One day after the University of Louisiana at Lafayette publicly acknowledged that hazing from Kappa Sigma may have led to the tragic crash that killed an international UL student back in 2016, News 15 is uncovering how the university kept its hazing investigation under wraps.
Although the general public didn’t know of Kappa Sigma’s suspension until News 15 reported on it in late September, a draft of the letter notifying the UL Greek Community of the suspension had been circulating in Martin Hall since early August.
The letter urged Greeks to not comment outside of the fraternity and sorority community, instead referring all media requests to the Office of Communications and Marketing.
One dean of student personnel, Heidi Lindsey, emailed Dean of Students Margarita Perez on Aug. 14 saying, “We’re ready to send this, just in case someone leaks it, do you want Aaron to know that we’re sending this?”
Aaron Martin is the chief communications officer of the university.
Other media outlets also contacted the university about the investigation in late August.
Perez then told Martin that the Dean of Students personnel who received the emails “knows not to respond until we tell them.”
Out of hundreds of pages of reports, notes and emails we’ve received from UL about its investigation after requesting any and all correspondence related to the effort, not one of them was initiated from Martin or any higher level administrators at the university.
In defense of the university, Assistant Dean of Students Erica Schwartz did send an email to a Kappa Sigma representative expressing concern on Nov. 14, immediately after the crash that took Rustam Nizamutdinov’s life.
In February, after the Kappa Sigma national organization had cleared the UL chapter of any wrongdoing and was ready to reinstate its charter, the administration shut down that effort and kept the chapter on suspension while it performed its own investigation, which it presented to the national organization at the end of April.
In July, the UL chapter was expelled from the Kappa Sigma organization.
According to documents from the university, four of its other fraternities, Theta Xi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Nu and Kappa Alpha, are either operating on a probational basis or under suspension.
Theta XI, Sigma Nu and Kappa Alpha are allowed to operate within supervisory restrictions, while Sigma Alpha Epsilon is suspended, with no further documentation of its status given.
One sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, is currently under suspension after its regional office received reports of fighting, hazing and falsification of reports.