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Gruesome, Degrading, Dangerous Hazing Rituals Result in Four-Year Suspension of University of Iowa Acacia Fraternity

The University of Iowa announced the suspension of the Acacia Fraternity through December 2024. The suspension arose from what UI administrators concluded was “high-risk hazing practices and multiple violations of conduct policies.” The misconduct was identified both during the IC Acacia Fraternity rushes and initiations in the fall of 2019 and the spring of 2020.

Founded in 1904 at the University of Michigan, up until the suspension of the UI chapter, Acacia had 28 active chapters across the United States and Canada. Multiple members of the UI chapter reported the fraternity to school administrators at the end of the summer of 2020.

Examples of hazing reported by members of the Acacia Fraternity included being forced to drink “horrible” concoctions containing copious amounts of alcohol. In addition, pledges were forced to spend the night in an attic at below-freezing temperatures. Pledges had their fingertips burned with open flames until they could successfully recite the Greek alphabet without error. In addition, pledges were forced into signing lease agreements.

After conducting a thorough investigation of the Acacia Fraternity, the University of Iowa Office of Student Accountability issued a 23-page report. Following a recounting of the extensive misconduct of fraternity members, the report concluded that for four years, the organization would lose all rights and privileges associated with a recognized student organization at the University of Iowa. This includes funding and access to available space on campus for organizational activities.

The long-term suspension of the fraternity came on the heals of the organization having served a shorter period of probation for various incidents of alcohol misconduct and other violations. The probation penalty stemmed from misconduct by fraternity members in 2018.

Michael Weber, the Assistant Executive Director of the national Acacia Fraternity released a statement on the misconduct at the UI chapter:

“We take these allegations very seriously. The health and safety of students is the top priority for Acacia Fraternity and there is no tolerance for the actions reported. We believe any individuals found guilty of these acts should be held accountable,”

Regardless of the tough-talking statement from the fraternity’s national brass, Acacia has racked up a considerable number of serious misconduct allegations at its chapters across the country in the past decade. These include:

  • 2012: Indiana University – Bloomington chapter was suspended for a minimum of two years for multiple hazing violations.
  • 2013: Members of the Pennsylvania State University chapter were charged “with ethnic intimidation and criminal mischief after spray-painting anti-Semitic language, swastikas, and sexual references” at a Jewish fraternity at Penn State.
  • 2015: The Purdue University Acacia chapter was suspended for the rape of an Iowa college student and multiple underage drinking violations. That same year, the Louisiana State University chapter was suspended for three years due to multiple serious hazing violations. The Miami University chapter (Ohio) left the campus because it refused to comply with the university’s conduct standards.
  • 2016: The Acacia chapter at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was embroiled in a controversy with the Alpha Phi sorority involving members dressed in various “stereotypical ethnic costumes” mocking Black Americans, Latinos, Muslims, and members of the LGBTQ community.
  • 2017: Millersville University of Pennsylvania, together with the Acacia chapter at that school, were jointly sued for the wrongful death of a female student. She was murdered by a member of the fraternity after departing from an Acacia party.
  • 2020: Earlier this year, and before the suspension of the University of Iowa chapter, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was again making headlines for conduct violations. On this occasion, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been suspended until 2024.

The sad reality is that dangerous and even deadly fraternity hazing and other misconduct remains a major problem on college and university campuses across the United States. If you’ve been injured in a hazing incident, The Doan Law Firm at (800) 349-0000 is here for you. You can connect with a hazing lawyer at our nationwide law firm any time of the day or night, 365 days a year. There is no charge for a fraternity hazing consultation.

The Doan Law Firm makes an attorney fee promise to you. We never charge a fee unless we win for you.

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