FEATURED PHOTO: JENNY HALL-JONES, DEAN OF STUDENTS OHIO STATE UNIVERISTY
Ideastream.org, Posted October 9th 2019
Ohio University has suspended all 15 Interfraternity Council (IFC) fraternities on the Athens campus in light of hazing allegations involving multiple organizations.
Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones made the announcement Thursday in a letter addressed to members of the IFC.
“Earlier last week, we received allegations that two IFC chapters were hazing new members and those chapters were placed on a cease and desist from Community Standards and Student Responsibility (CSSR),” she wrote. “Yesterday, we received reports of hazing that encompassed five more chapters. Those chapters will be receiving their notice of investigation and cease and desist letters from CSSR within the next few days.”
The suspension prevents the fraternities “from holding new member events, council or chapter meetings, chapter events such as socials, philanthropy, retreats, intramurals, and organized participation in Homecoming.”
“It is deeply troubling that seven of our Interfraternity Council (IFC) chapters have been or will be under investigation this semester for possible violations of the University’s Student Code of Conduct,” Hall-Jones wrote. “These troubling allegations, which will be thoroughly investigated, indicate a potentially escalating systemic culture within our IFC organizations, and Ohio University will not put at risk the health and safety of our students.”
Suspension of the fraternities was immediate and indefinite.
In May, the university expelled Sigma Pi fraternity for hazing, alcohol and drug use, and other student conduct code violations after the alleged hazing of 18-year-old Collin Wiant, who died in November.
A lawsuit by Wiant’s family alleges he died of asphyxiation after ingesting nitrous oxide provided to and forced on him by fraternity members.
Sigma Pi denied those allegations and said Wiant wasn’t a pledge when he died. The fraternity said Wiant, from the Columbus suburb of Dublin, was removed from the pledging process weeks earlier because of a sexual-assault allegation.
But his family’s attorney has argued there is evidence that Wiant remained a pledge.
At Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, a hazing allegation has led to misdemeanor charges of hazing and assault against more than a dozen fraternity members.
A student reported in March that members of the Delta Tau Delta chapter at the university in Oxford hazed him during initiation.
The student said he was beaten with a spiked paddle, kicked and forced to drink lots of alcohol.
Oxford police confirmed that a Butler County grand jury’s recent indictments of the 18 men stemmed from an investigation into hazing, the Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News reported.
Miami suspended the fraternity in August for 10 to 15 years after its investigation determined violations of the school’s Code of Student Conduct.
Delta Tau Delta’s national headquarters revoked the chapter’s charter in June.
Universities nationally have struggled in recent years to curb hazing. In August in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, two former fraternity brothers served time for misdemeanor hazing in connection with the alcohol poisoning death of a Louisiana State University student in 2017.
In Virginia in April, three Virginia State University fraternity members were accused of hurting 10 students who were being hazed.
In Pennsylvania, lawmakers enacted a stricter state anti-hazing law in 2018 following the death a year earlier of 19-year-old Penn State student Tim Piazza after the consumption a large quantity of alcohol the night of a pledge bid acceptance ceremony at the Beta Theta Pi house.
Anyone who believes they have been subject to or have witnessed hazing has been asked by Ohio University to report it here.