University Police launched a criminal investigation of Delta Tau Delta fraternity members yesterday as details of alleged hazing incidents emerged in an Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life document, officials said.
The document, a copy of which was obtained by The Diamondback, details a six-week hazing program involving the forced consumption of alcohol and a vomit-inducing mix of liquids and mandated exercise, ending with multiple days in a closet called the “Cave.”
University Police Spokesman Paul Dillon said the department began its investigation after the university completed its own, which was jointly conducted by the Office of Student Conduct and OFSL, said Linda Clement, vice president for student affairs.
Dillon declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.
“I’m not going to discuss what steps we’ve taken,” Dillon said. He added that it’s “way too premature to discuss any charges.”
Hazing, which the university has repeatedly called “a fundamental violation of human dignity,” is illegal in the state of Maryland and is punishable by up to six months in jail, a $500 fine, or both.
Clement said punishment from the university is “still a possibility,” but added the university will wait for the conclusion of the criminal investigation before moving forward with any penalties
The university’s investigation began on Feb. 28, when OFSL received an anonymous tip alleging hazing by the fraternity. Delta Tau Delta’s national office soon revoked the local chapter’s charter and the fraternity was disbanded by the university two weeks later.
When reached last night, Will Cole, the president of the local chapter of Delta Tau Delta before it was disbanded, declined to comment.
The allegations against Delta Tau Delta, if true, would be the second hazing incident at the university this academic year. A university investigation found Zeta Beta Tau guilty of hazing last semester after a pledge was injured.
The last time criminal charges of hazing were filed against fraternity members at Maryland was in 1993. Omega Psi Phi members were found to have beaten seven pledges, who were also drizzled with hot wax, forced to eat vomit and drink from toilets.
In 2006, Beta Theta Pi was removed from the university for a variety of offenses, including the DUI arrest of a pledge who was driving home from a fraternity event. In 2002, the family of Daniel Reardon sued the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity for $15 million, alleging the fraternity had forced Reardon to drink malt liquor and bourbon and then waited several hours to call 911 after he had passed out, leading to his death.
Hazing on the campus is not limited to Greek life, either. In 2000, an investigation determined that members of the university’s athletics teams had engaged in activities that “fit the broadcast definition of hazing, although the health of student-athletes was not in jeopardy,” according to a Washington Post article from the time.