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Boston University suspends Sigma Chi fraternity due to hazing allegations; BU police investigating

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  October 29, 2012 10:25 AM

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Boston University has suspended a fraternity while the school and campus police investigate allegations that its members partook in hazing, according to university officials.

The announcement marks the third time within the past eight months that allegations of hazing have been reported against Boston University students involved in Greek life.

The BU chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity was placed on interim suspension Friday afternoon by Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore, according to campus spokesman Colin Riley. He said the hazing allegations were reported to the university within the past week, but did not immediately know the date the hazing is alleged to have occurred.

The incident that may have included “extended isolation” and forced consumption of alcohol, according to the university’s news website, BU Today.

"We take any allegations very seriously," Riley said. "And, certainly in light of previously allegations, it is very disappointing."

Elmore told BU Today that the suspension means that “the organization effectively does not exist. It deprives the fraternity of university rooms and space for meetings and events. It also prohibits it from using the university’s name.”

“If we determine that hazing has occurred, we will consider additional actions,” Elmore told the online publication.

The dean also said he met with the fraternity’s leadership before suspending the group and spoke with leadership of the international Sigma Chi organization, which is cooperating with the investigation.

Sigma Chi is one of 13 fraternities recognized by BU, which also recognizes 12 sororities.

Michael Dunn, executive director for Sigma Chi International, said that his organization is also conducting its own investigation of the allegations.

“Our understanding is the chapter is cooperating completely with the investigation at BU,” he said Monday.

Dunn said he did not know any further details about the allegations and that members of the chapter are advised, “as a general policy,” not to talk to the media.

Members of the fraternity did not immediately respond to requests for comment by the Globe on Monday.

In May, the BU chapter of the Sigma Delta Tau sorority was suspended by the university due to an alleged hazing incident in which underage women were reportedly forced or encouraged to drink, even to the point of hospitalization. That group’s suspension is scheduled to continue through the end of this calendar year. No criminal charges were filed.

One month earlier, 14 Boston University students who were members of the former BU chapter of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity were criminally charged with hazing, assault and battery, and failure to report hazing. The national fraternity organization voted to shut down the local, off-campus fraternity chapter, which had about 30-members, comprised largely of BU students. The chapter was not recognized by the university.

Members of the fraternity were accused of ordering five victims to duct-tape themselves to one another and to disrobe, according to prosecutors. They then allegedly covered the victims in honey, hot sauce, coffee grounds, fish sauce, and mustard and ordered them to drink fish oil.

Most charges in that case have been reduced or dropped.

Members of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity were also involved in the Sigma Delta Tau incident in May.

Hazing is a misdemeanor, according to Massachusetts law. It is punishable by a fine of up to $3,000 and one year in jail.

Failure to report hazing carries a fine of up to $1,000. Assault and battery carries a maximum 2-and-a-half-year jail term or a fine of up to $1,000.

The university has an anonymous tip site for reporting student conduct violations, including a specific link to report hazing allegations.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at mjrochele@gmail.com. Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

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