Florida International University announced today it was suspending its Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity over Facebook posts apparently showing rampant drug dealing by frat brothers on campus.
The posts, obtained by Riptide, also show evidence of hazing, cheating on exams, and creep shots of naked women shared among the "Pike" frat brothers.
"Earlier this week, the University was made aware of Facebook postings which appear to be linked to the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity Kappa Gamma chapter and members of the fraternity," an FIU spokeswoman said. "The university is taking this information very seriously because it suggests possible Student Code of Conduct violations. The university took prompt action and placed the fraternity on interim suspension pending the outcome of investigations by appropriate university departments, including the police."
Riptide left repeated messages with Pi Kappa Alpha's national organization Wednesday, but they have not yet been returned. We will update as soon as we hear from the fraternity.
Update: Pi Kappa Alpha's national organization sent Riptide a statement: "The International Fraternity had no previous knowledge of this Facebook group and was informed of its existence on Tuesday, August 20, 2013. The International Fraternity has been assured of the chapter's full compliance with the temporary suspension and subsequent investigation."
Photos of the Facebook posts became public on Tuesday, when someone -- it isn't clear who or why -- sent them to school officials and the presidents of other FIU fraternities and sororities in an email titled "fiu pikes caught hazing and more." They were also sent to New Times.
The email contained nearly 70 screenshots pulled from Pi Kappa Alpha's "active page," a website used like a message board for frat brothers. The fraternity has reportedly deleted the page since then.
The photos have nonetheless landed like a bombshell on campus.
"This is troubling for a number of reasons," said one veteran member of the FIU Greek community who asked to remain anonymous. "They were apparently actively selling drugs to the Greek community and their own members. They were not even discreet about what they were doing. In fact, they refer to it on several occasions within the post as the 'pike pharmacy.'"
"This is definitely not the way a frat is supposed to behave," said the frat community insider, pointing out that the Pikes -- one of only two frat houses on campus -- were only recently taken off suspension.
He was keen to argue that the Facebook postings are not representative of all frats at FIU. "Some of these posts, it's obviously boys being boys. They should be looked at in some context," he said. "But the evidence of drug use and sale and distribution of narcotics speaks for itself."
But the photos go beyond drugs. Talk of hazing pledges could also land the frat in hot water, especially since the death of Robert Champion at FAMU in 2011.
"The hazing is definitely actionable," the Greek community insider said.
The leaked Facebook posts also include several photos of naked women. One picture, of a topless coed reclining on a bed, includes the comment: "i think she was 17 at the time of the titi pics LOL."
"The people I feel most sorry about is the women towards the end who are singled out," the FIU Greek insider said. "The poor girl wearing their shirt that they took issue with, I can't even imagine the type of self-esteem issues that that would generate."
Other photos seem to show Pikes placing a pig's head on a rival frat's doorknob:
And comments posted afterward warning brothers not to leave a "trail" of evidence:
The last photo seems to show Pikes talking about developing a database of papers and exams in order to cheat:
Already suspended by FIU, Pike members could potentially face a police investigation over the photos.
"If I were them, I would certainly be worried about a criminal investigation," said the Greek insider. "They are a fraternity, but they are referring to their frat as the 'Pike Pharmacy' and procuring and distributing drugs not only to their own members but to the FIU community at large.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
"I think it does warrant a criminal investigation," he said.
"How can anybody believe in today's day and age that anything will remain private? If you want to talk shit, by all means talk it. But when you put it in writing, you are pretty much associating yourself with those words -- you can't take it back; it's out there for the world to see."