Hazing News

Wisconsin suspensions include AEPi


Two fraternities endure process of suspensions
Sigma Alpha Mu violated its probation stemming from a suspension last spring and now faces explusion. Alpha Epsilon Pi will appeal its suspension Wednesday.
By: Devin Rose / The Daily Cardinal

Two UW-Madison chapter fraternities will appeal to the Interfraternity Council after an alleged hazing last spring and a violation of probation earlier this semester that led to expulsion from the University.

David Lank, UW-Madison’s Sigma Alpha Mu chapter president, said the frat was put on probation after several members decided to throw a Halloween party last October at the Orpheum Theatre and advertised it as a frat-sponsored party, although it was not.

Lank said the fraternity neglected to register the event, so the proper social regulations were not in place, and the fraternity was put on suspension for the 2007 spring semester.

Members of the frat violated their probation when they threw a party at the “Sammy” house during Welcome Week in September, which led to their expulsion Sunday.

“Frats and sororities rarely get suspended, and even more rarely get expelled,” said Sean Sobel, former chief justice of the Greek Judicial Board,
“I personally know that every frat has open parties all the time and nobody’s [closed down] so I don’t really get it,” Lank said, adding that he plans to appeal the decision.

Another UW-Madison chapter fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi, will attempt to appeal their suspension Wednesday at a closed meeting with the Interfraternity Council.

The frat was suspended in May for the 2007-08 academic year after allegations of hazing came from an “unnamed source” last spring, according to AEPi’s chapter president Jared Steinberg.

AEPi’s 11 new members were questioned last spring by the fraternity’s national office, Steinberg said, and every one of them said nothing went on.

“There was absolutely nothing that led to any of the things we were accused of,” Steinberg said, calling the Board’s accusation “preposterous.”

Steinberg said the alleged hazing “was not crazy, nasty, alcohol-related or sexually or physically” related, but would not elaborate further on specific allegations.

According to Jeff Benson, fraternity and sorority program advisor at UW-Madison, the Board found that the chapter was violating its hazing policy, and decided to issue suspensions over the next two semesters, as well as probation for a third.

“They’re on strict suspension for this semester, which means that other than weekly chapter meetings, they are not supposed to be operating,” Benson said.
He added, however, that any regular fraternity operation AEPi has done this semester, including rushing new members and initiation, is legal because of the appeal process.

The Board’s bylaws say that, if the IFC votes to overturn the suspension decision, the Board will determine an appropriate disciplinary action.
If the decision is upheld, the fraternity’s suspension will begin Wednesday, Benson said.

Under suspension regulations, AEPi would not be allowed to rush or initiate any new members, hold social or brotherhood events or participate in Greek-sponsored philanthropies if the appeal is denied. A modified suspension would continue into next semester, with limited conditions for rush and initiation and a required hazing workshop for all new members.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska 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 current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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