KU fraternity at center of viral video storm issues comment

Viral video shows incident outside Kappa Sigma fraternity house
Viral video shows incident outside Kappa Sigma fraternity house(Jacob Schooler)
Published: Aug. 24, 2020 at 6:34 AM CDT
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LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) - A University of Kansas fraternity at the center of a viral Facebook video firestorm that erupted over the weekend issued a statement late Sunday giving its side of an incident in which a man said his car was blocked and he was splashed with alcohol after he made a wrong turn into the fraternity’s driveway.

In a tweet released Sunday night, the Gamma-Omicron Chapter of Kappa Sigma fraternity said a man “claiming to have made a wrong turn videotaped the members of Kappa Sigma for a period in excess of 5 minutes in our neighboring sorority’s parking lot.”

The fraternity’s tweet said the incident occurred Saturday evening.

The Kappa Sigma tweet continued that when the man was “confronted by our membership for maintaining his presence on private property, he became hostile, used aggressive language, and threatened to run over our members.”

The man, Jacob Schooler, told 13 NEWS on Sunday that he was on his way home and took a wrong turn that led him to the fraternity house.

Schooler said he started recording a gathering after seeing a group of individuals who he said appeared to be drunk outside the fraternity house.

Schooler says he was trying to leave when some of the individuals at the gathering blocked his car and prevented it from leaving, while one of them threw a drink into his car.

Kappa Sigma’s tweet said the fraternity hasn’t yet validated the individual’s claim that a beverage was thrown at him.

“If determined that is the case,” the Kappa Sigma tweet said, “that is an unacceptable action for which we apologize, and the members responsible will be held accountable by the fraternity.

The tweet also said members present in the lawn of the fraternity house “are all residents of the Chapter House and acted in compliance Douglas County guidelines pertaining to people residing together. No outside guests have been or are to be allowed on the property in accordance with current University of Kansas guidance.

“Our members were outside to welcome new sorority pledges to campus, at the request of sorority chapters, as other fraternities did similarly,” the tweet said.

The Kappa Sigma facility is private property and has as its primary point of access a private drive owned and maintained by multiple property owners. The fraternity house is located at 1045 Emery Road, just northwest of the KU campus.

The tweet continued, “While it is regrettable that this incident occurred, it is equally regrettable that individuals have subsequently chosen to invade the privacy of law-abiding individuals residing on their property, including inflicting property damage upon our house this morning, presumably prompted by the video this statement references.”

The tweet said the treatment of the fraternity house director over the past 24 hours was “even more regrettable.” The tweet said the fraternity house director has “the unenviable task of ensuring the Chapter House is sanitized twice daily, that members are in compliance with local ordinances and CDC guidance while attempting to provide the college experience these young men are seeking to obtain.”

The tweet added that all of the Kappa Sigma fraternity’s in-house residents have been tested for COVID-19, and “none have received a positive result.”

However, University of Kansas on Sunday night issued a cease and desist order to Kappa Sigma and Phi Kappa Psi fraternities who are accused of violating COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

Douglas Girod, KU’s chancellor posted a message to the community that said in part, “We are aware of social activities over the weekend hosted by KU students in violation of county regulations and university policies related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have issued cease-and-desist orders to two fraternities – Kappa Sigma and Phi Kappa Psi – and issued 14-day public health bans for the members of these organization.”

Girod added, “We will not tolerate selfish and irresponsible behavior that puts the health and safety of our community at risk; that disrespects staff, faculty and students who have worked to prepare our campuses for reopening; that jeopardizes the long-term viability of the university; and that recklessly disregards the authorities of the university, city, and county.”

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