These headline cases represent extreme hazing, but they serve to underline the point made by Carol Thompson, UA senior associate dean of students. â€œHazing is an issue on every college campus,â€ Thompson says. The UA is no exception, although, as she thankfully notes, during her 23 years in UA administration she has seen no hazing deaths.
Hazing cases at the UA in recent years run the gamut, from what students call â€œlittle hâ€ offenses such as forcing pledges to clean the house or sitting at pledges-only study tables, right on up to life-threatening â€œbig Hâ€ episodes. In the most serious incident, last January, a Sigma Chi pledge was locked in a freezer. By the time someone remembered to let him out, the young man was in a dangerous enough state to be taken to a hospital. The fraternity lost its UA recognition, as well as its charter from its national fraternity organization.
Withdrawing recognition is â€œnot something we do easily, and until last year it was done rarely,â€ says Thompson, whose many jobs include investigating hazing complaints. â€œWe withdrew recognition from Pi Kappa Alpha and Sigma Chi, and we suspended Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Kappa Sigmaâ€¦ Almost all these cases involved hazing.â€
Pi Kappa Alpha lost its recognition because of an alcohol incident that occurred while the frat was already on probation for hazing. The previous school year, Delta Chi lost university recognition for a paddling incident and other hazing practices but the fraternity is working to regain recognition as early as next year.
Though Greek infractions get the most headlines, Thompson notes that hazing can infect all spheres of university life.
â€œItâ€™s all over the map. We have had hazing complaints about athletic teams, sports clubs, honoraries, fraternities and sororities, and religious organizations.â€ Chain Gang junior honorary, for instance, was put on probation for the fall semester for hazing and alcohol infractions.