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Central Florida fraternity suspended after mom complained that son was forced to chug alcohol

by Yelena Dzhanova and Associated Press /  / Updated 

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The University of Central Florida has suspended a fraternity after a woman complained that her son was forced to chug a bottle of alcohol during a pledging event, school officials said Wednesday.

The suspensions comes months after after a former Beta Theta Pi pledge's mother wrote the fraternity's national organization saying her son was dropped as a pledge after getting sick because he was forced to drink a "huge bottle" of Smirnoff Ice.

In the letter, which was provided to NBC News by UCF officials with redactions, the mother also wrote that her son was forced to give rides to the frat members and their girlfriends and clean houses before parties.

"We cannot support, nor should you support a legal university supported fraternity that harasses and forces underaged men to chug large amounts of alcohol as a sign of being strong enough to be a Beta pledge," the mother wrote in the letter from late November. "These men do not have decent regard for mentoring leadership, respect, intelligent behavior, and maturity to a group of men that have pledged their allegiance to their group."

The mother also noted that there are "6 fraternity and sorority national memberships" in her immediate family.

The Orlando Sentinel first reported the university has scheduled a Feb. 16 hearing for Beta Theta Pi, which was accused of hazing and providing alcohol to minors in November.

Image: Students walk in front of the library on the University of Central Florida campus on Jan. 18, 2018, in Orlando, Florida.
The library on the University of Central Florida campus on Jan. 18, 2018, in Orlando.Phelan M. Ebenhack / via AP file

Related: Incidents like Cornell frat's 'pig roast' harder to police after Title IX rollbacks, experts say

In a statement to NBC News, UCF spokeswoman Courtney Gilmartins said, "The hearing is an opportunity for the organization to respond to the allegations, present witnesses, etc. Organizational conduct process and procedures are outlined in the Golden Rule [student handbook]."

The national organization says it's working with the University of Central Florida to investigate this case.

Related: Texas State University suspends Greek life activity after frat pledge dies

Beta Theta Pi was banned from Penn State University after a pledge died at a fraternity party there last year.

CORRECTION (Feb. 11, 2018, 11:25 a.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the type of alcohol the student reportedly consumed. His mother said he drank Smirnoff Ice, which is a flavored malt beverage, not vodka.

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