Members of many Greek organizations on Ohio University’s Main Campus had a bit of a rough fall semester.
Those in the Marching 110 Band and on the Men’s Rugby Club Team also faced scrutiny this fall, all stemming from allegations of hazing.
In October, things came to a head when all 15 Interfraternity Council chapters at OU were suspend during the investigation into Greek Life hazing. The university sent cease and desist notices to two fraternities — ACACIA and Alpha Epsilon Pi — after having received allegations the groups had engaged in conduct that put students’ health and safety “at risk” in early October.
The university mandated these chapters not engage in any organizational activities and that members not communicate with one another.
Not even a week later, three sororities and a professional fraternity joined the ranks of suspended campus organizations. Cease and desist letters were issued to Delta Zeta, Chi Omega, Pi Beta Phi and Phi Chi Theta. The first three are chapters within the Women’s Panhellenic Association, which governs 10 sororities at OU. The latter, Phi Chi Theta, is a co-educational business fraternity.
A month later, in early November, the three sororities were declared free and clear, with no evidence of hazing found by the university’s investigation.
Meanwhile, two other Interfraternity Council chapters that were accused of hazing have accepted responsibility for violating the Student Code of Conduct, Leatherwood said. These include Theta Chi and Delta Tau Delta.
Allegations released by OU in October described that both organizations forced new members to carry pieces of fruit with them at all times, with the size of the fruit growing progressively larger as the pledging process went along.
The many other allegations made against fraternities, sororities, the men’s rugby club team and the Marching 110 band ranged from these mostly benign traditions to serious accusations. Students reported forced drinking and drug use; sleep deprivation; trapping students in a basement for days at a time; and inviting strippers to perform at a fraternity house.
A few weeks later on Nov. 21, a year after Ohio University freshman and pledge for the fraternity Sigma Pi Collin Wiant died under suspicious circumstances, arraignments were held for nine individuals and the Silver Serpent Exotic Gifts shop on Court Street in connection to that death.
Sigma Pi was expelled from the university in April 2019.
Wiant died Nov. 12, 2018 after being found unresponsive at a house party at 45 Mill St., Athens. That location reportedly served as an unofficial annex of the Sigma Pi fraternity, of which Wiant was a freshman pledge.
An autopsy found Wiant died of asphyxiation due to nitrous oxide ingestion.
Eight of the nine people indicted were or are current students of Ohio University — just two of those eight are still enrolled.
All nine individuals have entered innocent pleas with the Athens County Court of Common Pleas, and await jury trials.
Many of the IFC chapters on OU’s campus were reinstated in early December, however, still under review are The Marching 110 Band, Theta Tau Engineering Fraternity, Sigma Chi Fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity and Beta Theta Pi Fraternity.
None of the groups investigated in the fall were suspended, and a few were released from the investigation after no code of conduct violations were found.
Those under probation are still recognized by the university as a student group, whereas suspended groups are not. Student groups suspended from the university must apply for re-enrollment, which is granted at the discretion of the director of student life.
The groups placed on probation were:
ACACIA Fraternity: Providing false or misleading information. End date of probation: Dec. 3, 2021. According to OU documentation, a student wrote in a class journal assignment they were forced to clean houses “as part of our ‘hazing’” with the Acacia fraternity.
Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity: Disruptive conduct or failure to comply. End date: Oct. 2, 2021. A report alleged a member was forced to “wake up early in the morning and text the members of the fraternity organization the weather for the day which is impacting his sleep to the point of exhaustion.”
Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity: Disruptive conduct or failure to comply. End date: Nov. 25, 2021. A social party was hosted shortly after the cease and desist was issued, it is alleged. Other reports reference “hell week” where pledges were said to be “secluded to the basement for the entire week and not allowed to bathe, sleep at home, do homework, or go anywhere else other than class.”
Yet another report from a parent describes knowing a student that was “kept in a damp basement, drank to excess, and had his phone taken for 1 week.” The student reportedly later had a late-night asthma attack and was taken to the hospital.
Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity: Selling or distributing alcohol, coerced consumption through hazing, and coerced activities through hazing. End date: Nov. 8, 2021. A report alleged the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity makes pledges chug alcohol during the Big/Little reveal gathering.
Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity: Selling or distributing alcohol, alcohol in a student organization. End date: Dec. 3, 2020. A student involved with Alpha Kappa Psi claimed they felt like they had to drink to “fit in” with the fraternity.
Phi Chi Theta Business Fraternity: endangerment through hazing, coerced activities through hazing, and mental stress through hazing. End date: Oct. 25, 2020. A faculty adviser of Phi Chi Theta reported hearing of a “speed dating” session where female students had to sit on the laps of male students and take the male students’ shirts off.