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Hazing problems increase on college campuses

April 4, 1997

By Lisa Zapata

Lariat Staff Writer

Campuses across the nation have been plagued in recent months with hazing violations, and Texas schools have led the way in the Big 12.

Baylor University policy and Texas State law defines hazing as 'a broad term encompassing any action or activity which does not contribute to the positive development of a person; which inflicts or intends to cause physical or mental harm or anxieties or sleep deprivation; which may demean, degrade, or disgrace any person, regardless of location, intent or consent of participants. Hazing can also be defined as any action or situation which intentionally or unintentionally endangers a student seeking admission into or affiliation with any student organization.'

Maximum fines for hazing, according to a University report, can range from $500 to $10,000 and from 180 days to two years in jail.

Reports have been made that three University fraternities are on the verge of having their charter suspended due to hazing incidences, but University officials would not comment as to which organizations are.

Texas A&M suspended nine supervisors of the Corps of Cadet's Fish Drill Team in early March.

According to The Battalion, A&M's student newspaper, three students have come forward with complaints against the nine supervisor's, and one student is claiming that the supervisor's physically assaulted him in the corp's residence hall.

The allegations have resulted in the suspension of these members, and Maj. Gen. M.T. 'Ted' Hopgood, commandant of the Corps of Cadets, said that the suspensions were applied because neither the Corps nor Texas A&M University tolerate any form of hazing.

The March 6 edition of The Battalion stated that Phi Gamma Delta fraternity received a three-year suspension for a hazing incident that occurred in January. Two complaints were filed against the fraternity. Apparently, the fraternity had a keg on the property of the fraternity house, which is a violation of the hazing code, and they hosed down pledges outside the house, resulting in one student being rushed to the hospital and later dying after suffering an asthma attack.

The University of Texas has had its own hazing problems recently with Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.

According to the March 26 edition of The Daily Texan, UT's student newspaper, two more warrants were issued against members of Pi Kappa Alpha. Originally seven Pikes were charged with some form of hazing.

Five members were charged with hazing, one with assault with injury and one with making a terrorist threat. Two more members have warrants pending for their alleged involvement in Oct. 11 and Oct. 13, 1996, hazing events.

According to The Texan, six of the original seven members charged have turned themselves in and the other two recently issued warrants will have the same amount of time to receive counsel before surrendering to authorities.

Oklahoma State University Manager of Greek Life, Marilon Morgan, said that she has not received any formal complaints of hazing.

'Formal complaints' is a judicial term used for those complaints coming through to bring a case, Morgan said.

'Greeks live in a fishbowl, and the expectation of Greeks is that they should have a higher standard than any other group on a college campus, which is as it should be,' Morgan said.

She said that her chapters do a marvelous job of being attuned to it [hazing].

'There's been a marked attitude adjustment, and a heightened response to judgement calls,' Morgan said.

As far as punishment, she said that it depends on the severity of the case. She said the rule of thumb is usually if a person thinks they are being hazed, they usually are.

With this in mind, hazing punishments vary depending on what was done.

Fraternities often get more attention for hazing than sororities or other campus organizations.

'It seems to be the need of men to have a right of passage,' Morgan said. 'They [men] want a demonstration of earning the membership, whereas women believe that they have chosen their members and therefore have made the right of passage.'

Sororities in the past have played mind games on pledges, but on the Oklahoma State campus those practices have all but disappeared, Morgan said.

Iowa State University Greek Affairs Coordinator, Robin Shaffer-Lilienthal, said that there have not been any hazing incidences this year that has come to the attention of the Greek Affairs office.

Kansas State University Greek Affairs Adviser, Barb Roble, said she has not seen any recent hazing event on the campus. She said that there has not been a report of hazing in several years.

The University of Kansas, on the other hand, had to recently dismiss Pi Kappa Alpha from Rock Chalk Revue, a university sponsored event.

Vice Chancellor David Ambler's office placed the fraternity on suspension pending an investigation into allegations of an excessive drinking event in which one freshman member was rushed to the hospital, according to a March 4 edition of The University Daily Kansan, Kansas' student newspaper.

Representatives from the University of Missouri, University of Colorado, University of Oklahoma, University of Nebraska, and Texas Tech could not be reached Wednesday or Thursday afternoon.

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