Clemson Fraternities Under Fire

STUDENT’S MYSTERIOUS DEATH DRAWS ATTENTION TO “GREEK LIFE” DANGERS To hear students tell it, the death of 19-year-old Clemson University student Tucker Hipps earlier this week was the result of a fraternity ritual gone wrong … We’re currently investigating the specifics of those claims … which have been flatly rebuked by local…


To hear students tell it, the death of 19-year-old Clemson University student Tucker Hipps earlier this week was the result of a fraternity ritual gone wrong …

We’re currently investigating the specifics of those claims … which have been flatly rebuked by local law enforcement.

“There has been speculation and innuendo, especially on social media, regarding whether hazing played a part in the death of Tucker Hipps,” Oconee County sheriff Mike Crenshaw said mere hours after Hipps body was pulled from a river near the Clemson campus. “So far, there has been no indication in the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office investigation that hazing played a part in the death of Tucker Hipps.”

Wow … that’s quite a definitive statement to make less than twenty-four hours into an investigation.

We know that Hipps was on an “early morning run” on Monday morning with his fraternity brothers – who reportedly claim he held back during the run because he felt “off.”  When Hipps failed to show for breakfast they got worried, so the story goes, and at 2:00 p.m. EDT they informed campus police that he was missing.

According to an autopsy report, Hipps – a former high school football player – died as a result of head trauma sustained during an “unsupported fall” from a bridge near the Clemson campus.

How he is alleged to have fallen remains unclear … but students tell us this bridge is part of a “particular tradition” for Hipps’ fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon.

“You jump in and have to swim to the other side,” one student explained to FITS.

Here’s the bridge in question …

(Click to enlarge)


(Via Google)

Hipps is the second Clemson fraternity member to die under questionable circumstances in as many years.  Last October another 19-year-old fraternity member – Timothy Michael Reece, Jr. of Sullivans Island, S.C. – died at Clemson.  Reece belonged to the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, and multiple sources tell FITS his death was related to his association with the organization.

Clemson has suspended all fraternity-related “education” activities in the wake of Hipps’ death.

“It is especially prudent to suspend fraternity activities given the tragic death of Tucker Hipps,” the school’s student affairs vice president said in a statement. “There has been a high number of reports of serious incidents involving fraternity activities, ranging from alcohol-related medical emergencies to sexual misconduct.  These behaviors are unacceptable and mandate swift and effective action to protect students.  There is no higher priority than the safety and welfare of our students.”

In related news, Clemson is currently being sued related to an alleged hazing incident associated with its women’s soccer program.  In that suit – news of which broke exclusively on FITS – officials at the school are alleged to have covered up the particulars of the hazing.

Anyway, stay tuned.  We’ll bring you more information on the Hipps case as soon as we have it …

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CNSYD September 24, 2014 at 10:32 am

Saw a report in the Greenville News that a USC frat was under suspension. What is that about?

Jackie Chiles September 24, 2014 at 10:46 am

Under suspension vs. maybe killed someone. Fits is really missing the lead here.

Will Folks aka Sic September 24, 2014 at 10:55 am

yeah what was I thinking!

The Colonel September 24, 2014 at 11:10 am

Delta Tau Delta – suspended for violating rush policies, having alcohol at parties where alcohol was not permitted and a couple of other violations. The suspension was warranted – though really meaningless, the chapter has their own house (not USC property).

euwe max September 24, 2014 at 2:36 pm

A frat is under suspension when no more frat can be added to the alcohol. The solution can no longer support the frat when it reaches a state such that adding one more molecule of frat to the alcohol causes a Republican to fall out of the solution.

Also called “a southern state.”

CNSYD September 24, 2014 at 10:57 am

That’s quite a band of brothers. One of their guys was feeling “off” on a early morning group run so they wish him the best and kept on trucking? Quality individuals. His blood is on their hands.

xx September 24, 2014 at 6:51 pm

well said.

Really? September 24, 2014 at 11:09 am

Is there such thing as a “supported fall”?

????????? September 24, 2014 at 11:17 am

I think that would refer to something like a bungee jump or sky dive, where you have a device to support the fall…just my guess.

