Hazing News

Minnesota Delta Tau Delta Hazing — Serious case

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university officials and the Delta Tau Delta national organization have put the local fraternity on probation for the remainder of the academic year.

Officials placed the local chapter on probation Aug. 8 because of a July 16 event, in which a person was seriously injured at a party held by the fraternity.

The 20-year-old victim, whose name has not been released, was hospitalized for injuries to his brain and was put into a coma for recovery. The status of the victim has not been released.

Although both University officials and the national organization have imposed sanctions on the fraternity, the Interfraternity Council will discuss the issue at its next meeting on Sept. 27.

The council will most likely decide to follow similar sanctions as that of the University and the national chapter, said Mark Peterson, vice president of public relations for the Interfraternity Council.

Chad Ellsworth, Student Activities Greek advisor, was not available to comment on the incident or what sanctions have been put in place toward the fraternity.

Peterson said the issue was brought up Sept. 12 at its first meeting, which focused mostly on recruitment, and a decision was postponed to their next meeting, giving time for the executive officers to investigate the issue more thoroughly.

Corey Coonen, Delta Tau Delta president, said none of the fraternity members were involved in the incident.

Coonen said a membership review was conducted by the national organization, and several members were suspended from the fraternity.

“We are moving ahead, and are taking the necessary measures in revising our risk management policies,” Coonen said. “The incident does not reflect on the character of our fraternity and we hope to move past this.”

He said the fraternity is on probation until next spring, when their sanctions will be lifted. He said until then, the fraternity is not able to utilize the University in helping with recruitment, cannot host or participate in social events such as Homecoming or Spring Jam.

Interfraternity Council President Alex Vu, also a member of Delta Tau Delta, said he believes all parties involved are moving in the right direction from preventing future incidents from happening.

In an initial article published in the Daily shortly after the incident, Vu said the fraternity was not in any trouble because they followed the right procedures to host a party.

“At this time I believe the fraternity is doing well and is continuing to provide all necessary resources available to help the various parties involved,” he said last week.

Delta Tau Delta isn’t the only fraternity to undergo disciplinary action in recent months.

FarmHouse was suspended last spring for hazing their incoming recruits and will remain on probation for the remainder of the school year.

Jeff Schmitz, president of FarmHouse fraternity, said the FarmHouse’s situation was different from that of Delta Tau Delta’s.

“We had a hazing situation. Delt’s is a risk management issue, where someone was seriously injured,” Schmitz said.

Schmitz said his fraternity is still able to recruit students and essentially exist, but cannot use University services to recruit or participate in Interfraternity Council recruiting events. He said the restrictions have not hurt their membership numbers and have not had negative effects on recruitment.

“It is actually a little easier to recruit because everything is out in the open,” he said. “We no longer have any secrets.”

He said they are unable to have social events and participate in Homecoming.

“Basically, we’re on our own,” he said.

Schmitz said fraternities get a bad reputation from incidents like hazing and alcohol, but people don’t see the positive things fraternities are doing, like their involvement in the community.

Computer science senior David Holmes said although he has nothing against fraternities, they need to take extra measures to prevent situations in which someone may get injured from happening.

Holmes was unaware the fraternity had been put on probation. He said the unfortunate thing is incidents like this project a negative association toward all fraternities, which he said is unfair to others.

However, Holmes said the University’s suspension of the chapter for the school year seems like a reasonable disciplinary action.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; 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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