UH fraternity indicted for 2016 hazing incident

HOUSTON – KPRC 2 Investigates has learned that the University of Houston’s Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity has been indicted by a grand jury for a second time.

It's a rare move for a grand jury to indict an entire group and not a list of individuals.

This same fraternity was indicted in November 2016.

According to sources, the previous indictment "did not adequately track the relevant statutory language."

The previous indictment was "quashed," and when that happens, prosecutors are able to make adjustments and bring the case back before a grand jury.

The grand jury again voted to indict the fraternity for the unlawful hazing of one of its pledge members in November 2016.

The indictment was handed over Monday.

Students react

Several UH students had opinions on the developments.

"Hazing is just a tradition that happens in fraternities. Sometimes it can kind of get out of hand," Jerico Mekonen said.

"I was actually going to try to join a fraternity, but I know that the hazing event happened and I was, like, wait a minute, that’s not for me," Joel Cerda said.

Others said they believe it was an isolated incident.

"I don’t think that happens often, it was probably just one incident of it. It's just unfortunate," Chandler Diaz said.

Statement from UH:

"In October 2017, the University of Houston took administrative action to suspend the UH chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity for activities that violate the University hazing policy, which is consistent with the Texas Education Code. In 2017, the UH Police Department coordinated with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in investigating these activities, which revealed violations that occurred off-campus in 2016.

"We are grateful that our county partners have delivered a stern message through the grand jury’s decision against the fraternity, that such behavior, which jeopardizes the wellbeing of our students, will not be tolerated.

"Our University takes pride in the camaraderie and well-rounded experience of our students, and for many, that includes participating in fraternity and sorority life. We take seriously our responsibility to train our fraternities and sororities to adhere to University policy and laws against hazing and the need to conduct themselves in a safe manner.

"Background: UH placed the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity under interim suspension on July 21, 2017, until completion of an administrative investigation. The current suspension expires in October 2023. Hazing is defined in Sec. 3.16 of the UH Student Code of Conduct, consistent with Sec. 37.151 of the Texas Education Code."