Clemson University officials said late Tuesday evening that they have suspended all social and new-member initiation activities for 24 fraternities at the school, saying there had been “several” recent reports of violations of the law or student conduct code.
The move also came a day after a fraternity pledge was found dead underneath a bridge over Lake Hartwell. The Oconee County Coroner’s Office has said 19-year-old Tucker Hipps died from a head injury, likely after falling off the bridge. However, Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw has emphasized that there is “no indication” at this time that Hipps died as a result of fraternity hazing.
While Clemson officials referenced Hipps’ death, they did not give any direct link between it and illegal fraternity activities.
“It is especially prudent to suspend fraternity activities given the tragic death of Tucker Hipps. There has been a high number of reports of serious incidents involving fraternity activities, ranging from alcohol-related medical emergencies to sexual misconduct,” Student Affairs Vice President Gail DiSabatino said in a statement. “These behaviors are unacceptable and mandate swift and effective action to protect students. There is no higher priority than the safety and welfare of our students.”
The school said it had turned over any potential criminal issues to “appropriate law enforcement agencies.” Violations of the student code of conduct are being investigated by the university’s Office of Community and Ethical Standards.
Earlier this week, the Interfraternity Council voted to suspend activities. DiSabatino said student leaders would be involved as the school works to address the issues.