One fraternity and three sororities have been temporarily suspended after allegations of hazing
Four Greek groups including the fraternity Xi Chi Psi and the sororities Alpha Gamma Phi, Zeta Phi Gamma and Delta Phi Alpha, have been temporarily suspended pending investigation by the administration. These suspensions are a result of allegations of hazing surrounding each group’s New Member Education activities.
Hazing is addressed in Section X of the Code of Social Responsibility of the Scot’s Key. It is prohibited by The College of Wooster and illegal in the State of Ohio. As defined by Ohio law, hazing is “doing any act or coercing another, including the victim, to do any act of initiation into any student or other organization that causes or creates a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm to any person.” The Scot’s Key also states, “the College will consider hazing to be any portion of a new member process, whether on campus or off, which could cause discomfort, pain, fright, disgrace, injury or which is personally degrading regardless of the intent or end result.”
In an email sent out to the campus community on Jan. 24, Joe Kirk, Associate Director of Security and Protective Services/Director of Greek Life, stated, “Hazing can manifest itself in the form of physical violence, forced physical activities, or psychological and/or emotional harm, which can be violations of law.” Kirk also provided a list of several examples of hazing including sleep deprivation, the assignment of meaningless and sometimes impossible tasks, restriction of communication, forced confinement and lineups for the purpose of interrogating, demeaning, or intimidating.
“We are committed to supporting student groups, including Greek groups, as they work towards the positive goals they hold,” said Scott Brown, Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students. “When concerns about issues of safety and well-being arise it is our obligation to take them up and to review them carefully. It has come to our attention that some of the New Member Education activities are reflective of behaviors that put the health and well-being of our campus community at risk.”
Each group has been asked to cease all chapter activity until the investigations are completed. The administration met with leadership and explained that their groups were under investigation for allegations of hazing. The investigation would determine if there were any violations. “We will move forward with this process thoroughly and consistently,” said Brown. “This is in the best interests of any organization, as they have the right to an investigation, and if necessary, due process and a fair and equitable hearing. Once an organization has had their hearing, there is clarity on the next steps for the organization.”
Groups have also been asked to stop communication between active and new members. “In cases like these it ensures the pledging process stops as required and also supports the investigation itself,” said Brown. “We do not monitor their whereabouts, but will hold students accountable if we find out they violate this provision until the investigations are complete.”
Greek groups are currently working with the administration to help further the investigations until more information about the accusations is revealed. “Each group is addressing their accusations and being proactive partners with the Dean of Students Office in order to keep moving forward,” said Taylor Funderburk ’17, president of Zeta Phi Gamma.
“We are working hastily with [the] administration to proactively resolve the issues and to move forward,” said Tashiyanah Hutchins ’17, co-president of Delta Phi Alpha.
“We will continue our communication and compliance with the Dean of Students Office, Security and Protective Services and Campus Life moving forward,” said Dorian Boye-Doe ’17, president of Xi Chi Psi. “We see our suspension as an opportunity to strengthen our relationships with the administration, the Greek community, and campus as a whole. We hope to accomplish this goal with honest dialogue about Greek life, including its benefits and what can be done better, and through community outreach.”
Brown and the Dean of Students Office plan to balance support for Greek organizations and student well-being as they move forward with these investigations. “As a former Greek member who benefited tremendously from my experience in many ways, I look forward to working with all the groups,” said Brown. “Our hope, and certainly my hope, is to support our wonderful students so that they can achieve the stated goals of their organizations and address anything that might put our students in harm’s way.