Tau Kappa Epsilon’s (TKE) Keene State chapter was investigated twice for hazing in the spring 2022 semester, with one resulting in conduct sanctions.

The sanctions include the chapter undergoing a hazing education, to be completed by October 1 or prior to the recruitment of a new pledge class. Additionally, the chapter must find an advisor by the start of the fall 2022 semester and was placed on conduct probation from April 26, 2022 to December 17, 2022. 

The sanctions placed on TKE were in response to an incident from the spring and summer of 2021, according to Kat Dougherty, assistant dean of students, which oversees Community Standards. The college became aware of the incidents in March of this year. 

In a May 24 interview with Dougherty, she said she was not at liberty to share the details of the incident with The Equinox. 

The Equinox filed an open-records request to obtain the investigation report. 

According to the investigation report, an at-the-time pledge of TKE got caught trash dumping “all over” along with other students. 

“[Redacted] advised that while he was pledging, they ‘were cleaning the house…it was his responsibility to dispose of the trash from the house,” the reporting party told Chris Buckley, director of Campus Safety. 

According to Buckley’s report of the phone interview with the reporting party, the potential new member (PNM) said he and the other students were caught by Keene Police Department. The “brothers” of TKE asked the PNM to “cover for them and take the charge.” 

The PNM told Buckley he initially did not want to cover for them, but if he did, he would get an automatic bid — an invitation to join a fraternity or sorority. 

The PNM agreed and received a misdemeanor, resulting in a $248 fine. Fraternity members gave the PNM $248 to cover the fine in cash. Later, the PNM did not receive a bid to the fraternity. 

The PNM said he did not receive a bid because he lit off a firework near the TKE house, and “the fraternity did not want him unnecessarily drawing attention to the house,” the report states. The PNM also advised that two members of the fraternity were believed to be below the GPA threshold and identified a student that was in the truck during the “littering incident.” 

In the interview between a TKE member who asked the PNM to vacuum his room and Buckley, the TKE member explained the PNM voluntarily took the money. 

“[Buckley] explained to [TKE member] that I / we at the college could see through the ‘voluntary’ part of their process,” the narrative said. 

Buckley told the TKE member that it is “time for TKE to change the way they are doing things.” Buckley explained it was obvious to everyone involved in the last investigation that “the response from the members was scripted.” 

The Equinox requested records relating to the “last investigation.” 

The fraternity was also under investigation after a student reported a potential hazing incident that occured in February 2022. 

According to the report, new members were in a group in front of the library in suits and ties. A member ran up to them and “They all talked when he arrived like ‘you’re fine you made it’.” 

The student goes on to report that the same group of men were running on Appleton Street towards the TKE house, wearing “suit shirts and red ties but no jackets.” The student notes it was freezing rain and the students were running in the slush-filled street. 

A cease and desist order was issued to the fraternity to pause new member education. Following this, Buckley and Assistant Director of Campus Safety Jessica Trombley interviewed current members of the fraternity as well as PNMs. 

There was a finding of responsibility from the incident regarding the trash dumping, however there was not with the February 2022 running incident, as there was no information to support that hazing had occurred, according to Jessica Gagne-Cloutier, director of student involvement. 

TKE’s sanctions include a conduct probation, meaning if they were to have another significant violation, there could be additional sanctions. The hazing education must be approved by the college and are working to secure an advisor, according to Gagne-Cloutier. 

“TKE International Fraternity partnered with Keene State College to develop a list of educational outcomes. No further action will be taken regarding the alleged incident at this time,” Gregory Roskopf, chief risk officer at TKE’s national office said. 

TKE’s president during the spring 2022 semester, David Anania, declined to comment. 

Tom Benoit can be contacted at

tbenoit@kscequinox.com

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