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Sorority Disciplined in Float Flap

October 16, 1998

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) _ A sorority has surrendered its Colorado State University charter after a scarecrow mocking homosexuals ended up on a homecoming parade float it was sponsoring with a fraternity.

The scarecrow appeared on the float Saturday while Matthew Shepard, a gay 21-year-old University of Wyoming student, lay dying in a nearby hospital. He died Monday after his fatal beating last week outside Laramie, Wyo.

The scarecrow appeared on a float sponsored by Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and Alpha Chi Omega sorority. On Wednesday, the sorority gave up its charter.

``Our chapter members at Colorado State University of Alpha Chi Omega voted to surrender their charter, and the board has voted to accept that charter,″ said Jan Crandall, national president of Indiana-based Alpha Chi Omega.

``Our actions ... reflect Alpha Chi Omega’s intolerance for this kind of behavior,″ she said. ``Our board and membership sends its deepest condolences to the Shepard family.″

Nicholas Haws, homecoming chairman for Pi Kappa Alpha, said the scarecrow on the float was supposed to be in the uniform of Tulsa University’s Golden Hurricane, Colorado State’s opponents in Saturday’s football game.

He said someone vandalized the float, pinning a sign saying ``I am Gay″ and an anti-gay epithet on the figure. He said the scarecrow was removed but someone placed it back on the float before Saturday’s parade.

Nathan Stanley, president of the Fort Collins chapter of the fraternity, said the appearance of the scarecrow was inadvertent. National fraternity officials condemned the prank.

Disciplinary hearings will begin early next week for as many as 11 fraternity and sorority members.

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