The alleged hazing event at Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) reported in the campus safety log on Saturday, Jan. 26 was at least partially related to an annual activity titled “Graffi-TKE,” according to Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC) president and senior Jake Brown. The activity involves members wearing white T-shirts and writing messages on each other’s shirts.
“That’s one of the things they do that I think caused some people to turn heads, but … I know it doesn’t violate any policies or rules,” Brown, who is not a member of TKE, said. “It’s just a fun-spirited activity they do for their new members. It’s just like an ice breaker you would do at a corporate event or whatever.”
Jan. 26 was “Calling Out” night, in which new fraternity members are welcomed by IFC and then split up to go to their respective houses, where Brown says “ritual” is conducted. According to him, each house’s rituals are kept secret among the members, so Brown did not disclose what TKE’s rituals include.
However, Brown told TKS that “Graffi-TKE” is a well-known activity that most TKE chapters across America participate in, and is not part of their ritual. TKS could not confirm this information.
The administration is also aware of the Graffi-TKE event, due to an incident in 2009 when two former members of TKE wrote an 11-page letter to TKS detailing their experience with hazing in the fraternity. According to the letter, then president of TKE wrote things such as “I’m TKE’s bitch” on the shirts, which only pledges were wearing. Since then, the activity has changed so that all TKE members wear the shirts.
“Everything could go wrong with the wrong group of people, I would not say this event is any more prone to that than anything else,” Brown said. “I think that TKE understands the gravity of these things and respects their members and I know TKE takes these things very seriously, things like hazing and respecting their members.”
Brown says that there is a judiciary system in place where IFC works alongside the administration when they believe that college or IFC policies were violated. However, he said that official process was never started. Instead, after hearing about the report and the rumors surrounding it on Sunday, Brown began interviewing current members of TKE. Other executive members of IFC took statements from new TKE members as well.
At that point, IFC decided that nothing that had occurred violated any IFC or the college policies. While Brown said that the rumors were not untrue, he said that they were “misrepresented and misunderstood.”
“Greek life here at Knox is very different, that’s one thing that we always try to communicate to the general student body. … The things you hear that happens at other schools are not the kind of things that happen here,” Brown said. “I think every student knows Knox is different from the rest of college life and I think that also extends into Greek life.