Hazing News

Nebraska Sigma Chi case closed; former Sigma Chi President Michael Classen fined and given jail time: Journal Star

Here is the court case details

Two former University of Nebraska-Lincoln fraternity pledges who said they were hazed by members of Sigma Chi have settled their lawsuits against the university, the fraternity and its members.

Attorneys for Drew Lechner and the other former pledge, whom the Journal Star has chosen not to identify, filed dismissal motions Tuesday in Lancaster County District Court. Judge Steven Burns still must approve the motions.

The University of Nebraska will pay $62,500 to settle each lawsuit, according to the NU general counsel’s office. Other details of the settlement, including amounts paid by other defendants, were not available Wednesday.

“No liability was admitted by any of the defendants,” the university said in a statement. “Settlements were made to avoid incurring further costs associated with litigation.

…. Lechner said he was hazed repeatedly from fall 2008 to early 2009 while a pledge at Sigma Chi. The other pledge said he was assaulted by a stripper holding a sex toy during an off-campus fraternity party.

Lechner’s lawsuit named NU, Sigma Chi, 14 of its members, its building corporation and its national organization. In it, he said he was verbally assaulted, paddled, forced to drink alcoholic concoctions and perform humiliating acts with other fraternity hopefuls — all at the direction of older members, some of them fraternity officers.

The other pledge’s lawsuit named the university, Sigma Chi, nine members, the building corporation and the national organization.

The UNL police investigation of Sigma Chi led to charges of hazing, procuring alcohol for a minor, or both, against nine Sigma Chi members. All but one got probation.

In May, former Sigma Chi President Michael Classen was sentenced to five days in jail and a $500 fine for hazing and procuring alcohol.

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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