Pi Kappa Alpha

Pi Kappa Alpha (ΠΚΑ), commonly known as PIKE, is a college fraternity founded at the University of Virginia in 1868. The fraternity has over 225 chapters and colonies across the United States and abroad with over 15,500 undergraduate members over 300,000 lifetime initiates.

Pi Kappa Alpha
FoundedMarch 1, 1868 (1868-03-01)
University of Virginia
Colors     Garnet
     Old Gold
SymbolThe Oak Tree, Shield & Diamond, Dagger & Key
FlowerLily of the Valley
PublicationShield and Diamond
Members15 (2014)[2] collegiate
300,000[1] lifetime
Headquarters8347 West Range Cove
Memphis, Tennessee
United States

The fraternity's vision statement is "To set the standard of integrity, intellect, achievement for our members, host institutions, and the communities in which we live."[3]


Pi Kappa Alpha was founded on March 1, 1868, at 47 West Range (The Range) at the University of Virginia by six graduate students: Robertson Howard, Julian Edward Wood, James Benjamin Sclater Jr., Frederick Southgate Taylor, Littleton Waller Tazewell (Bradford) and William Alexander.[4] On March 1, 1869, exactly one year after the Alpha chapter at the University of Virginia was formed, the Beta chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha was founded at Davidson College.[5] Theta chapter, at Rhodes College, took over the responsibilities of Alpha chapter when the Fraternity was in decline in its infancy. John Shaw Foster, a junior founder from Theta chapter, helped to reestablish Alpha chapter at the University of Virginia. Theta chapter is the longest continual running chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha, having been founded in 1878. After almost a decade of decline, Pi Kappa Alpha was "re-founded" as part of the Hampden–Sydney Convention, held in a dorm room at Hampden–Sydney College. The four delegates to the Hampden–Sydney Convention are referred to as the Junior Founders. Pi Kappa Alpha was not originally organized as a sectional fraternity, however by constitutional provision it became so in 1889.[6] It remained a southern fraternity until the New Orleans Convention in 1909 when Pi Kappa Alpha officially declared itself a national organization.[7]

Like many other social fraternities at the time, Pi Kappa Alpha limited its membership to white men. The race restriction was removed in 1964.[8]


Its rituals are based on Independent Order of Odd Fellows.[9]

Shield & Diamond

Shield & Diamond is the official quarterly publication of Pi Kappa Alpha. It was first printed in December 1890 by Robert Adger Smythe, the then Grand Secretary and Treasurer, under the name The Pi Kappa Alpha Journal. The name was changed to Shield & Diamond in 1891.[7]

Foundation and educational programs

Pike University

Pike University is the name used for all of the fraternity's leadership programs. The program is administered by the fraternity's professional staff.[10] Founded in 1948 as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization for charitable, literary & educational purposes. Events held by the university include International Convention, the Academy, the Chapter Executives Conference, and several regional Leadership Summits. Pike University grants more than $100,000 in scholarships each year.

The Pike Foundation

In 1948, Pi Kappa Alpha established and chartered the "Pi Kappa Alpha Memorial Foundation" as a 501(c)(3) organization.[11] The foundation grants $350,000 in scholarships and grants to undergraduate members each year. It also provides funding to the fraternity and its chapters for leadership programs, scholarships, and chapter house facilities. The foundation grants initiation fee scholarships to undergraduates inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, Order of Omega, Phi Kappa Phi, and Tau Beta Pi honoraries.[7][12] The Pike Foundation also maintains and operates the Memorial Headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee. This facility houses professional staffs, the Harvey T. Newell Library, and the Freeman Hart Museum.[13] The building is a war memorial built in 1988 to recognize the military services of members who died in the line of duty.[13] A Gold Star Memorial was dedicated on August 1, 2008.[13][14][15]

Controversies and sexual assault cases

In 1976, Samuel Mark Click, a pledge at Texas Tech University, was killed participating in a scavenger hunt as part of a hazing event. He was trying to collect a letter that was under a railroad tie when he was hit by a train.[16]

