Sunday, February 20, 2000

UC sorority suspended over hazing complaints

Kappa Alpha Theta disciplined for indefinite period

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A University of Cincinnati sorority has been suspended after sorority officials received complaints about several instances of hazing, including forcing new members to crawl up the steps of a fraternity house.

        Elizabeth Corridan, executive director of Kappa Alpha Theta, confirmed the chapter president had been removed from office but declined to comment on other specific punishments.

        UC banned the sorority indefinitely from playing intramural sports, voting in Panhellenic Council meetings and participating in events such as Greek Week.

        UC police are investigating though it is unlikely charges will be filed.

        The incident was only the second reported instance of sorority hazing nationwide this year, said Hank Nuwer, author of Wrongs of Passage, a book about hazing.

        UC spokesman Greg Hand said he can't remember another reported instance of sorority hazing in his 22 years at the school.

        Kappa Alpha Theta members also shouted at new members while making them lie on the floor. In another instance, new members made animal noises until told to stop.

        The events took place Feb. 4.

        Several members of the sorority declined to comment.

        More than 40 states — including Ohio — have anti-hazing laws, said Tim Burke, a Cincinnati attorney who represents National Panhellenic Council, a sorority umbrella organization. Most national fraternity and sorority organizations have developed zero-tolerance policies as a result.

        Deaths associated with fraternities and drinking at Louisiana State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have raised awareness of fraternity hazing, Ms. Corridan said.

        But sorority hazing is still a problem.

        “It seems that hazing with the men is more physical than the mental and emotional abuse women get involved with,” Ms. Corridan said. “You don't hear about women beating each other with paddles.”

        Mr. Nuwer said about 10 instances of sorority hazing are reported nationwide each year. In 2000, only Duke University and UC have reported sorority hazing incidents.

        The last sorority hazing to gain widespread attention came in 1997. Sorority members at DePauw University were branding one another with cigarettes.

        This type of hazing incident usually goes unreported, Mr. Nuwer said.


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