Hofstra University has suspended a fraternity from hosting events on campus after officials reviewed a video of what appears to be young men at an Alpha Epsilon Pi event spraying liquid from a keg — possibly containing alcohol — into the mouth of a small dog as the pup was held upside down.
The sanction, handed down Sunday, was followed by the fraternity’s parent organization, Alpha Epsilon Pi International, placing the group on “cease and desist,” which a spokesman said requires the members to refrain from official and unofficial activities.
“The behavior seen on the video is unacceptable and in violation of the University’s Code of Community Standards,” Hofstra officials said in a statement. “The University has been in communication with Alpha Epsilon Pi International headquarters, as well as with chapter members regarding this off-campus incident. In accordance with University policy, the chapter has been placed on interim suspension pending an investigation.”
The statement continued, “In addition, any individual students identified in the video will also be subject to the University’s Code of Community Standards.”
In the video, a small spaniel squirmed as it was being held over the edge of a table by one young man while another points and sprays a liquid at the dog’s mouth from what appears to be a keg sitting on the ground. Gary Rogers, a detective for the Nassau Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said the incident happened Saturday in the fraternity's Kernochan Avenue headquarters in Hempstead.
Jon Pierce, a past international president of the fraternity who serves as a spokesman, said there are 190 chapters of the fraternity in the United States, Canada, Israel, the United Kingdom, Austria and Australia. He said the Hofstra chapter has about 30 members.
“Alpha Epsilon Pi International has placed our chapter at Hofstra University on ‘cease and desist’ due to suspected violations of our health and safety policies,” he said in a statement. “During this investigatory period, there can be no chapter activities. We hope that we are able to use this as a teaching moment to help build better young men who are committed to our policies and our mission of developing the future leaders of the world’s Jewish communities.”
The Hofstra chapter also issued a tweet, saying it hopes the incident, too, can be used as a teaching moment.
Rogers, who spoke outside the Kernochan Avenue house Monday, said the dog "had no choice. It didn't say, 'Hey, I want a beer and I want it poured down my throat.' So, it's wrong. It's wrong on every level."
He compared the dog's treatment to a "hazing," adding that the incident is under investigation to determine whether criminal charges should be filed.
Rogers said the dog is doing well and is in the possession of the Nassau SPCA. Its owner is a fraternity member.
Karla Schuster, a Hofstra spokeswoman, said the university hosts 27 “Greek letter” organizations, which constitute fraternities and sororities as well as pre-professional, social and multicultural groups.