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'Dangerous and frightening' - New details on alleged hazing by OU frats, band, rugby club uncovered

Ohio University
Posted at 12:04 PM, Oct 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-31 13:18:02-04

ATHENS, Oho — Following the suspension of all fraternities at Ohio University earlier this month for hazing incidents a school spokesperson called a "systemic cultural issue," the school has decided to amend its decision and allow several organizations to operate under modified restrictions. News 5 has obtained complaints with details on alleged hazing by the organizations that remain suspended.

"Within a 48 hour time period, we had allegations against seven organizations—it appeared that there was a systemic cultural issue,” OU spokesperson Carly Leatherwood said.

The university has been under a microscope since November 2018 when a student named Collin Wiant died from asphyxiation after he inhaled nitrous oxide.

In a lawsuit, his family says it was connected to a hazing incident at Sigma Pi, which was expelled by the university on April 11.

Sigma Pi has denied the allegations.

RELATED: Ohio U expels fraternity over hazing after student’s death

After the recent allegations of hazing, the University moved to suspend all of its fraternities, but according to an Oct. 24 letter, nine fraternities and sororities will be allowed to operate, albeit under "modified restrictions" that state the organizations are allowed to have social functions with supervision.

Those organizations are as follows: Pi Kappa Phi, Alpha Kappa Psi, ACACIA, Phi Chi Theta, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Theta Chi, Pi Beta Phi, Delta Zeta, and Chi Omega.

Two fraternities—Delta Upsilon and Sigma Phi Epsilon— had their restrictions lifted conditionally.

The university has lifted all restrictions on five organizations: Phi Gamma Delta, Phi Delta Theta, Pi Kappa Alpha, Phi Kappa Tau, and Delta Tau Delta.

According to school officials, the university has also lifted the blanket suspension that was previously placed on Inter-fraternity Council Organizations that were not part of the groups placed under cease and desist order.

Four fraternities still under the cease and desist order are Beta Theta Pi, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Kappa Psi and Sigma Chi.

Through a public records request, News 5 has obtained some of the allegations made against the fraternities and organizations that remain suspended.

Reports released by the university describe accounts of going through "hell week," where fraternity pledges are forced to sleep in a a basement and forbidden to do anything but go to class.

On Oct. 3, an allegation was filed against Beta Theta Pi stating that pledges were forced to clean active brothers' houses and to drink excessive alcohol. It claims pledges were locked in rooms and interrogated for hours and forced to run five miles at 4 a.m. A separate allegation stated that the frat takes hazing “further than it needs to go."

Last March, Lambda Chi Alpha was accused of forcing members to sleep in a basement during “Hell Week,", where they were not allowed to bathe or do homework. This month, another complaint filed by a parent of a Lambda Chi Alpha pledge alleged that he was forced to sleep in a damp basement, forced to drink to excess, had his phone taken for a week, had an asthma attack and was then taken to the ER by his “brothers." That parent wrote: "The fraternity culture has become dangerous and frightening on all campuses, and leaders must step up."

In addition to the fraternity suspensions, just this month, the university has also suspended the school's marching band, the men's rugby club, and a business fraternity. The school has also issued cease and desist orders and launched an investigation into three sororities and a professional fraternity over hazing allegations.

The men's rugby club also allegedly forced a new member to chug liquor and run around the university naked.

A music professor reported students had told him that in 2017 and 2018, new band members would have to partake in a ritual to dirty their band jackets by rolling around in the mud to make them look "vintage." One band member accused of leading the ritual told the professor it was optional. A separate allegation claimed that new band members were sometimes pushed down a hill, saying they had the "s**t beat out of them." The complaint also claimed that band members would use cigarettes to burn holes through the Ohio logo of new members' jackets while they were wearing them.

School officials said they are committed to a safe and respectful campus environment.

A list of student organization statuses can be found here.

In the Oct. 24 letter, the university stated that "These past few weeks have been a testament to this commitment with the advent of hazing allegations that surfaced against several student organizations within a few short days earlier this fall semester."

After learning of recent hazing allegations, the school said it took "swift action" to halt the organizations in which the incidents occurred.

RELATED: Ohio University's Marching 110 suspended following hazing allegations