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Fraternity: No hazing involved in Clemson student’s death

Representatives from Sigma Phi Epsilon’s national fraternity office and Clemson University staff have found no evidence of hazing in the Monday death of a student, the fraternity said Saturday.

But the fraternity will keep its Clemson chapter under suspended operations after learning that university administrators were aware of morning runs for new members, an activity that might be in violation of Sigma Phi Epsilon’s policies and procedures, according to the fraternity.

National fraternity representatives spent the past week on the Clemson campus investigating allegations spread through social media that the death of Tucker Hipps was linked to hazing.

The fraternity representatives said they worked with Clemson officials to review statements from students who participated in the off-campus morning run where Hipps was last seen.

A fraternity member called police Monday afternoon to ask if anyone had seen Hipps after he didn’t show up for breakfast and no one had seen him. A Clemson police officer found his body that evening in five feet of water under the S.C. 93 bridge at Lake Hartwell.

Brian Warren, Sigma Phi Epsilon’s CEO, said the Clemson chapter would remain under suspended operations until the sheriff’s investigation has been completed and the safety of members can be ensured. He stressed that the fraternity’s primary concern is for the health and well-being of Hipps’ friends and fellow Clemson students.

“They’re hurting right now, and they need the support of their fraternity and their university,” Warren said.

The fraternity emphasized its zero-tolerance policy regarding hazing when Tucker went missing Monday morning and again on Saturday.

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office said there was no current evidence that hazing contributed to Hipps’ death. The sheriff’s investigation is continuing.

Hipps’ funeral is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday in Easley.