In 1988, three Pi Kappa Alpha members at Florida State University were charged in the sexual battery of a freshman female student. The victim was left in the hallway of another fraternity house.[17] The case made national headlines for weeks.[18] The fraternity members all struck plea deals,[19] and the fraternity was banned from the school for twelve years. Pi Kappa Alpha was allowed to return to the school in 2000 despite strong protests.[20]

In 1988, several members of Pi Kappa Alpha were arrested for a sexual assault that took place at Stetson University.[17]

In 2002, Albert Santos, a pledge at the University of Nevada at Reno, drowned in a lake participating in a hazing ritual. He and several pledges were told to swim in a lake in their underwear but Santos could not swim. The fraternity was banned from the campus after his death. Santos' family sued the university and fraternity for negligence.[21][21]

In 2007, the chapter at the University of Central Florida was shut down after the fraternity racked up more than 20 misconduct and hazing violations.[17][22]

In 2008, 10 Pike members were arrested at Tulane University for pouring boiling hot water on pledges. The chapter was also accused of drugging and sexually assaulting several female students at the fraternity's annual bacchanal.[23]

Florida International University suspended the fraternity in 2013 after the discovery of photos on Facebook of hazing and drug deals, as well as sexually explicit photos of women taken without their consent.[24][25][26]

The UNC-Charlotte chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha was suspended after student placed in IC for alcohol-related hazing in 2013.[27] In 2014 a county judge dismissed charges against three members, and found the fourth not guilty. The university found the fraternity guilty of hazing, and suspended its charter for eight years.[28]

In 2010, the chapter at Cornell University was placed on suspension for four years “due to its history of alcohol and hazing-related infractions over several years, which culminated in a Jan. 22, 2010, incident involving underage and high-risk drinking,” according to the Cornell Chronicle. The chapter was suspended again in March 2017 for violating university rules.[29]

In October 2012, the fraternity was suspended at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville following the hospitalization of a member for alcohol poisoning due to alleged "butt-chugging".[30]

In 2012, Pi Kappa Alpha pledge David Bogenberger died of a cardiac arrhythmia triggered by alcohol poisoning. According to police, Bogenberger and other pledges at an unsanctioned Northern Illinois University event were pressured into drinking large quantities of alcohol in a two-hour time.[31] Bogenberger and 18 other pledges drank to unconsciousness. Five fraternity officers and 17 other members were convicted of misdemeanors in one of the largest hazing prosecutions in U.S. history. The chapter was suspended by the fraternity.[32]

In 2014, the leaders of the fraternity's University of Arkansas chapter were asked to resign following an unauthorized Martin Luther King, Jr. Day party that incorporated racist stereotypes.[33][34]

In 2014, the fraternity lost its charter at the University of Southern Mississippi following a hazing incident that led to the death of two mated flamingos. Pledges stole a flamingo from the local zoo, and in the struggle to defend its mate to her dying breath, the male was killed. The next morning, after being left on a bicycle path, the other died.[35] In 2018, the fraternity was allowed to return to the school.

In April 2014, the fraternity lost its charter at the University of Virginia due to hazing pledges,[36] however the school and the national fraternity agreed to let the chapter return for fall 2014 under an agreement that moved most Juniors and Seniors to early Alumni status and appointed a board of local fraternity alumni to oversee the group.[37]

In 2015, the former fraternity chapter president at Utah State University was charged with forcible sexual abuse, a felony, after allegedly inappropriately touching a female fellow student passed out at a party.[38]

In 2015, one member and four pledges of Pi Kappa Alpha from the University of Mississippi were arrested and charged with assault for leaving a Sigma Pi fraternity member with a concussion, broken ear drum, and broken teeth after a violent beating.[39] The Pi Kappa Alpha member and pledges were trying to steal a donkey statue from the Sigma Pi house as part of a fraternity initiation task before the fight. The students involved were dismissed/expelled from the fraternity.[40]

In March 2015, the chapter at the University of South Carolina was suspended after a Pike member was found dead in a private home near campus that had beer kegs and St. Patrick Day decorations on the porch. The Richland County Coroner's Office called it a "suspicious death".[41]

