T.J. Sullivan

University of Tennessee fraternity members offer rebuttal

By now, you are likely aware of the alleged “butt chugging” alcohol enemas incident at a University of Tennessee fraternity last week. The men of the chapter are vehemently denying that anything of the sort ever happened.  Before reading the rest of this blog, watch their press conference here.

I felt sad watching their press conference, because I don’t think they are helping their cause, at all. Some thoughts on this evolving situation and on their press conference:

1. It seems a lot less likely that the university police and hospital staff conspired to frame a student than it does that a highly embarrassed parent lawyered up. If this ever goes to court, I suspect these young men are going to be much more embarrassed when the police and hospital reports become part of public record.  Meanwhile, their lawyers will rack up fees as the parents seek relief from their misdirected embarrassment.

2. If it’s true that the men were not anally ingesting Franzia Sunset Blush, this incident still speaks clearly to how irresponsible consumption of alcohol by a group of individual brothers can shut down a chapter.  Regardless of what end the Franzia entered, this young man very nearly drank himself to death. That’s what his parents should be worried about.  They should be hiring him a psychologist, not a lawyer.

3. The lawyer said that the activities took place even though the members were told not to do it.  I’m skeptical. “Hey, why are the guys bringing in multiple boxes of wine? Didn’t we tell them that was against our risk management policy?”  Unlikely. This is probably what they are telling the national fraternity, although I’m sure the very intelligent staff members at Pi Kappa Alpha can see through it.

4. The homophobia in the video clip is shameful.  While some in the Knoxville community might find an obvious link between homosexuality and fraternity men (allegedly) funneling wine in their rectums, most intelligent people do not.  To deny that homophobia is playing a role in this rebuttal would be naive. If the men did indeed butt chug, it had nothing to do with their sexual orientations. Indeed, a 2012 report from the Centers from Disease Control “found that 44 percent of straight men and 36 percent of straight women admitted to having had anal sex.”

5. Feel free to giggle each time the lawyer says “butt chugging.”

6. In the press conference, the young man (through his lawyer) swears to his Pi Kappa Alpha brothers across the nation “on his oath” that the incident never happened and encourages them not to believe the media reports.  He never apologizes for the embarrassment and shame his actions brought on his fraternity.  He could deny everything and still be sorry for the fact that his behavior caused the closing of his chapter and shame to his brothers.

7. The whole “blame the media” thing is tired. Go after the police department and the hospital, if you think that’s going to clear your name.  But blaming the media for reporting something that came from presumably credible sources just makes you look dumb enough to actually be anally ingesting boxed wine.

Stay tuned.

24 Responses to “University of Tennessee fraternity members offer rebuttal”

  1. Several have written to me privately to suggest that the attorney involved might be a fraternity alumnus. So, perhaps it wasn’t the parents who lawyered up, but the local chapter or the men themselves. In any case, regardless of where the idea of legally challenging things came from, I stand by my assertion that it’s ill advised and that the lawyer’s homophobia is ignorant.

  2. […] T. J. Sullivan’s blog post today, and the gawker.com article, I don’t know that I can add anything to this […]

  3. Michael Marquette says:

    My names Michael Marquette and I am apart of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Greek community. Regardless if this really happened or not, why is this even a topic. Why would something even think about doing this. You have to be retarded to do something like that. But I agree that why would the police and hospital lie about the incident. I think this guy is just going to continue to embarrass his fraternity by continue with the case.

  4. Amber says:

    From University of Louisiana at Lafayette:

    I am pretty confused about this situation. I don’t understand who would want to partake in “butt chugging,” but I guess that is irrelevant. Is he trying to say that this never happened, because the attorney clearly states that it did. So are they trying to convince the media that their fraternity should not be shut down? Maybe they were hazing in some form, so they should be shut down. Either way, if the events that occurred almost lead to the death of a member, then it should be shut down. I am embarrassed for the guys at Tennessee and I am sure they are embarrassed too, but it is their own fault that this happened. If they don’t want people to find out about something, then it should never happen in the first place.

  5. Nick says:

    Taking responsibility for your actions is a part of growing up. Although this incident is clearly in being challenged by the pretigious men of the PKE fraternity. i think it is important to note that things very similar to this happen all over the country by men with decades more experience and are easily bailed out by lawyers and money. Poor greeks we can never win.

    University of Louisiana
    Esteemed Greek

  6. Caroline says:

    I am from University of Louisiana at Lafayette and I feel that if they have the proof that all of this happened then the guys just need to confess and get it done with.

  7. Andre Johnson says:

    The thing that concerns me is if this does go to court. It will be a bad image for all who were involved, even the “victims.”
    -University of Louisiana at Lafayette Greek Community

  8. Douglas says:

    If I allegedly “butt-chugged” boxed wine, I would make sure when hiring someone to represent me, that he/she would be able to at least pronounce my last name and speak clearly in public. Regardless of if he is guilty of doing this alcohol enemas act, he has failed to portray a decent image of himself by simply arising in a situation like this.

    University of Louisiana
    Esteemed Greek

  9. Josh says:

    This whole situation is an embarrassment to greeks all around the country and especially to Pi Kappa Alpha. This should never happen. It is just flat out dumb.

    The Univeristy of Louisiana.

