alpha Phi sorority will face a five-month suspension after an investigation by Cal Poly Student Life and Leadership (SLL) found it guilty of hazing following Thursday’s judicial hearing. The investigation began after a freshman pledge was transported to the emergency room at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in the early morning hours of Sept. 29 with symptoms of alcohol poisoning.

SLL director Stephan Lamb said though the actions of Alpha Phi did not meet the state penal code definition of hazing, they did fall in violation of the education code, which “casts a broader net” over its definition of hazing.

“In a pledge status, the whole concept is that the pledge wants membership into the organization, and the pledge therefore may do things they normally wouldn’t do because of that desire for affiliation,’” Lamb said. “And, in essence, they sort of lose free will because they feel compelled to behave in a certain way to gain membership. That could be, ‘I want to drink because everyone else is drinking, and I want to be a part of the membership.’”

Lamb said it was subtle peer pressure that occurred with Alpha Phi.

“It wasn’t this overt, ‘Hey, you drink this,’” he said. “There’s a difference there. The ‘Hey, you drink this’ goes into the penal code. The peer pressure is kind of the wider net.”

Lamb said what witnesses revealed during the investigation corresponded with what the freshman pledge told investigators.

“There was a series of events that occurred at off-campus sites, and we tried to talk to people at those venues to determine what they saw and what they experienced, so we could try to get a picture of what transpired over the evening,” he said.

The investigation focused on the first of the two parties, which Lamb said took place at the residence of Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) fraternity members. Though PIKE was at first under investigation along with Alpha Phi, there was not enough evidence, Lamb said, to link the PIKE students at the gathering to PIKE leadership.

The suspension follows the Thursday judicial hearing that included the executive board of Alpha Phi, the Cal Poly Greek Life staff and Lamb.

“Based upon that hearing, the findings were developed and the university response was created,” Lamb said.

In addition to the suspension, Alpha Phi members will also be undergoing training sessions regarding hazing, minors, alcohol and alcohol safety. Lamb said this will help the sorority return to the values of sisterhood and scholarship originally held by its founders.

“I think those (values) are still in place,” Lamb said. “But what’s strayed from that original purpose is a student culture both within and without the greek community that has a high relationship with alcohol.”

Alpha Phi has 10 days to appeal the suspension to the Cal Poly Vice President of Student Affairs, Cornel Morton.

Sean McMinn contributed to this article.

Join the Conversation

9 Comments

  1. “It wasn’t this overt, ‘Hey, you drink this,’” he said. “There’s a difference there. The ‘Hey, you drink this’ goes into the penal code. The peer pressure is kind of the wider net.”

    …sounds like every single college/high school party to me. Don’t put yourself in situations where you may be a danger to yourself if you don’t have the sense to say no. This is ridiculous to punish a sorority for doing something everyone in college does. If you get alcohol poisoning you are probably not ready to be on your own in college yet….go home.

    I hope they appeal.

    1. Chelsea,
      Greeks are held to different standard, like it or not. There are different rules regarding how many people from the same chapter can be at one party/event (as opposed to unaffiliated students from say a dorm) before it’s considered an unofficial event of the house. If you are greek and don’t know this, shame on your house. The rules are written and readily available–bummer your house didn’t educate you.

      1. There are also official rules regarding how many people can be at a house in general, Greek or not. I just think this is an unfair punishment. I’m not Greek but I think it’s strange people in the Greek system like you don’t try and support their fellow sororities and fraternities…it could be your own chapter next for all you know. “Shame on you”, stop getting off on Alpha Phi getting in trouble. It just makes you sound jealous and spiteful.

        1. I’m not Greek either, but this is BS. I mean, it sounds like from this that the girl went to another event, wasn’t forced to drink at all, and chose to. I think this isnt a shocking situation, a freshman choosing to drink at a party… Its just stupid.

