‘Extensive’ damages to fraternity house under investigation


University officials said this week they are still investigating who is responsible for a quarter of a million dollars in damage to the former Sigma Phi Epsilon house last May.

The fraternity no longer has a house on campus and is on social probation until March 2015, Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Brooke Scogin wrote in an email.

Scogin described the damage to the Sig Eps house as “extensive.”

Mike Russel, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, said someone in the house ripped a water pipe out of the ceiling on the third floor, flooding the building. There were also broken ceiling tiles and holes in walls of the facility, he said.

“In 20 years of experience, this is the most serious [incident] I’ve seen,” Russel said.

Russel said the pipe supplied the water for the fire sprinkler system.

“That’s a pretty good size pipe under a lot of pressure, so a lot of water came out until we could get the water turned off and the system fixed,” Russel said.

Paeten Tencer, the CRA for the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, said the broken pipe spewed water for about two hours.

“I was running through the house trying to get all my stuff through the water,” Tencer said. “It drained out everywhere and soaked up everything.”

Russel said, despite the large amounts of damage, the flooded section of Wiggins Hall was repaired before the start of the semester.

FSL and the Office of Housing & Residence Life offered the housing space to the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, which previously did not have a house.

“It’s been hard on everybody, even Beta,” Russel said. “They had to rally together at the last minute and buy new furniture and stuff on limited notice.”

Beta Theta Pi President Michael Ridings declined to comment on the move.

Director of Housing & Residence Life Craig Allen said they were able to accommodate the displaced Sig Ep members without uprooting other students living on campus.

“While we weren’t going to offer them a fraternity house experience, we knew that we had residence hall spaces to offer, and we wanted to make sure that we took care of the students because they needed a place to live,” Allen said.

Russel said the university is still speaking with the fraternity’s insurance company about the damages. He doesn’t think the company will cover the damages.

“If that doesn’t work, we’re going to consider using the university’s insurance, but there’s still a pretty heavy deductible,” Russel said.

The problem could amount to changes to the university’s insurance policy for fraternity damages, Russel said.

According to TCU’s construction website, the university plans to construct new Greek housing after the Worth Hills parking garage project is complete in 2015. FSL will definitely offer Sig Ep space in the new facilities when they are complete, Russel said.

“As long as they are on target with whatever agreement we arrive at, they’ll be able to participate in the planning of what the new facility would look like in a few years,” Russel said.