ER lingo September 24, 2014 at 11:26 am

actually it is a medical way to say that someone landed on their head.

euwe max September 24, 2014 at 2:25 pm

It can also mean that your donors hire you as a “consultant” because you agreed to run, even though you knew you’d lose.

Also referred to as “supported fail.”

ladycock September 25, 2014 at 9:59 am

unsupported or unassisted? This sounds fishy to me.

ladycock September 25, 2014 at 9:58 am

The State newspaper called it an “unassisted fall”. What does that mean?

Yoda September 24, 2014 at 11:14 am

The students would likely know the real truth. After all, they are right in the heart of what goes on around campus, etc, among their peers. Students share information and gossip.
There is plenty of reasoning for Clemson officials to try Jedi mind tricks.

Philip Branton September 24, 2014 at 11:26 am

*****….meanwhile, over at the Century 21 real estate office….***

Agent Orange: ” This is just awful……a kid getting shafted by his pals in a frat….”

Agent 007: ” Yeah…….talk about getting shafted. Look how Wil Folks is giving his readers the shaft with this article here in the Post and Courier…

Agent Orange: “What do you mean….?”

Agent 007: “Well …is ROSE Manigault related to PIERRE Manigault who owns the Post and Courier..? THe same press that takes advertising from corporations and the State Ports Authority and other Government “ties” who actually “Domain” heirs property and screw BLACK people as well as WHITE taxpayers at the same time…?

Agent Orange: “WOW……the Post and Courier FRAT “choked” how many heirs property descendants in the “Neck Area” from Calhoun to the Navy Base….alone…?”

Agent 007: “God …we are going to make a fortune in commissions……”

hopsandbarley September 24, 2014 at 11:50 am

SigEp describes hazing as..

“Therefore, hazing has no place in Sigma Phi Epsilon. Hazing is a criminal act in most states. Hazing activities are defined as:

Any action taken or situation created, whether on or off fraternity premises, to produce
mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule. Such activities may include, but are not limited to, the following: use of alcohol; paddling in any form; creation of excessive fatigue; physical and psychological shocks; morally degrading or humiliating games and activities; late work sessions which interfere with scholastic activities; and any other activities which are not consistent with fraternal law or ritual, the regulations and policies of the educational institution or applicable local, state, or federal law.”

Seems like a “voluntary” 5:30am group run is right on the line, if not over it. Maybe the Clemson administration and Sheriff don’t wake up before 7am. If they did they see plenty of male students doing “voluntary” physical training, if they spoke to any of those students, they’d find out most are not in ROTC or sports, but pledging a fraternity and everyone doing the exercises is a pledge who has been told they must be there.

vicupstate September 25, 2014 at 8:40 am

Go to Downtown Greenville at 5:30 AM on any morning, and you will see lots of runners of all ages. Not a single one is pledging a fraternity.

CJ September 25, 2014 at 4:58 pm

How many people do you see jumping off a bridge at 7AM?

vicupstate September 25, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Did hopsandbarley saying anything about jumping form a bridge? No, he said there was something suspicious about running at 5:30 am.

We don’t know if he jumped, was pushed or forced off at gunpoint. Where you there?

VoiceofReason September 24, 2014 at 11:59 am

Again, idiots! Please stop drinking the Fits kool aid and wake up to the facts.

Fits is not a law enforcement agency and is not a real news organization. It is nothing more than misfits who either make things up or stretch the truth. The owner and writers have some serious reality issues.

a face in the crowd September 24, 2014 at 12:05 pm

No one cares about your blind faith in South Carolina authority. Clemson distorts facts as a way of existence, and people have every right to be suspicious of “official” information. Go back to the MSM and read about the upcoming football game.

e norma scok September 24, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Seriously? Someone dies and you immediately jump to the often repeated Gamecock “they cheated!!1!”


a face in the crowd September 24, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Sorry if you misunderstood a very basic assertion: The Clemson administration lies regularly in an attempt to preserve the image of the university, and it therefore would come as little surprise if it distorted events that occurred here.

