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Anthony: “With Friends Like These”




|| By LEN ANTHONY ||  Let’s start with the undisputed facts:

1) On September 22, 2014, Tucker Hipps and 26 of this fellow Sigma Phi Epsilon pledges were required by the fraternity to engage in a pre-dawn run that took them over a bridge that spans Lake Hartwell.  They were accompanied by three SigEp brothers.

2) During the run Hipps went over the bridge guard rail and fell to his death.

3) As of this date, six months later, none of the other runners has any knowledge of how Hipps went over the guard rail and died.

Now, let’s turn to the allegations of the wrongful death complaint filed last week by Hipps’ parents.  I believe it’s safe to say these are allegations that anyone familiar with fraternities would have no trouble believing:

1) Hipps was ordered by the fraternity brothers to purchase McDonald’s breakfasts for the 30 runners using his own funds.

2) Hipps did not have the money to make the purchase.

3) The three fraternity brothers were mad at Tucker for not buying breakfast.

4) Ordering pledges to jump off the bridge into Lake Hartwell was a fraternity tradition.

Next, we have the unbelievable:

1) Not a single one of the 29 other runners saw, heard or knows anything about how Hipps ended up dead in Lake Hartwell.

2) Not a single member of the fraternity has stepped forward questioning the credibility of these 29 young men.

3)  The only media report in which any of the parents of the 29 runners address Hipps’ death involves the parents of individual defendant Sam Carney – who was one of the three fraternity brothers who participated in the run.  Carney’s parents told their son to tell the authorities the truth about what happened to Hipps. (We are waiting).

4) There has been no report that the national SigEp organization has stepped forward to encourage the fraternity members of the Clemson chapter to tell the authorities what they know.

5) The fraternity would have us believe Hipps voluntarily climbed or jumped over the guard rail into the lake without any urging by a member of the fraternity while no was watching – and that no one missed him until several hours later.

6) Hipps’ parents have been forced to file suit against Clemson, the fraternity and three individual fraternity brothers to find out what happened to their son.

Wow, and these are the “lifelong true friends” fraternities advertise young men will make when they become members? With friends like these …

Len Anthony spent thirty years as in-house counsel for a public utility.  He’s now semi-retired living in North Myrtle Beach, S.C.  

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