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Hazing News

Chico lawyer casts aspersions on D.A.

Here is the article by KAREN McINTYRE/MediaNews Group Intern for the Chico Enterprise-Record
July 14, 2007

Fraternity activities weren’t hazing according to lawyer

Just days after three ex-fraternity members were charged with hazing
violations, the lawyer for one of them says the case is being exaggerated
and the men unfairly charged.

“Is this another Duke lacrosse case?” attorney Bill Mayo said.

District Attorney Mike Ramsey said that is not the case.

The defendants ­ Beta Theta Pi’s president Christopher David Bizot, vice
president Michael Francis Murphy and ritualist Matthew William Krupp ­ are
being charged under Matt’s Law, which was created in honor of Chico State
University student Matthew Carrington, who died as a result of hazing in 2005.

Mayo, Bizot’s attorney, said he believes the case is being overplayed. He
thinks it’s not fair for the district attorney to be “whipping up the
emotions of the public” by sending out a press release before a record of
the charges could be found online.

Charges had been filed and sometimes take a week to show up on the
Internet, Ramsey said. But court clerks were unable to find evidence of the
cases when requested by Mayo on Friday morning.

The reason court personnel were unable to find the records was because the
paperwork was being processed at the court in Paradise, Ramsey said.

Mayo said he also thinks the men’s rituals were not going to cause serious
bodily injury. One of the activities included forcing pledges to sit in
ice-water baths, but sports therapists do that on a regular basis.

The difference was that these men were forced to stay in the baths for
extended periods of time while other pledges were being quizzed. The men
had to sink lower in the water with each question their partners answered
incorrectly, said Rick Rees, associate director of Student Activities at
Chico State.

Mayo said the case is being exaggerated because of Matthew Carrington’s
death, even though this was different than the situation that occurred in
2005. These activities went on outside during the daytime, not in a dark
basement, and with a crowd of more than a dozen guys just having fun.
Nobody was seriously injured.

The activities were not hazing at all, he said.

Ramsey said the men being charged would not have suffered any less of a
punishment had Carrington’s death never happened. The men are being charged
with misdemeanor offenses just as the law defines the crime.

The pledges had to military-crawl on their bellies and knees for extended
distances. They also had to put bags over their heads and strip down to
their underwear.

Maybe a little bit of one of these activities wouldn’t be considered
hazing, but when they were all put together, there was no doubt, Rees said.
The university is not going to wait for someone to be injured before taking
action.

Student interviews with University Police officers made it clear that the
activities occurred until the early morning hours and were not all fun and
games, Rees said.

Investigations involving University Police, the Student Activities Office,
Student Judicial Affairs and fraternity members concluded that the acts
were considered hazing, and the fraternity’s national office supported
Student Activities in revoking the organization’

s charter last month.

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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