Todd Ellis rides a moped September 25, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Or perhaps Clemson has a better image as a University than USC because it’s better.

a face in the crowd September 25, 2014 at 1:43 pm

My comment had nothing to do with the University of South Carolina, but with STATE of South Carolina and the propensity of its public officials (authority figures) to distort facts. And for the record, the term “Clemsoning” has never been more popular. Its use is even expanding.

hopsandbarley September 24, 2014 at 12:35 pm

If this kid didn’t show up for the “group run” was there a penalty from the fraternity, if so what was it?
Why was the run scheduled for 5:30am?
Who was on the run with him? brothers or pledges?
What did they do before the run?
What time did he go to bed?
Did “voluntary” pledge functions prevent him from going to bed early enough for a early am run?
Why did Clemson suspend all fraternities only after he died?

Fits may be writing click bait, but you can’t ignore some very basic questions that have not been answered.

HelpWanted-LawyersForFratBoys September 24, 2014 at 6:56 pm


vicupstate September 25, 2014 at 8:32 am

“but you can’t ignore some very basic questions that have not been answered.”

Yes, so let’s wait for the authorities to get the answers, and not jump to conclusions. Didn’t the Duke Lacrosse case teach us anything?

There is NOTHING unusual about running at 5:30 am. Hundreds of thousands of people do that or something similar every day. Given he was 19 years old, unless he was TOTALLY sleep deprived, it probably isn’t relevant. How many college students pull an all-nighter studying?

Clemson suspended the fraternities when there was a REASON to do so. Since hazing is a possibility, it makes sense to do so, better to err on the side of caution. What reason existed prior to this to justify a suspension? Anyone can Monday morning quarterback a tragedy.

VoiceofTruth September 24, 2014 at 12:56 pm

You are the one with the reality issues

xx September 24, 2014 at 6:54 pm

Fits doesn’t claim to be a law enforcement agency. Fits is as real as they come for news organization. WIS, for example, gives descriptions of burglars without mentioning race, because it’s not “politically correct.”

vicupstate September 25, 2014 at 8:35 am

Or maybe WIS doesn’t mention race because it isn’t relevant.

No one with any understanding for journalist standards would call FITS a news organization.

ladycock September 25, 2014 at 9:54 am

@Vicupstate – Race is a very important detail in identifying a criminal, as is gender, height, weight and clothing. You are an idiot!.

vicupstate September 25, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Did WIS provide the height, weight, and clothing and only leave out the race? Then you might have a point. If they only reported that a crime occurred, it is not relevant.

Rip Taylor September 24, 2014 at 12:06 pm

I blame CU banning kegs and on-campus parties in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Back then, you could have your drinking and debauchery but you didn’t have to go driving around town and making up stupid stuff like morning runs to get your jollies. Drink where you live man, drink where you live.

e norma scok September 24, 2014 at 2:46 pm

What started that was when Shannon Gill got hammered and did a nosedive from the third story ledge from a frat dorm…on a ledge that was 6″ the rain, at night. She impaled herself on some holly bushes below.

University paid dearly for that one, and stopped all the fun by pushing it all off campus.

Timmy Tebow September 25, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Campus Life: Clemson; Student’s Death Raises Questions About Drinking

Published: January 7, 1990

The death of a 20-year-old sophomore at Clemson University has raised questions about drinking by under-age students on campus.

The student, Shannon Gill, died of a ruptured aorta about two hours after falling from a 27-foot-high ledge at the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house in the early-morning hours of Dec. 8. Tests showed Miss Gill’s blood-alcohol content was 0.17 – almost double the state’s legal level for being under the influence.

A final ruling in the death is expected in the second week in January, at the earliest.

”We have no clear indication that there was foul play, but we haven’t ruled that out, and we won’t rule it out until we have talked to everyone,” said John McKenzie, a spokesman for Clemson’s campus police, which is investigating the incident. Even a sober person would have had great difficulty navigating the two-inch-wide ledge she was trying to walk on, Mr. McKenzie said.

Much of the investigation into her death is focusing on how Miss Gill obtained alcohol in the hours before her death, Mr. McKenzie said. The drinking age in South Carolina is 21.

A Rare Death on Campus

The police are also investigating a driver’s license belonging to another person that was found in Miss Gill’s belongings. The license, which had the birth date of someone over 21, had a picture on it that resembled Miss Gill.

About six or seven of Clemson’s 15,000 students die each year, said Manning N. Lomax, student affairs vice president. Most of those deaths occur away from the 1,400-acre campus of the public
university, in automobile accidents or other mishaps. Consequently, the 28-officer Clemson campus police force rarely investigates a death.

