As Ohio University’s Spring Semester kicks into full gear, several OU student organizations that were under disciplinary investigation last October amid allegations of hazing and other misconduct now find themselves under probation by the university.
The disciplinary probation means that the student organizations – most of them being fraternities – can continue operating, but must implement plans of action to reduce the potential for hazing and other problematic behavior. They could get in even bigger trouble if they’re found to violate the OU Student Code of Conduct again.
Since late October, the following OU student organizations have been placed on disciplinary probation after the university concluded its investigations:
• The ACACIA fraternity chapter, for providing false/misleading information to university officials while they conducted the investigation (until December 2021).
• The Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity chapter, for “disruptive conduct/failure to comply” (until October 2021).
• The Lamda Chi Alpha fraternity chapter, for “disruptive conduct/failure to comply” (until November 2021).
• The Pi Kappa Phi fraternity chapter, for selling/distributing alcohol, hazing, coerced consumption and “hazing: coerced activities” (until November 2021).
• The Pi Kappa Psi fraternity chapter, for “hazing: endangerment” and “hazing: coerced activities” (until November 2021).
• The Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity chapter, for selling/distributing alcohol and “alcohol/student organization” (until December 2020).
• The Pi Chi Theta business fraternity chapter, for “hazing: endangerment,” “hazing: coerced activities” and “hazing: mental stress” (until October 2020).
• The Theta Tau engineering fraternity chapter, for “selling/furnishing/distributing alcohol, “alcohol/student organization” and “hazing: mental stress” (until December 2021).
Meanwhile, the university is still conducting an investigation into the Marching 110 as well as the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and Sigma Chi fraternity chapters.
Upon receiving allegations of hazing over a three-week period last fall semester, the university moved to suspend the activities of nine OU Interfraternity Council fraternity chapters; three sorority chapters (with the Women’s Panhellenic Association); two business fraternities; the men’s rugby club; and the Marching 110.
The university also suspended all other IFC fraternities despite them not having allegations of hazing against them because of the large number of allegations it received against the other IFC chapters in a short period of time in early October 2019 (over 48 hours).
Suspensions against those non-accused chapters – Phi Gamma Delta, Phi Delta Theta, Pi Kappa Alpha and Phi Kappa Tau – were lifted as of late October, as well as against Delta Tau Delta, which had been accused of hazing. Suspensions against the three sororities and rugby team have been lifted in the time since.
OU spokesperson Carly Leatherwood explained in an email Wednesday that the university has closed the probes of those student organizations “based on lack of evidence.”
The NEWS previously reported on several allegations against the aforementioned organizations still under probation. In the case of Phi Kappa Psi, one source reported to OU of hearing a pledge talking about “hell week,” where new members were “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.”
Another report from a parent of a former member of Lambda Chi fraternity member alleged that her son was “hazed, kept in a damp basement, drank to excess, and had his phone taken” for a week.
OU SPOKESPERSON Leatherwood said in a statement Tuesday that OU’s top priority in these investigations and disciplinary actions is “student safety.”
“We are committed to working with our student organizations to grow stronger and to be free from concerning behavior,” she wrote. “We treat each situation with care and we will continue to support all of our students. The university has taken this opportunity to engage with national organizations on these topics, which has paved the way for new partnerships that promote a healthy culture within our student organizations. We are proud to have the support of our students in these efforts.”
According to a copy of some of the disciplinary probation notices provide to the student organizations outlined above, the groups will need to implement a variety of action plans specific to their organization. Phi Chi Theta, for example, will need to conduct meetings with members and new members on preventing hazing, as well as present a plan on how it will approach “repairing the image of the organization with the local community,” with an eye on “community restitution and community service opportunities.”
The Athens NEWS previously reported that the Sigma Pi fraternity chapter was expelled from OU last April for multiple violations of the university’s alcohol and hazing policies after the death of Collin Wiant, an alleged pledge of that fraternity, in November 2018. A lawsuit is still pending in that case against the fraternity chapter, and several current and former OU students and others were indicted on charges related to that case in November 2019.