Lawyer demands UCF end Greek Life ban over lack of due process

Published On: Mar 25 2013 11:55:16 AM EDT
Updated On: Mar 25 2013 01:22:57 PM EDT
ORLANDO, Fla. -

A lawyer on behalf of the North-American Interfraternity Conference is demanding the University of Central Florida end its Greek Life ban on Monday because he says it was instituted without due process.

According to a letter from Attorney Francis E. Pierce to W. Scott Cole of UCF, the conference requests the immediate end of the suspension of Greek Life activities at UCF.

"We hereby demand that the University immediately end the current suspension of all fraternity and sorority activities," Pierce writes."We also demand cancellation of the use of the process called the 'Way Forward' as a prerequisite for 'reinstatement.'"

The lawyer represents clients with chapters at UCF, such as Alpha Epsilon Pi, Alpha Tau Omega, Beta Theta Pi, Delta Upilson, Kappa Alpha Psi, Lambda Chi Alpa, Sigma Pi, Sigma Chi, Sigma Nu, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Theta Chi and Zeta Beta Tau.

The letter points out the fraternities "do not wish to litigate these matters unless required to do so." A lawsuit has not been filed yet and reaffirmation hearings will be conducted on Monday by a newly formed UCF committee, which was created to hear presentations by Greek organizations hoping to be reinstated.

Chapters will  be notified of their standing by April 1, which was earlier than first planned, according to UCF officials.

The concerns from the conference were first made public on Friday, when NIC President and CEO Peter Smithhisler told Local 6 he would have preferred for the university to have reached out to his organization prior to implementing the unprecedented action at UCF to halt Greek life activities.

"Our primary concern is making sure that all the chapters at UCF have their activities restored and they can continue on with processes they have in place, especially the new member education process," Smithhisler said Monday, adding that lawyers from both sides had a long talk Friday and everyone agreed that they wanted a positive fraternity experience at UCF. 

What it appears both sides have not agreed upon, however, is the best way to get there. 

Local 6 has learned that the fraternity lawyers have advised their clients not to answer certain questions which they consider to be intrusive during the presentations before the committee. It's unclear how UCF will respond to fraternities following the legal advice not to answer certain questions. Local 6 has also learned the threat of litigation has not been taken off the table. 

The ban on all Greek Life at UCF comes in the wake of a hazing scandal, which resulted in the suspension of three fraternities.

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