In November 2016, the chapter at Louisiana State University placed itself voluntary suspension after a woman reported to authorities she was a victim of sexual battery by an unidentified white man in the backyard of the fraternity house during a "PIKE's Peak" party.[42] However, the school's investigation of the chapter was closed in early December due to insufficient evidence and lack of contact with the victim.[43]

In March 2017, a Harris County Grand Jury indicted the University of Houston chapter for extreme hazing. Their pledges were severely deprived from adequate water, food, and sleep, and one was body slammed resulting in a lacerated spleen. The chapter was placed under suspension until 2023 and given a $10,000 fine.[44]

In May 2017, the chapter at California State University, Chico was charged with illegally cutting down 32 trees in the Lassen National Forest during an initiation of new pledges. They were also charged with possession of a firearm and conspiracy to commit offense or defraud the United States. The chapter was placed on suspension pending the outcome of the federal investigation.[45] In October 2017, the chapter was sentenced to 9,800 hours of community service and a $4,000 fine after pleading guilty to cutting down and damaging trees in the Lassen National Forest by the U.S. District Court.[46]

On October 2, 2017 the chapter at Kennesaw State University was issued a cease and desist order by the university administration for repeatedly violating the student codes of conduct.[47]

In September 2017, the chapter at Iowa State University was suspended for misuse of alcoholic beverages, and for failure to appear at a university adjudication. The suspension was lifted on August 20, 2018.[48]

In the fall of 2017, the chapter at University of Massachusetts Amherst was indefinitely suspended for hazing allegations. Members of the chapter were procuring alcohol for a minor during a hazing ritual which led to hospitalization due to alcohol poisoning.[49]

In March 2018, the chapter at Southern Methodist University was suspended for four and a half years for hazing of pledges that included forcing them to drink alcohol, and forcing them to eat foods like onions and habanero peppers and drink milk. The Kappa Alpha Order and Phi Gamma Delta fraternities at SMU had also been recently suspended for similar offenses before the Pikes were.[50][51]

