Hazing News

ZBT Update

Fraternity sanctioned in hazing

By: Kevin Robillard

Posted: 12/11/07

The Zeta Beta Tau fraternity will face sanctions after a hazing investigation determined the chapter violated their national organization’s policies when stain remover was used in an initiation ceremony, the fraternity’s national director said yesterday.

Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life Director Mike Hayes said his office will not complete its own investigation until later this week but will also punish the chapter.

ZBT Executive Director Jonathan Yulish declined to say whether or not the incident constituted hazing, which is illegal in this state.

“I won’t characterize it one way or the other,” he said.

Yulish confirmed, however, that ZBT’s investigation determined a “waterfall,” which had previously been described in an OFSL memo obtained by The Diamondback, did take place and that it was a violation of the fraternity’s risk-management policy.

According to the memo, new fraternity members were placed in a circle and made to chant the name of the fraternity’s founders. Water was poured over his head of any member who made a mistake.

At some point during the initiation, an older fraternity member allegedly put Shout stain remover in the hair of a new member and when water was poured over his head, he was injured.

Both the OFSL and ZBT have declined to describe the injury.

“There were a lot of rumors flying around campus,” Yulish said. “[The new member] wasn’t blinded. He didn’t have chemicals poured in his eye.”

Nor were the new member’s injuries permanent, Yulish said.

Yulish said the chapter’s executive board members have been removed and placed on probation for the rest of their undergraduate careers.

The new executive board must have their actions approved by alumni trustees. They are also ineligible for awards from the national organization and must document that they are obeying the sanctions.

Both Student Government Association President Andrew Friedson and Inter-Fraternity Council President Arkady Gelman are members of ZBT.

The chapter will have to pay for the investigation and an anti-hazing speaker and brochure.

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. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

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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