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- Ohio University suspended all 15 fraternities on its campus after seven allegations of hazing at different fraternities were submitted within the first three days of October.
- The week prior to the submissions was National Hazing Prevention Week, and the Sorority & Fraternity Life Office at OU held events for all of the sororities and fraternities on campus where the process of identifying and reporting hazing was explained.
- Two of the seven fraternities were identified as ACACIA and Alpha Epsilon Pi, both of which were issued cease-and-desist letters. The letters did not elaborate on the content on the complaints, aside from noting that the “health and safety” of multiple students was put at risk.
- The eight fraternities that were not reported will be presented with steps to be taken off suspension once the other five are identified, although what those steps will consist of is not yet clear.
- No fraternities will be allowed to participate in OU’s Homecoming celebrations next week, nor can any fraternities hold meetings, host activities, or communicate as a group for the time being.
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Ohio University issued a blanket suspension for all 15 fraternities on campus after a tidal wave of hazing allegations.
During the last week of September, both of OU’s Greek Life councils held events for National Hazing Prevention Week to explain what hazing was, how one knows if they’re being hazed, and how to report hazing. The next week, seven hazing allegations were submitted against seven different fraternities within three days.
As a result, every member of the university’s Interfraternity Council was suspended, the ACACIA and Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternities were issued cease-and-desist letters, and the rest of the fraternities are waiting for the next five accused of hazing to be named. The next round of letters is expected to be sent within days.
The cease-and-desist letters did not specify what kind of hazing occurred, just noted that the “health and safety” of multiple students had been put at risk. Only fraternities were affected. Under the suspension, fraternities cannot hold meetings, host activities, or communicate as a group. No fraternities will take part in OU’s Homecoming celebrations next week, but sororities will still participate as planned.
In a statement, OU’s Dean of Students wrote, “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.”
A Hazing Prevention Task Force had been formed the week before the suspensions, which were preceded by an alleged hazing death
Immediately after the suspensions were announced, false reports that fraternity houses were being raided and that members were being arrested or forced to leave fraternity houses spread online. No direct action was taken against any student or fraternity besides the cease-and-desist letters, but no one was required to leave fraternity housing.
A Hazing Prevention Task Force consisting of faculty and Greek Life students was formed by the Office of Student Affairs the week prior to the hazing allegation submissions. The group has met since but is waiting for the other five fraternity cease-and-desist letters to be sent before forming an action plan.
A source who attended the Task Force meeting told Insider that the Sorority & Fraternity Life Office conveyed to Greek Life Council members that fraternities who were not named in the hazing complaints would be given an opportunity to come off suspension via steps that could resemble an exit interview, although those steps have not been made clear to Greek Life Council members yet. Members of Greek Life were also given a directive by OU faculty not to speak to members of the press.
In April, the Sigma Pi fraternity was expelled from campus after it was found to have violated multiple OU policies concerning hazing and alcohol use. An 18-year-old student and alleged Sigma Pi pledge, Collin Wiant, died at an off-campus residence that served as an unofficial annex for the fraternity.
Wiant’s family has alleged that he was the victim of hazing from Sigma Pi members. The national and local Sigma Pi chapter denied culpability, stating that Wiant was no longer considered a pledge at the time of his death. He died from asphyxiation due to nitrous-oxide consumption, known colloquially as “whippets,” The Athens News reported.
The day after Wiant’s death, OU sent Sigma Pi a cease-and-desist. After a Student Code of Conduct investigation, the fraternity was found to have violated 10 statutes, including hazing through endangerment, brutality, coerced consumption, and coerced activity.
OU has never suspended all fraternities at once, but Ohio State University suspended all 37 of its on-campus fraternities in 2017 after multiple hazing allegations. Fraternities that were not named at OSU were given steps to come off suspension, in a similar manner to what is expected to happen at OU.
Neither Ohio University nor the Sorority & Fraternity Life Office at OU immediately responded to Insider’s request for comment.