After 32 years of brotherhood, the men of Pi Kappa Epsilon (PKE) have chosen to self-disband.
Senior Blake Gary, former president of PKE, said some members of the club brought alcohol to PKE’s first-round reception with potential members present. Gary said the majority of the club was unaware of the incident until the deans told them that there was a possibility for an investigation.
According to Gary, the deans gave PKE officers a choice: they could face an investigation for violating the university’s alcohol policy or they could self-disband.
“We felt it was in the best interest of PKE to self-disband,” Gary said. “Because of what we learned during club week about brotherhood, we couldn’t let a small group get in major trouble. By self-disbanding, everything just kind of went away. No one got in trouble and everything was fine.”
Zach Neal, dean of students, did not comment on the specifics of the situation, but said he wants to be respectful to all involved.
“Harding has a longstanding practice of not releasing or discussing information pertaining to disciplinary proceedings,” Neal said. “We are consistent in our policies and procedures with importance placed on respecting the privacy of students and organizations.”
Senior Carter House, former activities director of PKE, said the situation was serious, and members did not take lightly the decision to self-disband.
“It was a very serious offense for the fact that it was at a mixer on campus and involved alcohol,” House said. “By definition, what (the deans) were talking to us about would have to go into the books as hazing. There was a lot more at stake than just getting kicked out for a semester. Whoever it was was facing expulsion. We did not even ask the guys to step forward. Self-disbanding was the only thing that made sense.”
According to the Arkansas anti-hazing law, “Upon the conviction of any student of the offense of hazing, he or she shall, in addition to any punishment imposed by the court, be expelled from the school, college, or university, or other educational institution he or she is attending.”
Gary and House both said it was difficult to have to put an end to the club they loved, but that they are proud of the way the club responded.
“We took the punishment as a whole club instead of individuals being punished,” Gary said. “I think that speaks volumes about what PKE stands for and what we are taught about brotherhood.”
Gary said he and the other officers worked closely with the deans as they went through the process of self-disbanding.
“There are no hard feelings between PKE and the deans,” Gary said. “The deans have been very helpful through all of this and very understanding.”
According to Gary, after the decision was made to disband, the students who were looking to join PKE were encouraged to attend receptions for other clubs. He said that as a consequence of disbanding, former members were asked to wait a year until joining another club.