Police say that a February prank by members of the SMU chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon crossed the line from run-of-the-mill college-kid stupid to illegal, criminally stupid when they held a rival frat member against his will for more than four hours, punching and kicking him and, according to the victim's attorney, spraying a cleaning agent, Formula 409, onto his wounds.
Four Sig Eps -- 18-year-olds Jared Agnew and Julian Ryles and 19-year-olds Benjamin Bechtel and Tanner Koch -- are facing criminal charges stemming from the attack. The other shoe dropped yesterday afternoon when SMU booted the organization from campus for two years.
In a prepared statement, university spokesman Kent Best told the Morning News the decision was made "because of violations of the SMU Student Code of Conduct and University policies, as well as the standards and values of the fraternity itself."
"SMU expects its students to uphold high standards of personal and academic integrity," he said. "The University believes it is important to take this action and expects the young men of the fraternity to learn from this experience."
One thing they seemed to have learned is to not broadcast ill-considered comments about a high-profile assault case on social media. A quick scan of Twitter and Facebook turns up only a couple of vague images some members posted to Facebook late last night:
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We have emails out to chapter President Billy Hightower and communications chief John Morrow. We'll update if we hear back.