List of Pi Kappa Alpha brothers

See also


  1. "404 Page Not Found - Pikes.org". www.pikes.org. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  2. "2013-2014 Year in Review". Retrieved 2015-03-01.
  3. "Values, Position & Relationship Statements". Pikes.org. Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  4. Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. "Founding History". Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  5. Beta chapter, Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. "A History of Beta". Archived from the original on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  6. "Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities". Alcolm Company. 26 March 2018. Retrieved 26 March 2018 via Google Books.
  7. Garnet & Gold Pledge Guide (15th ed.). Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. 1970.
  8. Hughey, Matthew W (Winter–Spring 2006). "Black, White, Greek...Like Who?: Howard University Student Perceptions of a White Fraternity on Campus" (PDF). Educational Foundations. 20 (1–2): 9–35. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  9. Hodapp, Christopher; Kannon, Alice Von (4 February 2011). "Conspiracy Theories and Secret Societies For Dummies". John Wiley & Sons. Retrieved 26 March 2018 via Google Books.
  10. Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. "About Pike University". Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  11. "404 Page Not Found - Pikes.org". www.pikes.org. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  12. Folmsbee, Stanley (1960). History of Tennessee, Volume 4. Lewis Historical Publishing Company. p. 838.
  13. Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. "About Memorial Headquarters". Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  14. Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. "Fast Facts". Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  15. United States of America Congressional Record 111th Congress, Vol. 155 - Part 7. Government of United States. 2009. p. 9673.
  16. Hank Nuwer (2001). Wrongs of Passage: Fraternities, Sororities, Hazing, and Binge Drinking. Indiana University Press. pp. 320–. ISBN 0-253-21498-X.
  17. Miller, Michael E. (22 August 2013). "Pi Kappa Alpha Has a History of Suspensions in Florida, Including for Alleged Rape". miaminewtimes.com. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  18. Basu, Moni (November 16, 2014). "Ghosts of rape past: Can a survivor find solace in return to the crime scene?". CNN. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  19. Davidson, Tom (May 17, 1990). "As Trial Starts, Man Pleads No Contest in FSU Sex Attack". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved December 27, 2015.
  20. Hauserman, Julie (February 26, 2000). "Banished FSU fraternity invited back". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  21. Press, Associated. "Parents of Drowned UNR Student File Lawsuit". kolotv.com. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  22. "Fraternity disbanded at UCF amid allegations". orlandosentinel.com. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  23. "Suspended Tulane frat's reputation is hardly brotherly". nola.com. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  24. Miller, Michael E. (29 August 2013). "FIU Suspends Frat After Facebook Posts Reveal Drug Deals, Hazing, and Creep Shots". Miami New Times. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  25. Vasquez, Michael (21 August 2013). "FIU suspends Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity over Facebook posts". Miami Herald. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  26. Chen, Tina (24 August 2013). "Fraternity Probed for Alleged Drug Dealing on Facebook". ABC News. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  27. Becker, Mark (30 September 2013). "UNCC fraternity accused of hazing after teen lands in intensive care". WSOCTV. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  28. Becker, Mark. "Judge dismisses charges against 3 UNCC frat members". WSOCTV (August 12, 2014). Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  29. "Cornell Suspends Third Fraternity in Just Over One Month - The Cornell Daily Sun". cornellsun.com. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  30. "Fraternity known for butt-chugging is 'suspended indefinitely' at Tennessee". Retrieved 2014-07-08.
  31. Burnett, Sarah (2012-12-18). "Hazing At Fraternity: 22 Pi Kappa Alpha Members Charged After Student Dies". Huffington Post.
  32. Vitello, Barbara (May 8, 2015). "Father of NIU frat hazing victim tells 22 convicted, 'You left him alone to die'". Daily Herald. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  33. Maher, Emily (26 February 2014). "Frat president reacts to accusations of racially-themed party". KHBS Ft. Smith/Fayetteville. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  34. Leyenberger, Kyle; Gilleece, Erin (27 February 2014). "UA Frat Sanctioned After 'Disrespectful' MLK Party". NWAHomepage.com. Nexstar Broadcasting. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  35. Southern Mississippi fraternity rush prank goes awry, flamingo dies
  36. "Two UVa fraternities lose charters in wake of hazing; one says it will appeal". dailyprogress.com. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  37. Progress, Derek Quizon The (Charlottesville) Daily. "Pi Kappa Alpha takes steps toward reinstatement at UVa". roanoke.com. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  38. "Fraternity chapter ceases operations at USU after former president accused of sexual abuse". fox13now.com. Retrieved 2015-11-02.
  39. "5 Ole Miss students face charges for involvement in alleged hazing". usatoday.com. 23 October 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  40. Amy, Jeff (October 23, 2015). "Ole Miss: Fraternity brother, pledges charged in assault were trying to steal donkey statue". U.S. News & World Report. Associated Press. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  41. "Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity Suspended: USC Member Found Dead After St. Patrick's Day Party". ibtimes.com. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  42. Reports, Staff. "UPDATE: PIKE fraternity voluntarily suspends upcoming activities after report of alleged sexual assault". lsunow.com. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  43. Saacks, Evan. "LSU closes sexual battery investigation into Pi Kappa Alpha". lsunow. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  44. Team, HPM Digital (14 December 2017). "Harris County Grand Jury Indicts Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity For Hazing - Houston Public Media". houstonpublicmedia.org. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  45. "Frat charged for damaging national forest during hazing". nypost.com. 17 May 2017. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  46. "Chico State fraternity sentenced in tree-cutting episode". mercurynews.com. 17 October 2017. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  47. "KSU fraternity given cease and desist order - Atlanta: News, Weather and Traffic". wsbradio.com. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  48. Muller, Sarah. "Pi Kappa Alpha suspended, Phi Sigma Pi sanctioned by Office of Student Conduct". Iowa State Daily. Iowa State Daily Media Group. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  49. https://www.gazettenet.com/National-organization-suspends-UMass-fraternity-20411933
  50. FOX. "SMU's Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity suspended after hazing discovered". KDFW.
  51. "SMU's Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity suspended after hazing investigation". Dallas News. 26 March 2018.
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