Sigma Alpha Mu, currently housed on the Fraternity Quadrangle, is currently facing charges of hazing. A decision will be made at a hearing on Friday, March 28. Public Safety and Communications were unable to comment because the investigation is ongoing.

According to Samuel*, a pledging member of the frat, a few of the pledge brothers chose to drink before and after the evening’s pledging activities on the Friday prior to break. The students supposedly consumed too much alcohol over the course of the evening and passed out. Concerned students called the Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT), who responded to the scene.

The same student reported that a few days later, pledges and brothers of the fraternity were brought in to the public safety office for questioning. He said he believed that students of the fraternity and the pledging brothers were unfairly questioned.

“He came in there and they started questioning him about the pledge process and what he had been made to do during the pledge process,” he said. “They were telling him that, ‘We have already interviewed all of your other pledge brothers. We have the right to take disciplinary action.’ They were threatening him with expulsion and suspension.”

“I think they are all unnecessarily harsh with threats and accusations,” brother of the fraternity Adam* said. “After the interrogation, the investigator writes up his interpretation of your statements then encourages you to sign it as your words without the option of having a lawyer present even if there is self-incriminating information in the statement.”

According to Director of Center for Student Conflict Management Kyle Orton, the University does not have a policy in place for interrogation methods. “[Public Safety] uses more police-like tactics because many of them are police or peace officers,” he said. “I can say that I don’t use those techniques. [A meeting with me] is more like a conversation. I’m not saying that their tactic is good or bad. That’s what they choose to do.”

“I stuck to the truth,” Samuel* said. “I wouldn’t let them try to convince me […] because I knew they did stuff like this. The problem that I have is that they are using police tactics and misleading investigatory practices that police use all the time, but the police also Mirandize and tell people they have the right to have a lawyer present. They said none of this to my pledge brothers.”

Samuel* made it clear that he had not felt pressured to make unsafe or illegal decisions at any point in the pledging process.

“The University’s problem with fraternities is that there is such a broad definition of hazing that some very minor things that can be considered innocuous in other contexts can be considered hazing,” he said.

The trial on Friday will be presided over by a panel selected by Orton. “It’s odd to me that the school chooses to have their own way of handling rule and law breaking differently than the way law enforcement does,” Adam* said. “It’s also confusing to me that on the day of a hearing, students and professors are asked to miss all classes even if they are required classes, labs, or recitations. Instead of them working around our class schedules, we must work around theirs.”

Pledges of the fraternity make it clear that the pledging process was about team building and learning the history of the fraternity.

“I think a lot of people imagine, when they think of hazing, […]  people being forced to down entire pitchers of beer, and it doesn’t happen like that,” Samuel* said. “It’s more of an amicable thing. People drink at frat events, it happens.”

“It’s been a really fun time,” he continued when talking about the frat pledging process. “If I were to compare the process of getting into college with the process of pledging a fraternity, I would say getting into college is infinitely harder.”

*Names left anonymous at students’ requests.

Sanguinetti is a member of the class of 2015.


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