But Mr. McKenzie said the campus department can handle this case. The police have talked to about 40 people, and plan to see 15 to 20 more, he said.Second semester classes begin Jan. 10.

The campus police are receiving assistance from the South Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission in tracking the owner of the license that Miss Gill had.

With a Friend

University officials say Miss Gill attended an Alpha Tau Omega party on campus the night she died. The police said a friend of Miss Gill, Brian Leslie, a 19-year-old freshman from Irmo, S.C., was locked out of his room, and he and Miss Gill considered trying to enter his room by walking along the narrow ledge.

Mr. Leslie crawled out of a nearby window onto the ledge, thought better of it, and came back in, the police said. Then Miss Gill went out the window and fell.

The police version of events is based on statements by Mr. Leslie and another Alpha Tau Omega member. Mr. Leslie has declined to comment publicly.

No charges have been filed. University officials say the fraternity may face sanctions. Under Clemson rules, fraternity chapters on the campus cannot hold functions at which alcohol is consumed within seven days of exams. Exams were just three days away when the party was held.

E Norma Scok September 25, 2014 at 10:41 pm

I remember it well. I was there.

Rip Taylor September 25, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Yep, I recall that….she was trying to get from one room into a locked room. That ended the kegs on campus, but still, for a few years after that, you could use your tiger stripe card to buy beer in the student union at Edgars. It was good times for sure.

----------------- September 24, 2014 at 12:55 pm

He could have jumped off the bridge as a requirement for hazing – right into water too shallow for such a jump. Based on body weight and depth of water, height the jump was taken from, if he jumped feet first or head first or spun in the air. Its quiet possible it was hazing. I find it bizarre as to how quick Clemson authorities are to get this case behind them when so many students are saying it was hazing.

euwe max September 24, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Hazing is a Southern Tradition… South Carolina is all about tradition – except when it comes to voting fore Republicans.

Todd September 24, 2014 at 4:20 pm

The most likely culprit is the perennially crappy water levels at Hartwell. There is no excuse for leaving a man behind to cover your ass though. Makes you wonder if he could have survived if someone had pulled him out and called EMS. The tox screen will tell us a lot.

navy060923 September 24, 2014 at 8:01 pm

Way too much to read, but click on this:

This was particularly interesting:

Chapters that do not live up to the ideals of Sigma Phi Epsilon bring dishonor and disgrace to our name. The Journal reports these stories to inform its readers and to show that actions have consequences. Texas Beta, University of North Texas Reason: Hazing Action: Alumni Advisory Council After reports of alleged hazing activity within the chapter. The National Board of Directors authorized the formation of an Alumni Advisory Council in an effort to select undergraduate members who possess the qualities and commitment essential to build a strong chapter on the University of North Texas campus. On November 26, 2007, all members were suspended pending a review by the Alumni Advisory Council. Eighteen members were removed from the chapter after the interview process. They were removed for various reasons such as their involvement in hazing new members, poor academics and not living up to the ideals of the Fraternity. The chapter is working with local volunteers, the University of North Texas and Sigma Phi Epsilon to build a successful chapter. M;)rvl;)nrl 7pta. <i;)llr<:ltu Reason: Risk Management and declining academic performance Action: Alumni Advisory Council On December 1, 2007, the Maryland Zeta chapter held its Winter Formal at an area hotel. The hotel reported to the university that the members and their guests behaved badly during their stay and were seen drinking, shouting and littering. The hotel also stated that there were reports of other "inappropriate acts" such as vomiting, profanity and rudeness to the hotel guests. In addition to the risk management problems, the chapter was not holding its membership accountable, and they were suffering from poor academics. A group of alumni volunteered to aid the chapter in addressing these issues. As a result, the National Board of Directors authorized the formation of an Alumni Advisory Council to sort out which members were committed to creating a good SigEp chapter at Salisbury. Those members not performing up to the appropriate academic level were removed from the chapter. The chapter is working closely with local alumni, the university and SigEp improve and rebuild a strong chapter."

Tomocchio September 24, 2014 at 10:55 pm

I heard the rumor the pledges all had to do a “Jameis”. They had to climb up on the rail and yell “f*** her right in the p****”. Also had to do shots if they didn’t yell it right or not loud enough.


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