Lawsuit Claims NC Fraternity Hazing Led to Pledge’s Death

Family claims fraternity pledge died as a result of violent hazing led by High Point University president’s son.

High Point University and a fraternity are being sued by the family of a student who, the family claims, died as a result of violent hazing led by the school president’s son. The suit also alleges the security department didn’t do enough to manage the fraternity.

On March 26 2012, Robert Eugene Tipton Jr., 22, was found not breathing in his off-campus apartment and later pronounced dead at a local hospital, reports the News Record.

The autopsy of Tipton attributed his death to a pain killer overdose. It also found that Tipton had mild contusions to his head, neck and torso, but these injuries did not contribute to his death.

The lawsuit, however, claims High Point University officials knew that the fraternity where Tipton was pledging, Delta Sigma Phi, was engaging in “extreme and outrageous conduct,” reports the New York Daily News.

It also claims that Michael Qubein, who is the son of High Point President Nido Qubein, led the hazing and other activities, including drug and alcohol abuse. Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that another fraternity member, Marshall Jefferson, inflicted the physical blows on Tipton, which the family believes caused his death.

High Point University Security Director Jeffrey Karpovich is named as one of the defendants in the lawsuit, claiming that he instructed his department’s officers to go easy on Michal Qubein.

The school police chief says his department had heard rumors that there was hazing but was unable to substantiate that hazing had happened at the apartment. The chief also told the News Record that his officers conducted a full investigation but found no evidence of a homicide or that criminal charges should be filed.

The university released the following statement about the lawsuit: “We remain saddened by the loss of Robert. The University believes the lawsuit against it is unfounded and will defend itself in this litigation. As a lawsuit is now pending, it is not appropriate for the University to make additional comment.”

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