University of Alabama suspends fraternity pledging - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

University of Alabama suspends fraternity pledging

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Dr. Mark Nelson, vice president of Student Affairs, discusses the hazing news in front of the Rose Administration building. Source: Kelvin Reynolds Dr. Mark Nelson, vice president of Student Affairs, discusses the hazing news in front of the Rose Administration building. Source: Kelvin Reynolds
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TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) -

The University of Alabama has suspended all fraternity pledgeship activities after hazing allegations were made against 10 fraternities.

According to a press release from the university, in the last week seven fraternities were investigated on hazing complaints including Phi Gamma Delta, Chi Phi, Sigma Nu, Kappa Alpha Order, Kappa Sigma, Pi Kappa Phi and Zeta Beta Tau.

After the investigations, Greek and Judicial affairs have cleared Phi Gamma Delta, Sigma Nu, Kappa Alpha Order, Kappa Sigma, Pi Kappa Phi and Zeta Beta Tau. There is no word on the investigation into Chi Pi.

In addition, a complaint has also been made about Theta Chi, and the university says they will begin an investigation immediately.

The university has also handed down suspensions to some fraternity members. They say that they have issued interim suspensions to one former member and two active members of Pi Kappa Alpha who are accused of engaging in hazing off-campus. 

After coming under scrutiny for hazing, the local chapter advisory board for Delta Tau Delta has chosen to indefinitely suspend all pledge programs and social activities. The chapter has been referred to Judicial Affairs. 

These students will not be able to attend classes or participate in university activities until Judicial Affairs decides whether they can be reinstated. Pi Kappa Alpha's student seating for football games have also been revoked. Additional sanctions and penalties could be levied against the fraternity pending a completed investigation.

Dr. Mark Nelson, vice president for Student Affairs, held a press conference at 4 p.m. Thursday to address the hazing allegations and investigations.

"The hazing that resulted in the three interim suspensions involved several pledges being asked to do exercises...known as "bows and toes,'" Nelson said.

Nelson says that in this exercise, pledge must balance their weight on their elbow and toes, sometimes resting their elbows on bottle tops or on broken light bulb glass.

Below is the full statement released by the University of Alabama:

Based on calls that have come into the hazing hotline in the last week, The University of Alabama has investigated several IFC fraternities who were accused of hazing incidents. UA appreciates the full cooperation, support and assistance of the fraternities, their national organizations and their chapter advisors.

As a result of these investigations, UA has taken the following actions:

UA has issued interim suspensions to one former member of Pi Kappa Alpha and two active members who engaged in hazing activities at an off-campus location. Students may not attend classes or participate in University activities until they have appeared before Judicial Affairs and a decision is made on whether they can be reinstated and return to campus.

• UA has revoked Pi Kappa Alpha's Student Organization Seating for the rest of this football season. Judicial Affairs is looking into sanctions for the chapter and additional penalties for other members, and the chapter will lose social privileges for Fall semester. As our investigations move forward, additional sanctions, consequences and penalties could be levied against these individuals and the chapter. If additional details reveal that criminal offenses were committed, the individuals will be referred to appropriate law enforcement officials.

• After being notified by UA about hazing allegations, the local chapter advisory board for Delta Tau Delta has suspended all pledge programs and social activities indefinitely. UA has referred Delta Tau Delta to Judicial Affairs. UA has revoked Delta Tau Delta's Student Organization Seating for the rest of this football season.

• UA has ended all IFC pledgeship activities as of 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18. Greek Affairs, Judicial Affairs and/or UAPD will conduct a thorough and comprehensive review of all IFC fraternities on campus. As vague and non-specific allegations continue to circulate, UA is working diligently and carefully to clearly separate rumors from actual incidents and appropriately identify the individuals involved, so that those who are responsible for hazing activities can be held accountable for their behavior and decisions.

• During the last week, UA has received confidential and specific allegations via the hotline involving Phi Gamma Delta, Chi Phi, Sigma Nu, Kappa Alpha Order, Kappa Sigma, Pi Kappa Phi and Zeta Beta Tau. After investigating, Greek Affairs and Judicial Affairs have cleared Phi Gamma Delta, Sigma Nu, Kappa Alpha Order, Kappa Sigma, Pi Kappa Phi and Zeta Beta Tau.

• UA has also received a complaint about Theta Chi, and will begin that investigation immediately.

• The national organizations for Chi Phi and Pi Kappa Alpha have issued cease and desist communications to the local chapters and have indicated they will also conduct their own investigations.

The University of Alabama takes allegations and incidents of hazing very seriously. Students who are the victims of or who become aware of hazing incidents are strongly encouraged to bring these incidents to our attention. The hazing and harassment hotline is monitored daily by members of the Student Affairs staff. Calls to the hazing hotline are confidential and are referred to Judicial Affairs and/or UAPD for investigation. To ensure a successful investigation, callers should provide specific information including names of organizations, times and locations. Self-reporting mechanisms are available to chapters who uncover acts of hazing by their members. The University will not tolerate hazing on- or off-campus, and will respond aggressively on behalf of any student who feels he/she is subject to acts of retaliation for reporting a hazing incident.

The safety and well-being of our students is a top priority for UA. Our ability to stop hazing depends on a partnership between the University, the members, leadership and alumni of local chapters, parents and the national organizations.

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