by Max Brantley
Intriguing release from UCA police on an incident that seems likely to shut down a major campus fraternity event, the "End of the World." This event draws a largely black crowd from all over Arkansas, UCA alumni and beyond, for "step dancing" and other entertainment. It was scheduled for Saturday, April 18. I'm seeking more information.
The UCA Police Department is currently investigating the Theta Psi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity due to allegations of hazing. Due to the seriousness of the allegations, the University is suspending all of the Theta Psi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity's activities until the resolution of the investigation.
The suspension of activities includes social, intramural, new member activities, and major events (including the End of the World event).
UPDATE: The Log Cabin Democrat reports unequivocally that the event won't be held this year.
This article in the Conway Log Cabin Democrat last year gives you some flavor of the End of the World event. It's entertainining, competitive and controversial in the city, where some residents haven't been happy about the crowds it attracts. The suspension of the event is sure to become controversial and racial overtones are unavoidable. Alpha Phi Alpha is one of the country's most prominent (they would say THE most) social fraternities for black men. Its influential alumni often remain active in fraternity events as adults. Even absent details of the hazing that led to police action, it's not a stretch to assume that some will see it as a pretext to shut down an event that has been attended by controversy in the past.
UPDATE: Here's the barebones incident report (complainant redacted) that gave rise to the fraternity suspension. It seems to be based on an alleged continuation of the old-school frat ritual of paddling. Don't get me wrong. Hazing of any sort, even the purely emotional kind, is offensive and juvenile. Paddling can cause serious injury.