Hazing News

WVU Phi Beta Sigma members have police entry

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Excerpt from the Daily Athenaaeum

The West Virginia University Police Department is investigating an alleged hazing incident between 10 and 15 Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity members that occurred early Monday morning, said Police Chief Bob Roberts.

Police officers entered the fraternity house, located at 672 North High St., between 2 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. after hearing music and seeing an open door. There they found pledges blindfolded with food poured on them, Roberts said.

One person was allegedly slapping those blindfolded in the face. There was a warrant out for his arrest, and police detained him Monday afternoon. He has since been released on bail, Roberts said.

There were six to seven new members and approximately four active members, said Ron Justice, WVU’s director of Student Organizations Services. He said there is no indication alcohol was involved, and no one was injured.

WVU put the fraternity on moratorium, which bans it from any activities.

“We patrol the fraternities about the same way we do the residence halls,” Roberts said. “It kind of surprises me that this was going on there because they know we do.”

Hazing is, as defined by the West Virginia State Code, “to cause any action which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of another person or persons or causes another person or persons to destroy or remove public or private property for the purpose of initiation or admission into any organization … operating under the sanction of or recognized as an organization by an institution of higher education.”

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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