A University of Tennessee fraternity is facing suspension after an alleged "alcohol enema" incident at the chapter's house on campus over the weekend.
UT suspended the Pi Kappa Alpha chapter Monday for 30 days or until a decision is made about the chapter's future. The fraternity cannot operate during that time.
The Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity said Monday that it also placed the chapter under immediate administrative suspension.
The suspension stems from an incident over the weekend that landed a student in the hospital with a potentially deadly blood alcohol level.
Alexander Broughton, 20, was dropped off at UT Medical Center around 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Knoxville Police said.
Hospital staff told Knoxville Police investigators that Broughton was in critical condition and unresponsive when he arrived, with a blood alcohol content level greater than 0.4, which is considered toxic and potentially deadly.
Broughton has since been discharged from the hospital, according to UT Medical Center.
KPD investigators went to campus Saturday morning and found several other people, including three men, passed out at the PIKE house.
After conducting several interviews, investigators determined the fraternity members had used rubber tubing to give each other alcohol enemas. Police said the practice heightens and speeds up the process of alcohol entering the blood stream because it bypasses the liver's filters.
The UT Police Department said this is the first incident on campus that they are aware of which involved that process. The department did not receive any complaints or tips about a large party or event at the PIKE house on Friday night or Saturday morning.
At this time, UTPD investigators said there are no signs that hazing was involved in the incident, but they are looking into the possibility.
Investigators are working to determine if Broughton was assaulted or made the decision to engage in the behavior himself.
Because the incident happened on campus, UTPD is now heading up the investigation. KPD will continue to assist as needed.
No charges are pending in the case at this time.
The university released the following statement about the incident:
"University officials are currently conducting an investigation into allegations involving the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity chapter and incidents that occurred over the weekend. Due to the gravity of the allegations, interim sanctions have already been imposed upon the chapter and will remain in effect until the investigation is concluded and final reports are available."
The Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity also released a statement Monday afternoon:
"The Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity was made aware of an alleged incident involving individual members of the Zeta Chapter at the University of Tennessee that occurred early Saturday morning.
"Following notification of these troublesome allegations, the Zeta Chapter was placed on immediate administrative suspension by the International Fraternity.
"The Fraternity has been in contact with the chapter leaders, local alumni, and the university and has requested all members cooperate fully with the ongoing police investigation.
"The International Fraternity in no way condones this behavior and while this is disappointing and saddening to have learned of the inexcusable actions of these students, our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families during this difficult time."
Past PIKE troubles
This is not the first time that UT's PIKE chapter has run into trouble. In 2008, the chapter was placed on administrative suspension after a hazing incident where pledges were allegedly asked to do push-ups on broken glass. Three students were later hospitalized with staph infections.
A member of the fraternity told 10News that the pledges were not asked to do push-ups on broken glass, but they did perform a "lateral ab movement" known as "bows and toes" on the bathroom floor.
UT's Office of Student Judicial Affairs charged the chapter with hazing and it pleaded guilty. After completing its suspension, the chapter served several months of probation.
The Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity investigated and kicked out 25 of the chapter's active members.