UCF’s Kappa Sigma fraternity had its re-hearing on Tuesday, presided over by a new hearing officer who recommended a harsher punishment than the first officer.
The re-hearing was conducted by Scott Eberle, who recommended Kappa Sigma receive disciplinary suspension for the rest of fall 2014 and disciplinary probation for spring 2015, while Stacey Malaret recommended just disciplinary probation in the first hearing.
The first hearing officer’s rationale was not accepted by UCF due to alleged technical difficulties with a portion of the video recording. However, it is not clear why UCF chose a new hearing officer to preside over the re-hearing.
There are also discrepancies between the hearing officers’ review of the information in the case.
The first hearing officer found Kappa Sigma not in violation of one of the most serious charges, harmful behavior 4A, which is physical violence towards another person. According the victim, he was unable to recall who had physically harmed him and said the information contained in the police report was incorrect, the first hearing officer found.
In the re-hearing, the second hearing officer made no mention that the victim was unable to recall who had physically harmed him and that the victim said the information in the police report was inaccurate. Instead, the hearing officer found Kappa Sigma in violation of physical violence towards another person and appeared to take the police report as fact.
UCF closes these hearings to the public, so KnightNews.com does not know if the testimony was identical or similar in both hearings.
If UCF disagrees with a hearing officer’s finding of not in violation, the student conduct director can send it back for re-hearing as many times as she wants until there’s a finding of in violation, UCF lawyers have argued.
If Kappa Sigma’s new recommendation is accepted by the director of student conduct, within seven days it will not be a recognized organization at UCF until spring 2015, unless the organization appeals. If that happens, the suspension won’t take effect until an appeal is decided.
If an organization is not satisfied with the appeal, it would have the option of taking UCF to court to see if a judge would overturn the suspension.
The director of student conduct is expected to announce her final decision soon.