Parents of Fraternity Pledge Who Died Sue Clemson U.

April 1, 2015

The parents of Tucker Hipps, a Clemson University student who fell from a bridge to his death during a run with his fraternity, are suing the university, Sigma Phi Epsilon and three members of the local chapter. The lawsuit alleges that the run was part of a hazing ritual and that Hipps, who was pledging with the fraternity at the time, fell to his death following an argument after he failed to bring McDonald's biscuits on the run, as demanded earlier by older members of the fraternity.

"[A fraternity member] and Tucker had a confrontation over the pledges' failure to bring the requested McDonald's breakfast," the lawsuit reads. "Subsequently, Tucker went over the railing of the bridge into the shallow waters of Lake Hartwell headfirst. Upon information and belief, a long tradition existed among the members of the local chapter requiring, pressuring, encouraging and forcing pledges to jump off of one or more bridges over Lake Hartwell and swim to shore." The lawsuit also alleges that the fraternity members did not report Hipps missing until seven hours after he fell from the bridge. The lawsuit claims the university was aware of the run, and is seeking in excess of $25 million in damages.

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