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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

AEPi lawsuit to start trial on April 2

Ryan Clifford’s lawsuit against AEPi is set to start trial in Yolo County Superior Court on April 2.

Earlier this academic year, Clifford, a former UC Davis transfer student, filed legal charges against the regents of the University of California, claiming he was subject to the “harshest form of  hazing” for the duration of his term as a pledge for the Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi).

Clifford claims his non-Jewish religious affiliation is the primary reason for the alleged hazing.

“Ryan Clifford filed a separate suit against the regents of the University of California, Paul Cody and Tracy Grissom in federal court on Nov. 4, 2011.  That filing has now been amended and the university will file a response to the amended complaint by Feb. 17,” said UC Davis Senior Public Information Representative Julia Ann Easley.

In addition to the regents of the University of California, Clifford has also filed complaints against Paul Cody of the Office of Student Programs and Activities Center and Tracy Grissom, Advisor for Undergraduate Education, for the latter’s alleged disregard for Clifford’s complaints and the former’s refusal to follow through with the “conditional registration” requirements placed on the fraternity.

Clifford claims he was both “drugged and sexually assaulted by members of the fraternity” and was “compelled … to drink inordinate amounts of alcohol and consume beverages containing unknown narcotic substances,” during a mandatory Lake Tahoe retreat, as stated in Clifford’s Complaint for Damages.

Filing under the law office of Lisa Holder, Clifford is suing for the following damages: “[violation of] Ryan Clifford’s right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs and activities … [deprivation of Plaintiff’s] clearly established rights, privileges, and immunities secured by the 14th and First Amendments of the Constitution… [deprived of] the right of persons to be free from threats and intimidation based on religious and political affiliations or on the basis of sex … defendants owed [Clifford] duty of care … [Clifford suffered] extreme emotional and physical distress,” as stated in Clifford’s Complaint for Damages.

Alpha Epsilon Pi’s mission statement includes: “Alpha Epsilon Pi is a Jewish fraternity, though non-discriminatory and open to all who are willing to espouse its purpose and values,” as stated on the fraternity’s official nationwide website.

While AEPi members are currently not allowed to speak about the law suit, UC Davis AEPi President David Rosove highlighted the achievements of AEPi.

“We raised 6,000 dollars in the fall of 2011 for children who can’t afford heart transplants; the brothers of AEPi continue to strive to better our community,” he said.

GHEED SAEED can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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