Investigation continues into frat house thefts, vandalism
Posted: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 5:00 pm
By MARY JEAN HALL
Special to The Messenger
An investigation into recent thefts and vandalism at University of Tennessee at Martin fraternity houses is continuing after the recent arrest of two students.
The students were arrested Oct. 2 and charged with theft of property in connection with items taken from the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity house Sept. 20.
According to a Martin Police report, Corey M. Rose, 19, an accounting major from Lexington, also was charged with vandalism and burglary. Dalton D. Jones, 18, a business administration undeclared major from Brownsville, also was charged with vandalism. Both men are affiliated with Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, according to Facebook.
UT Martin Public Safety Capt. Ray Coleman said the investigation is continuing into thefts at two other fraternity houses — the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house and the Sigma Phi Epsilon house. Those thefts also occurred during the weekend of Sept. 21-22.
Because of the thefts, all Interfraternity Council fraternities initially were banned from homecoming activities. However, UT Martin administrators allowed the men to participate.
According to information received from Chancellor Tom Rakes, questions have arisen about the validity of the IFC policies cited by the Office of Greek Life in imposing the ban.
As of 3 p.m. Oct. 2, there was insufficient documentation provided by the Office of Greek Life to determine that the IFC followed proper procedures approving the document in question. At that time, Rakes lifted the suspensions since the university reserves the right to intervene in situations concerning the safety and fair treatment of the individuals involved.
Louis Ragsdale, coordinator of the Office of Greek Life, has been placed on administrative leave for a minimum of two weeks until the situation can be sorted out.
David Belote, assistant vice chancellor for Student Affairs, confirmed that Ragsdale is on leave.
Meanwhile, Steve Vantrease and John Abel, director and assistant director, respectively, of the University Center, are in charge of Greek Life.
Editor’s note: Mary Jean Hall, a Covington native, is a senior at the University of Tennessee at Martin. Alex Jacobi and Kara Kidwell contributed to the story. All three communications students are on the staff of the school’s student newspaper, The Pacer.
Published in The Messenger 10.09.12