By James Steinbauer, Editor-in-Chief
A new spate of hazing allegations against Miami University fraternities has exposed accusations of paddling, forced drinking and servitude and has led to the suspension of three fraternities and investigations into five more.
A Miami Student records request last week revealed that since Feb. 25, fraternities Alpha Delta Phi, Delta Sigma Phi, Delta Tau Delta, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Delta Theta, and Sigma Pi have all been investigated or are currently under investigation for hazing, among other allegations.
Three fraternities, including Phi Kappa Tau, Pi Kappa Alpha and Pi Kappa Phi, have been suspended after investigations found they violated the Miami Code of Student Conduct for hazing, bringing the list of unrecognized Greek organizations to 10.
Phi Kappa Tau fraternity is suspended from Miami University until May 15, 2020.
On March 3, Kelly Ramsey, associate director of Miami’s Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution (OESCR), notified Robert Nigro, president of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, of an anonymous complaint that included screenshots of a GroupMe exchange between new Phi Kappa Tau members. The complaint alleged that new members were involved in workouts, provided servitude to active members and were held against their will.
Nigro declined to comment on Phi Kappa Tau’s suspension.
Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity is suspended until Jan. 1, 2020.
Records show that on March 8, a witness testified that a classmate said he could not attend a study group because of “fraternity stuff.” The classmate said he would show up covered in hot sauce and drunk. The classmate later testified that he was making a joke about the hot sauce.
“In light of the numerous reports of alleged hazing occurring in the community during the new member education period and the action taken by IFC earlier in the semester which mandated new member education stop and chapters initiate, it was difficult for me to understand why a new member would openly joke about being hazed and suggest it would, or has, happened to him,” wrote Susan Vaughn, director of OESCR, in a letter to Pi Kappa Alpha President Aaron Toney.
Sam Flannery, the chapter advisor for Pi Kappa Alpha, wrote in an email to The Miami Student that he felt the university’s decision to suspend the fraternity for four years was excessive.
“Unfortunately, in today’s ultra-sensitive social environment, a verbal joke was recently made by one individual (pledge) in an attempt to get out of a study session,” Flannery wrote. “This was overheard and reported to the University. As a result, we have been suspended with the complete absence of any evidence.”
In an interview yesterday, Vaughn said that with increased reports of hazing, there would be increased university sanctions on fraternities.
“I think hazing is something that’s within the culture of Greek organizations,” Vaughn said. “I think Greek organizations now know that Miami is going to be pretty relentless in following up with them.”
Pi Kappa Phi fraternity is suspended until Jan. 1, 2017 and will be on disciplinary probation until Dec. 31, 2018.
Records show that members of Pi Kappa Phi forced associate members to participate in calisthenics — body-weight training — while being forced to consume food and alcohol.
They were called demeaning names, were required to participate in acts of servitude and, despite a mutual agreement last month between the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, did not immediately initiate associate members.
“Pi Kappa Phi works to comprehensively reinforce our concern for human dignity and mutual respect among our members,” Justin Angotti, assistant executive director of education and accountability for Miami’s Pi Kappa Phi chapter, wrote in an email to The Miami Student. “Individuals involved in the recent violations of Pi Kappa Phi’s standards of conduct and risk management policy will also be held accountable through the Fraternity’s conduct process.”
On April 8, Ramsey notified president of Sigma Pi fraternity Colin Suter of a phone call from an anonymous parent alleging violations of hazing and prohibited use of alcohol.
According to records, pledges “were required to perform various activities that involved alcohol, drugs and other activities that could endanger their health, safety and wellbeing during the weeks prior to spring break.”
Sigma Pi is currently under investigation and is awaiting the outcome of its procedural review. Suter did not reply to The Miami Student’s request for comment.
On April 5, Ramsey notified Dean Firouzian, president of Delta Tau Delta fraternity, of an anonymous complaint from Ethics Point alleging violations of hazing.
According to records, pledges of Delta Tau Delta fraternity were “allegedly being paddled, having full cans of beer thrown at them … providing servitude for current members, being forced to consume alcohol” and having their meal cards taken for a period of time.
Delta Tau Delta is currently under investigation and is awaiting the outcome of its procedural review. Firouzian declined to comment.
On April 1, Ramsey notified president of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity Jeff Hochwalt of findings from an Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity investigation into the fraternity and an anonymous complaint from Ethics Point alleging violations of hazing and disorderly conduct.
Records show that Delta Sigma Phi pledges were allegedly getting female students to write the fraternity’s names on their naked breasts and sharing the pictures via GroupMe.
Delta Sigma Phi is currently under investigation and is awaiting the outcome of its procedural review.
“Our National Headquarters’ internal investigation has concluded that the incident did not take place as alleged,” Hochwalt said in an email to The Miami Student. “The Iota Zeta Chapter of Delta Sigma Phi maintains that our member(s) were not involved in hazing or disorderly conduct.”
On March 30, Vaughn notified Jackson Bandy, president of Alpha Delta Phi, that an Administrative Hearing found the fraternity responsible for violations of dishonesty reported on March 8.
According to records, Alpha Delta Phi must attend an integrity seminar by May 6, with 100 percent of the new member class and 80 percent of the active members in attendance.
Bandy did not reply to The Miami Student’s request for comment.
On March 22, Ramsey notified Matthew Boubin, President of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, of multiple anonymous complaints alleging violations of hazing and prohibited use of alcohol.
Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity “pledges” were “allegedly forced to stand in a line, sometimes naked, in a dark room with music blasting, while older members yelled negative and derogatory comments at them,” according to records. “They were quizzed on fraternity facts and if answered incorrectly, they were required to do a physical activity while drinking beer/liquor or having substances dumped on them.”
In an email, Vaughn said OESCR found Lambda Chi Alpha not responsible in a hearing that occurred after records were provided to The Miami Student. Boubin declined to comment on the fraternity’s charges.
In an interview yesterday, Vaughn said the apparent hike in fraternities under investigation this semester stems from an increase in reporting.
“I honestly believe that our students and our community are doing a better job of reporting it,” Vaughn said. “I also think there’s a culture within organizations, I guess, that at the same time are encouraging silence and dishonesty. You so passionately want to be a part of an organization and you’re going through some pretty tough times, but you don’t want to get that organization in trouble or you don’t want to be retaliated against.”