Alleged Sorority Hazing Investigated by University, Police
Sigma Delta Tau suspended during probe
Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore is weighing the fate of the Sigma Delta Tau sorority after it was temporarily suspended earlier this month for alleged alcohol-related hazing.
Elmore says the University is investigating both the group and roughly 20 individual students—SDT sisters and members of an undisclosed fraternity—involved in the alleged hazing. The fraternity is not recognized by BU, unlike SDT before its suspension.
“Given the facts we had, I asked that SDT be suspended pending our ability to investigate this,” says Elmore (SED’87). He hopes to wrap up the inquiry by the end of next week and says most students involved have been cooperative.
If the allegations are judged true, the sorority could face permanent suspension, while individuals found to have violated BU’s conduct policies “could warrant suspensions or worse,” Elmore notes. “Any organization that has members who are going to be complicit with hazing or haze other students should expect that they are not going to be associated with BU.”
This is the first reported allegation of hazing at BU in more than a decade, according to the dean. “I’m particularly disappointed,” he says, because of the timing: just this past January, in the wake of incidents elsewhere, Elmore met with student organization leaders, including those from fraternities and sororities, to talk about hazing. He says he discussed with the leaders that Massachusetts outlaws hazing and that “there’s just no place at all for hazing in these organizations and in this community.”
The March 3 incident, first reported by the Daily Free Press, began when students summoned an ambulance for an intoxicated female student on Ashford Street around 9 p.m., according to BUPD Lieutenant Peter DiDomenica. About an hour later, he says, BUPD officers stopped three men helping a second woman who also appeared intoxicated. “It caused concern for her medical condition,” and the officers arranged for her to go to the hospital as well, DiDomenica says.
“My understanding was they were treated and released,” says Elmore.
Further investigation revealed that the drinking was part of an alleged hazing at an off-campus private residence. Aside from the University probe, Boston police and the BUPD are investigating possible violations of the state’s anti-hazing law, according to DiDomenica. Hazing is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $3,000 fine and a year in jail.
Marisa Feehan (CAS’12) and Juliette Miller (CAS’12), respectively the president and vice president of campus affairs for the Panhellenic Council, which governs the University’s recognized sororities, issued a public statement deploring “any behavior that threatens the well-being of any member of Greek Life,” and saying, “we will not accept the occurrence of such incidents.”
The council lifted its SDT recognition, the statement says, but also urges the University community to “support each other and the sisters of Sigma Delta Tau.”
The alleged hazing drew local media attention to BU at a time when two former members of the hockey team are facing sexual assault charges. President Robert A. Brown appointed a task force earlier this month to report by this summer on the culture of the hockey team.
Against that backdrop, Elmore says, “I want to remind folks the overwhelming majority of our students are doing the right thing. Real community holds its own accountable, and we’ve been consistent in terms of doing that. In social situations, we’ve got to be ‘present.’ We’ve always got to be folks who look after themselves. This community still moves on.”51 Comments