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Clemson Fraternities Under Fire

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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 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)

bridge

(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 …