  10. Caroline Armour says:

    This just made me die laughing because this is just so embarrassing y’all!!!! Xander, or however you spell his name, is so worried about what the media thinks he did/didn’t do that night rather than being extremely apologetic to his fraternity brothers for putting them in a situation where now their chapter is being kicked off campus, apologizing to the University of Tennessee for having to spend their time on that night dealing with his stupid actions, and also to the greek community at University of Tennessee for now giving them a reputation now of “butt chugging.” This guy plain and simple is incompetent. a) for having his lawyer speak for him because his comments regarding what “really happened that night, were just a long story” b) for telling professional journalist how to do “their jobs.” and c) the executive board of his chapter clearly stated to not partake in alcoholic games such as “Tour De Franzia” at the fraternity house. He probably should have thought more about the outcome of the tour de Fanzia than just him self. Anytime an incident like that occurs on University property it IMMEDIATELY becomes University business. This Xander guy definitely deserves to be charged with illegal actions regarding his stupid actions on that September night. Once again, homeboy was only thinking of himself. Taking up for your own actions is part of growing up, Xander.
    -UL Lafayette Greek Community

  11. Rachel North says:

    This is probably the worst drinking game ever. Now I’ve heard of “slapping the bag” or taking a “Tour De Franzia” but butt chugging has got to be the dumbest and most disgusting ways for consuming alcohol. I like what you said about how his parents should be spending their money on therapy for this kids instead of a lawyer because he clearly has some issues.

    -UL Lafayette Greek Community

  12. Christian Randall says:

    I heard about this from one of fraternity alumni and regardless of if this is true or not it is a prime example as to how a stupid mistake can affect your entire chapter.

  13. Don Holmes says:

    The idea that any man would allow this to happen to him is beyond words. Stupid mistakes like these can not only affect your chapter but ones entire organization. The brand of an organization goes deeper than their national office – it is however vested in each member personally. These students should own up to their mistakes and learn from them. Nothing like this should happen.

    Don Holmes – Sigma Kappa Beta
    The University of Southern Mississippi

  14. Benjamin Powell says:

    It’s things like this that caused my parents to be strongly against Greek life. Stories like this only pervert and distort how the rest of the world views greeks. Our definition has shifted from gentleman to immature moron.

    Benjamin Powell
    Pi Kappa Phi
    University of Southern Mississippi

  15. Cody Luckado says:

    Stories like this is exaclty why greek life has the reputation that it does, in the eyes of the community. As a member of Pi Kappa Alpha (not at Tenn.) I have been asked about the event multiple times and honestly do not know what to say about it. It is just all around a bad idea and makes me wonder who would even want to do something like that.

    Cody Luckado
    Pi Kappa Alpha
    University of Southern Mississippi

  16. Richard Hall says:

    I’m still trying to figure out what “men” would even believe this would be a good idea. How is this the way you represent your fraternity? This has not only done harm to greek life on this campus but to the organization nationally.

    Richard Hall
    Sigma Phi Epsilon
    University of Southern Mississippi

  17. Cassidy Chiasson says:

    I can’t even begin to understand why someone would ever consider doing this, so I guess I can’t understand how it is even a topic. Regardless of if he is telling the truth or not, this just shows how the actions of one member can not only negatively affect your own chapter, but greek life as a whole.

    Cassidy Chiasson
    Chi Omega
    University of Southern Mississippi

  18. Andrew Blackwell says:

    Regardless if this is true or not, these men have shown that they do not know how to represent their fraternity or letters properly. Something of this nature should never happen and the idea in general should never even be brought up. Everyone needs to act like they are proud to represent their organization and do things that can damage that reputation. It only take one person to tear down and close a chapter.

    Andrew Blackwell
    Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity
    University of Southern Mississippi

  19. Kiffani Zackery says:

    It’s amazing how the actions of one chapter completely different from your own can impact an entire national organization. The most important value I took from joining Greek Life is that you are no longer a single entity; you become apart of something bigger than yourself. The actions of one can make people generalize an entire chapter or organization, even if there are members of your chapter can do no wrong. Being in a sorority, I know how easy it is to lump one group together as something based on one or two people. I think this story should serve as a risk management lesson. What one does can essentially damage or destroy the reputation of a chapter.

    Kiffani Zackery
    Alpha Delta Pi sorority
    University of Southern Mississippi

  20. Jalisa Harris says:

    Things like this is what make fraternities and Sororities look bad. Not only that, but who would even contemplate doing something like that. Just the thought of that makes me cringe. And that just screams dangerous because the alcohol goes straight to your bloodstream. I just feel like people need to really think things through before doing that. Just imagine, you are always going to be know as the guy who was “butt chugging”.

    Jalisa Harris
    University of Southern Mississippi

  21. Tanner williams says:

    As a member of this fraternity at USM it saddens me that this happened. How could someone be so dumb in partaking in these activities. They have not only embarrassed the university but also the national fraternity. People should learn from these mistakes and remember you represent more than yourself when you join a fraternity or sorority.

    Tanner Williams
    Pi Kappa Alpha
    University of Southern Mississippi

  22. Caroline says:

    I completely agree with what everyone is saying because it is true, it is these types of people that make Greek life as a whole look like idiots. It doesn’t make sense to me to knowingly do something wrong and then deny it. Why can’t they just say “hey, we messed up and we apologize.” Then it wouldn’t be as big of a deal as it is now.

    Caroline Bishop
    University of Southern Mississippi

  23. Kimberly Page says:

    Cases like these are what give greeks across the nation a bad name. If anything, just keep your mouth shut about it and don’t agree to a press conference for goodness sake! Handle it as quietly as possible, for your namesake nationally!

    Kimberly Page
    Delta Gamma Fraternity for Women
    University of Southern Mississippi

  24. This is what gives Greeks a poor name. Not only that, they give their university a bad name. Certain situations should be handled in particular ways, clearly not the way they handled it. Luckily, people tend to learn from their mistakes. Maybe next time they will make the right decision and handle the situation in a proper manor.

    Elizabeth “EB” Bagert
    The Epsilon Delta Chapter of the Chi Omega Fraternity
    The University of Southern Mississippi

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