Tags: tucker hipps | frat | hazing | death | clemson

Tucker Hipps, Dead Clemson Frat Pledge, May Have Been Victim of Hazing

Image: Tucker Hipps, Dead Clemson Frat Pledge, May Have Been Victim of Hazing
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By    |   Friday, 14 Aug 2015 11:40 AM

Tucker Hipps, a Clemson University fraternity pledge who died nearly a year ago, may have been a victim of hazing, according to documents that are part of a proposed amended lawsuit connected to the case.

Hipps' body was found last Sept. 22 floating in Lake Hartwell, but there is no account of how the young man, who was pledging Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity at Clemson, got there, WYFF-TV reported.

While a criminal investigation into Hipps' death has stalled, the family has filed a $25 million lawsuit against the fraternity and the university, charging that his death was part of a hazing ritual.

According to new documents, an unnamed witness states that three fraternity members "forced Tucker to get onto the narrow railing along the [Lake Hartwell] bridge and walk some distance of the bridge on top of the railing," WYFF-TV reported.

"Tucker slipped from the railing and caught the railing under his arms . . . tried to climb back onto the bridge unassisted . . . lost his grip on the bridge and fell headfirst into the water below, striking his head on the rocks in the shallow water," the television station continued.

Hipps' autopsy revealed that the college student sustained injuries to his arms, legs, and head consistent with a head-first fall.

Jimmy Watt, an Oconee County Sheriff's Office spokesman, told The State newspaper that the Hipps case is open and has already "spoken to this individual on more than one occasion. It is still an active and ongoing investigation."

Sigma Phi Epsilon has been suspended by Clemson for five years but has been mostly mum on Hipps' death, according to The State.

The Hipps family, calling his death "senseless and avoidable," said in a statement that they hope the lawsuit will help change how fraternities treat pledges and stop hazing.

"The culture of hazing and inappropriate conduct by social fraternities must be stopped. Universities and fraternities must make change from within to protect their own," the family said in its statement. "[The lawsuit was file] in the hopes that change will happen and that no other parent will feel the pain they have been forced to endure. Tucker lost his life, but we must not let it be vain."

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Tucker Hipps, a Clemson University fraternity pledge who died nearly a year ago, may have been a victim of hazing, according to documents that are part of a proposed amended lawsuit connected to the case.
tucker hipps, frat, hazing, death, clemson
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2015-40-14
Friday, 14 Aug 2015 11:40 AM
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