Note: This story appears in the Wednesday, Oct. 9 newspaper on Page A1.
Two more fraternities are now under formal investigation by Ohio University for allegations hazing.
That makes nine of the 15 Interfraternity Council chapters on campus which are being investigated.
All 15 remain under temporary suspension, a decision made last Thursday as OU received a multitude of hazing reports. These suspensions are in effect as the university celebrates Homecoming Week.
The Ohio University Police Department has reviewed the allegations against eight of the fraternities accused of misconduct. OU spokesperson Carly Leatherwood told The Messenger that to this point, “none of them have risen to the level of actionable criminal activity.” Those eight include Acacia, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Beta Theta Pi, Delta Tau Delta, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Kappa Psi, Sigma Chi and Theta Chi.
As of Tuesday, OUPD was investigating the complaint of the unnamed ninth chapter accused of hazing.
Though apparently innocent of criminal wrongdoing, the fraternities under investigation may still be found to have broken the Student Code of Conduct.
The suspension was announced by Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones and Vice President for Student Affairs Jason Pina through a letter to chapter presidents on Oct. 3. All 15 fraternities, whether under formal investigation or not, are banned from hosting any member events, meetings, social activities and “organized participation in Homecoming.” (Fraternity alumni events are being permitted this week on a case-by-case basis if they only include alumni.)
The university has maintained that the remaining chapters not under investigation can work with the Sorority and Fraternity Life office to determine a path forward.
“We have committed that we will not wait until all investigations are completed to lift the blanket suspension,” Leatherwood said. “Fraternities will have an opportunity for reinstatement on a case-by-case basis.”
Judson Horras, president and CEO of the North American Interfraternity Conference, has been critical of OU’s decision to suspend all of the IFC fraternities instead of just those who had been accused of wrongdoing.
“Hazing is a serious societal issue, and we strongly believe in holding individuals accountable,” Horras said in a provided statement after the suspensions were announced. “However, Ohio University’s suspension that impacts students not accused of misconduct is not the right approach to address this critical issue.”
Horras said OU should “bring all parties to the table to seek a path forward that places the highest priority on the health and safety of students, while respecting the rights of those that live up to the standards of fraternal excellence.”
Anyone who has been subjected to or has witnessed hazing can report it on the OU website’s Student Affairs page.
On the same day that OU’s suspensions were announced, the Associated Press reported that students at Miami University three hours west faced criminal charges related to alleged hazing.
Eighteen members of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity in Miami face misdemeanor charges of hazing and assault. A student alleged being beaten with a spiked paddle, kicked and forced to drink alcohol, the AP reported.