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Hazing News

Maryland: no charges in injury. Compare with Chico Beta case which will end up in court

All: Here is an article from the U-Maryland Diamonback on ZBT hazing. Compare to Beta Theta Pi charges in Calif.  Police responses to hazing vary from indifference to abdicating responsibility to school officials…to actual placing of charges.

University officials have not contacted police about a student injured in a Zeta Beta Tau initiation ceremony days after the fraternity’s national chapter took action about the incident and months after administrators learned about it.

A state anti-hazing law prohibits putting students at risk of injury during school-related initiations. The university has identified activities that it considers hazing more broadly than state law.

Two high-ranking student leaders within the fraternity have also declined to comment on the incident, which the Zeta Beta Tau national organization determined violated the organization’s risk-management policy this week.

Student Government Association President Andrew Friedson condemned the act of hazing, but he would not comment specifically about his fraternity. Interfraternity Council President Arkady Gelman also declined to comment, saying he was waiting for the university to finish its investigation.

According to an Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life memo, in October, new members of the fraternity were seated in a circle and forced to chant the names of Zeta Beta Tau’s founders. If they misspoke, senior fraternity brothers poured water over their heads. At one point in the night, the water mixed with the Shout gel placed in a new member’s hair, injuring him.

Both OSFL and Zeta Beta Tau declined to specify the nature of the injury.

As the university conducts its own investigation into the incident, officials have not contacted police.

Although hazing is illegal in Maryland, Assistant Director of the Office of Student Conduct Tamara Saunders, who is leading the investigation, said the university only brings police in on a “situational” basis when investigating hazing.

Lt. Bernard Snowden of the Prince George’s County Police said in hazing cases it is traditionally the individual’s responsibility to contact the police.

Saunders said the university received new information about the incident this week, but could not say when the university will officially wrap up its investigation.
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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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