State Taking Action Against Fraternity Hazing

Three prominent university fraternities are suspended as the State takes action against problematic fraternity hazing.

By Rick Gonzales | Published

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fraternity hazing

Another university fraternity is in hot water after a fraternity hazing incident was reported for investigation. Based on this investigation, West Virginia University (WVU) has suspended Delta Chi for three years, effective immediately. Three other fraternities were reprimanded based on allegations of fighting.

Delta Chi’s fraternity hazing incident was reported in February causing the university to interim suspend the fraternity until the investigation could be completed. While details of the exact hazing incident were kept private, the Office of Student Conduct did say that it did not include alcohol or any controlled substances. At the time, the interim suspension prevented Delta Chi from recruitment activities. They were also banned from organizing or attending any social functions.

WVU’s Hazing Prevention Task Force chair, Matthew Richardson, said at the time through WVU Today, “I join the University’s administration, along with many others in the Center for Fraternal Values and Leadership, who are working to ensure we are acting in accordance with rules established for the safety of all of our chapters and their members, in our profound disappointment.” Richardson also serves as the director of the Center.

fraternity hazing

Not only is fraternity hazing prohibited at West Virginia University, but it is also prohibited by West Virginia state law. Richardson had this to say after Delta Chi’s three-year suspension announcement, “The Center for Fraternal Values and Leadership, along with the University administration, takes every allegation seriously and we work diligently to create a safe, positive atmosphere for our chapters and their members.” Richardson continued, “When a chapter or member falls short of our expectations and the rules, we want to do all we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Richardson was also referring to the three other fraternities that were reprimanded for fighting. Phi Sigma Phi received the harshest penalty for the fraternity hazing act taking a disciplinary reprimand and was placed on probation by its national headquarters. The other two, Sigma Nu and Phi Kappa Psi, both received disciplinary reprimands. These reprimands are written notices of violations that become a part of the fraternity’s official school record.

On top of the fraternities being investigated and eventually charged, nine other individuals also were singled out for the hazing incident and fighting. These violations were investigated by the Office of Student Conduct and the students now face possible sanctions that include deferred suspensions and even one-year probation. There is no word on the outcome of the violations.

fraternity hazing

Fraternity hazing comes in all shapes and sizes. Typically, they involve drinking and some sort of physical activity, and many times they don’t end well for those involved. For this reason, college campuses across the nation are banning the act and many states are passing laws to help schools enforce the ban.

In a nutshell, hazing refers to a task or an activity that members trying to join a group (in this case a fraternity) must perform. These tasks or activities are designed to degrade, humiliate, and even harm the individual. But hazing isn’t only seen with fraternities. It can be seen in other groups such as sports teams, bands, clubs, Greek organizations, and societies.

West Virginia University is no stranger to fraternity hazing and the horrible effects they cause. A number of years back the university gained national attention when 18-year-old Nolan Burch was found unresponsive at the Kappa Sigma house after a night of hazing. Two days later, the young man had passed away. What was discovered was that Burch had a blood alcohol content of 0.493 percent, way beyond the legal West Virginia limit of 0.08.

fraternity hazing

Burch’s sad story was the capper on a number of fraternity hazing incidents that had made headlines. One 19-year-old Clemson University student died during a fraternity run. Another 19-year-old California State University, Northridge died tragically on a fraternity trip. Sadly, a Penn State University student committed suicide after repeated hazing.

Back in the day, fraternity hazing was a rite of passage. But also back in the day, hazing was a bit tamer than what has been seen recently. The dangers are real and unfortunately, there have been too many fatal incidents to turn a blind eye anymore. Colleges and universities are finally stepping up to the plate to tackle this deadly issue and they are now getting assistance from lawmakers. It now remains to be seen if the students are going to listen.

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