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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

May 23, 2008

ERAU fraternity faces sanctions after hazing by Mark Harper

DAYTONA BEACH — The gator didn’t bite, but the university did.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is sanctioning one of its fraternities after determining its members were involved in hazing.

Daytona Beach Shores police arrested five men April 17, charging them with attempting to capture an alligator from a miniature golf course. The five, all 19 or 18, were pledging Sigma Alpha Epsilon and had been dared by the fraternity to get a picture with a live alligator, said Aaron Clevenger, the university’s director of student activities.

“It was presented to them as a challenge,” said Cathy Downes, associate dean of students. “That, by definition, is hazing.”

The university is requiring the fraternity to perform community service and sponsor a hazing workshop. It is taking no action against the individual students, Clevenger said. The criminal cases are ongoing.

— Mark.Harper

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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