        2. Chelsea/Bob,
          If you really aren’t greek, then you wouldn’t know this…but Alpha Phi is notorious for ignoring the Greek Alcohol Policy. They don’t care. The do what they want. I’m glad they got spanked because they bring heat on all greeks with their deliberate behavior. Too bad for them. Even worse that they can’t accept responsibility for their own actions and keep being the “but everyone does it” drum. Is that really their standard? “If everyone else does it–we’ll do it, too!” Lovely. Says a lot about their standards. None of us are perfect, but when you get cocky about playing by your own rules and get a reputation for getting wrecked at every event–you can’t expect a lot of greeks to rally around you–bad shade!

  2. Not a shocker. This house has been on social probation before, for alcohol related events–so this incident shouldn’t come as a surprise.

    1. Come on. Now you are making yourself look like an idiot…”they have not”. LOL. What is this? Third grade? This information is easily verifiable through the Greek Life director. Lamb hasn’t always been the director, but between Lamb’s records and Walt Lambert’s records (the previous greek adviser) you’ll get quite the colorful history if you ask for it. I’m surprise the Mustang Daily hasn’t done this themselves. I realize that your house probably did lead with this little tidbit when you guys were rallying the troops to bash the pledge who narked on you, and I’m not holding APhi out as the only one Greek house to be placed on social probation because of an alcohol violation, but in your situation, I promise you–it’s better to keep your mouth closed than keep saying “this has never happened before”. APhi needs to get it on lock and accept the fact that some very basic changes are necessary to the way they entertain their new members.

  3. Sounds like a bunch of you have a personal vendetta against the Greek system here. As a member of an organization that is associated with Cal Poly’s campus there are rules and responsibilities that come along with it. I am not denying that. But allow me to shoot a little perspective in your direction…

    Here’s the senario:

    You are a junior in a club on Cal Poly’s campus. Or hey! Even better… you are an athlete on Cal Poly’s campus.

    You can be seen as three things:

    1- a Cal Poly athlete
    2- an athlete on a specific team (mens/womens, volleyball, football, tennis, ect.)
    and
    3- an individual.

    (In the Greek system this would be :
    1- a member of the Cal Poly Greek system
    2- a member of a specific sorority/fraternity
    and
    3- an individual)

    Now, Mr. “for the one in denial” this is where you need to turn up the empathy and turn down your judgements. Just enjoy a walk in their shoes….

    Everyone is back in SLO and you are so excited to finally get to hang out with all friends and especially all of your brand new teammates!

    You go to an athlete party at the beginning of the school year. There are many different types of athletes in attendance; soccer, football, track, tennis, ect. Everyone is having a blast.

    Later in the night you come across one of your freshman teammates who is completely plastered. He/she is beginning to seem a liiiiiiitttle too hammered. Abnormally hammered. Your team captain decides to call 911, because it is better to be safe than sorry. You all agree that you would rather take your teammate to the hospital, to get treated for alcohol poisoning, than “risk”. And we all know what the potential risks are when it comes to excessive alcohol consumption.

    The next day you find out that your teammate returned home, scared and embarrassed but, thankfully, okay.

    Later that same day you hear that your entire team has been suspended from competing. You will not have an athletic season at all. Sorry.

    Your team is at the center of controversy. Every local media headline reads “CAL POLY ATHLETICS UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR ALCOHOL RELATED INCIDENT.”

    But the thing that really hurts you the most is the fact that barely anyone sympathizes. In fact, most of your peers stand against you, buying into every stereotype and misconception available.

    But hey, you totally deserve it. I mean, you are held to a “different standard” than everyone else.

    So the real question i’d like to pose is…. and please be honest with your answer: Does it seem fair that the entire group has been punished for an individual’s actions?

    The truth is, you clearly don’t know the truth. And if you have to ask the mustang daily, then you’re not going to get a very accurate representation of the truth.

    I would also like to add that this does not even take into account the fact that Alpha Phi was given their 73 new members only 24 hours before the incident. you try looking after 73 excited and eager new members….

    If you’re thinking “wow that seems like a lot of new people to look after”- you’re right.

    And if you’re also thinking “well maybe they shouldn’t have taken that many”- i absolutely agree… you can take that up with Cal Poly, considering they are the ones that ordered all of the sororities to take pledge classes of 73 new member. Who’s to blame now?

    So, before you bash Alpha Phi and the Greek system, you should consider exactly who you are bashing….

    Real talk.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.