Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity releases statement on Clemson death - FOX Carolina 21

Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity releases statement on Clemson death investigation

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Tucker Hipps Tucker Hipps
CLEMSON, SC (FOX Carolina) - As the investigation into the death of Clemson University student and Sigma Phi Epsilon pledge Tucker Hipps continues, the fraternity's national office said it has completed the first phase of its internal investigation.

Clemson University police officers found the body of 19-year-old Hipps, of Piedmont, in water beneath the Highway 93 bridge on Monday afternoon.

Members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity reported Hipps was missing earlier that day and had also made a 911 call in which one of Hipps' fraternity brothers asked if Hipps had been picked up.

Oconee County deputies said other fraternity members last saw Hipps lagging behind other pledges on a morning run.

On Saturday, Sigma Phi Epsilon's national office released the following statement, detailing the findings of the first phase of the group's internal investigation:

Representatives from Sigma Phi Epsilon's national office spent the past week on the Clemson University campus investigating allegations spread through social media that the death of student Tucker Hipps was linked to hazing. The Fraternity has a zero tolerance policy regarding hazing and worked alongside Clemson officials to review the accounts of students who participated in the morning run where Tucker was last seen.

Information uncovered by Fraternity and Clemson staff during the investigation aligned with reports delivered earlier in the week by the Oconee Sheriff's Department, who has maintained that there is no evidence that hazing contributed to the death of Tucker Hipps. 

However, the Fraternity has asked its Clemson chapter to remain under suspended operations after learning that University administrators were aware of morning runs for new members, an activity that may be in violation of Sigma Phi Epsilon's own policies and procedures. A member education program, which included morning runs for the chapter's newest members, was submitted to campus administrators earlier this semester. 

(Brian C. Warren Jr, Sigma Phi Epsilon CEO) stated that 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 wellbeing of Tucker's friends and fellow Clemson students. “They're hurting right now, and they need the support of their fraternity and their university.” 

Speaking to next steps, Warren added, “I am hopeful that we can partner with the Clemson administration and prevent speculation and external pressures from impacting important decisions in the coming weeks. We will investigate any and all allegations related to the tragic death of Tucker Hipps, while continuing to support members of our chapter as they cope with the loss of their friend.”

The Oconee County Sheriff's Office is continuing to investigate Hipps' death and asks anyone with information to call the sheriff's office at 864-638-4111.

READ MORE: Continuing coverage of death investigation, statewide response to student's death

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