Fraternity Hazing: First Quarter 2020
The massive social disruptions due to the Corona virus epidemic have led practically every junior college, college, and university in the nation to either suspend all classes for the remainder of the semester or to switch to online/distance education. As a result of campus closings, the reported number of fraternity suspensions and closings has dropped dramatically. However, prior to the early March shutdowns, our fraternity in-house fraternity misconduct database at The Doan Law Firm recorded 24 cases where fraternities were either suspended pending investigation of reported misconduct, suspended, or expelled from campus.
In today’s post, our fraternity hazing lawyer summarizes fraternity disciplinary activity at our nation’s colleges and universities during the first 3 months of 2020. He will then discuss the legal options that may be available to victims of fraternity hazing and their families.
In a previous post, we reported on the record number of fraternity suspensions ordered in January of this year. In the Coronavirus epidemic-shortened 1st semester of 2020, 5 fraternities were suspended for at least 3 years.
Phi Delta Theta: Ohio State (hazing, alcohol and Code of Conduct violations)
Pi Kappa Phi: Boise State (undisclosed policy violations)
Sigma Pi: Ohio State (hazing, alcohol, and Code of Conduct violations)
Zeta Beta Tau: Ohio State (hazing, alcohol and Code of Conduct violations)
In addition to the suspensions noted in the previous section of this post, 4 fraternities were ordered to shut down by either their host school or by their national headquarters.
Pi Kappa Alpha: George Washington (undisclosed policy violations)
Pi Kappa Phi: Elon (undisclosed violations of national policies)
Sigma Phi Epsilon: Lamar (hazing)
Theta Chi: San Diego State (undisclosed policy violations)
Our fraternity hazing database has documented that alcohol abuse by underage pledges occurs in virtually all fraternity hazings, followed by forced use of marijuana and/or prescription drugs. Since underage pledges cannot legally purchase alcohol, it must have been purchased and provided with the intent it would be used in a hazing ritual. This would expose individual fraternity members, as well as the local fraternity chapter, to criminal charges of providing alcohol to minors. In addition, the practice of physically abusing new members could, depending of state law, lead to charges ranging from simple misdemeanor assault to felony aggravated assault. However, arrests are uncommon.
Although fraternity hazing is a crime in all but 5 states, arrests and prosecutions are relatively uncommon. As an example, 18 members of the Zeta Tau Delta fraternity chapter at Miami (OH) University were arrested in a fraternity hazing case that led to a 15-year suspension of the fraternity. As of this post, 15 have entered guilty pleas to a single misdemeanor charge in exchange for dismissal of other charges. All were ordered to pay fines of between $100 and $250 and received suspended 30 day jail sentences. This was after a hazing incident during which underage fraternity pledges were forced to consume large amounts of alcohol and were beaten by fraternity members.
The parents of the victim have filed a civil lawsuit against the individual fraternity fraternity members involved, the local fraternity chapter, and the national headquarters of Zeta Tau Delta.
Contacting our fraternity hazing lawyer
If your son was injured in a fraternity hazing accident or as a result of a fraternity hazing-related incident, we encourage you to contact the fraternity hazing lawyer at The Doan Law Firm, a national law firm with offices located throughout the country.
When you contact our firm to arrange your free case review and first consultation with our fraternity hazing injury, you never will be a charged a fee of any kind regardless of your decision to file a lawsuit against those responsible for your son’s injuries. Should you decide that a lawsuit is in order, and that you would like The Doan Law Firm to represent you in court, we are willing to assume full responsibility for all aspects of preparing your fraternity hazing injury case for trial in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of the final settlement we are prepared to win for you.