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Saturday, June 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Latino Pledge Says|Fraternity Defamed Him

TUCSON (CN) — A University of Arizona student sued Sigma Chi fraternity and nine of its members, claiming they conspired to blame him for the overdose of an underage sorority pledge at an off-campus party because he's Latino.

Tyler Alev says the Beta Phi Chapter of Sigma Chi was already on probation when it hosted the Oct. 7, 2015 party, and was "prohibited from hosting, attending or participating in any organizational events." Nonetheless, he says in the Oct. 7 complaint in Pima County Court, they hosted the party for new members and for the Alpha Phi Sorority.

A new member of Alpha Phi, drunk and high on cocaine at the party, had to be hospitalized, Alev says in the complaint. He says he "had no contact" with the young woman, but was selected for the "reputation sacrifice" because he was "one of the few Hispanic members of the fraternity."

As he left the party, he says, one of its defendant members hazed him by "burn(ing) his bicep with a cigarette," leaving a scar he believes will be permanent.

Five days later, Alev says, another defendant fraternity member read a false statement at a fraternity meeting accusing him of forcing the woman to do cocaine, and a third defendant member said, also falsely, that the woman had blamed him for it.

Alev calls this "a calculated falsehood" designed to defame him "with the slanderous imputation of a serious crime of moral turpitude."

Sigma Chi kicked him out, he says.

It's unclear whether university officials have taken any action in the matter.

Trace Camacho, assistant dean of students for the university's Fraternity & Sorority Programs, told Courthouse News that the incident "was reported to the dean of students' office."

He would not confirm that the fraternity was on probation at the time of the party, as the lawsuit alleges.

Sigma Chi is in good standing, according to a university website that lists code of conduct violations for fraternities and sororities.

Alev's attorney, William Risner, declined to comment.

Brian Kewin, fraternity president and a defendant, had no comment.

The eight other defendants are all named in the lawsuit.

Michael Church, executive director of Sigma Chi's national headquarters in Evanston, Ill., said the organization does not comment on active litigation.

Alev seeks punitive damages for defamation and mental suffering. He says punitive damages are warranted because the defendants' actions were done with "an evil mind."

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