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Alleged Sorority Hazing Investigated by University, Police

Sigma Delta Tau suspended during probe

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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
Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

51 Comments on Alleged Sorority Hazing Investigated by University, Police

  • Beth on 03.22.2012 at 8:56 am

    This is very disappointing, but also embarrassing for all BU students and employees. Grow up and act like normal adults.

  • Mr. Kabukiman on 03.22.2012 at 9:30 am

    Rhett has a black eye
    Another embarassment
    When does it all end?

    • S on 03.22.2012 at 1:44 pm

      haha nice haiku :P

  • Rhett on 03.22.2012 at 9:32 am

    Joining a frat (or a sore) at an urban university is pointless.

    • BU Student on 03.22.2012 at 3:53 pm

      Yup!

  • ugh on 03.22.2012 at 10:36 am

    I’ve never agreed with Greek Life. It’s literally just an excuse to have unofficially condoned parties (because obviously the school knows that having parties and a place to drink is basically the whole point of it) that you get rewarded for later in life by the networking opportunities. I’m friendly with many people within the greek systems and they’re all friendly, sweet people, but I don’t support their bakesales and stuff in the GSU because my money can go to good causes without condoning Greek life.

    • SUP on 03.22.2012 at 10:48 am

      What a silly thing to say. If you’ve never been a part of Greek Life, of course you can’t understand it. It’s so much more than having a place to drink, and frankly that is extremely insulting to Greeks on campus. The Greeks raise far more money for their respective philanthropies than any other student groups on campus. Greeks are visible on campus as student leaders, and they do deserve their future networking advantages because they work hard to maintain a good image. It’s unfortunate that one group got out of hand, but it’s not a reason to insult all Greeks.

      • No on 03.22.2012 at 11:32 am

        Insulting, yes. True, also yes. They raise money because they have to raise money. I’m part of Greek life at BU and I can honestly tell you 95% of us just join to make friends and have a place to party. Also no one views us as student leaders. Our letters just make girls ask us when the next party is. And we’ll happily oblige.

      • thank you! on 03.22.2012 at 2:02 pm

        i agree with you. people shouldn’t just stereotype greek life because they’ve never been a part of it. ignorance isn’t flattering on anyone. and the point of greek life is not parties or a place to drink, and acting like no one else parties on campus is a bit pretentious. thank you for pointing out some of the less talked about truths of greek life.

      • . on 03.22.2012 at 11:05 pm

        Yeah, the first thing I think when I see the bros sporting lax jerseys and dubstep on the BU beach is “student leaders”

        • Student on 03.23.2012 at 1:14 pm

          This comment brightened my day haha. Listen, if these Greek students want to be seen like leaders, they could set way better examples than they currently are. I watched a few sorority girls helping Girl Scouts sell cookies, and these college girls hardly acknowledged the poor elementary school kids. I don’t think much of the sorority or fraternity leaders because frankly, they tend to act like pretentious jerks who are more popular than you are because of the letters on their chest/bag. And I don’t think much of that.

          • SUP on 03.24.2012 at 8:16 pm

            That’s just incredibly unfair. I think it’s wonderful that one of the chapters worked with the Girl Scouts. I even heard one of the girls talking about how she wants to be in a sorority when she’s in college. This is a young, elementary school age child! Clearly she doesn’t want it for the “partying” she wants it because of the amazing example those girls set, and the little girl clearly saw the strength of their bond! And furthermore, I’m not saying that all Greeks are leaders, I am saying that many of the student leaders on campus like FYSOP leaders and coordinators, Student Advisors, Student Ambassadors, etc. are in Greek life!

    • greek on 03.22.2012 at 11:48 am

      i agree too. i’m in a sorority and i like raising money for charity obviously cause its a good thing to do but honestly we wouldn’t if we didn’t have to. i joined because its hard to make friends in such a big school and i wanted a community and yes a place to party. no one views us as student leaders. just as partiers. i love greek life and i have a lot more fun than i would if i wasn’t in it but its def not for everyone but i mean what he/she said is true.

      • greekgirl on 03.24.2012 at 8:19 pm

        I agree that the primary reasons I joined a sorority were regarded things like wanting a niche on campus and wanting to feel pride in something. It’s difficult to feel pride in BU sometimes. There’s really no school spirit or campus, and in light of the recent events with sexual assault and peeping, it’s easy to lose that pride in our school. But I’m proud to be Greek every day, and very proud of my chapter. This was an unfortunate incident that occurred within another chapter, but that whole chapter should not have to suffer, and all of Greek life should not be dragged down as a result. I would hate BU without Greek life. I’ve waited my whole life to feel pride in something the way I do in my sorority.

    • ugh on 03.22.2012 at 12:19 pm

      Let me emphasize that I don’t have an issue with the people in Greek life, but the fact that it is still institutionalized within university systems.

      • God on 03.22.2012 at 1:03 pm

        Greek life sucks, shut up. Seeing frat boys walking down the street and sorority sisters dance dubstep is less civilized than Animal Planet.

        • greekgirl on 03.24.2012 at 8:20 pm

          you’re ignorant.

        • Hah on 03.26.2012 at 9:36 am

          Comments like that divide a campus even more. Keep statements like that to yourself.

    • Greek mom on 03.23.2012 at 8:31 pm

      and what exactly are the good causes that you are supporting with your money?

  • honestly on 03.22.2012 at 10:52 am

    i just don’t understand why the entire group is being so harshly blamed for the actions of a few members.

    • thatslife on 03.22.2012 at 11:07 pm

      That’s the risk you take when you’re affiliated with an organization. We just saw it happen with BU athletics….one bad apple spoils the bunch.

  • Justin on 03.22.2012 at 11:43 am

    Omg stop being stupid and making my school look bad. I’m tired of having hour and a half conversations with my mom concerning the behavior of other students.

    • Too Bad on 03.22.2012 at 2:44 pm

      Things like this happen at literally every university. It sounds like your mother’s a little overbearing. You’re in college, she should get over it.

  • took long enough on 03.22.2012 at 12:02 pm

    I’m surprised that it’s been 10 years since something like this has surfaced…it’s not like we don’t hear about it every year, especially during pledging.

    and why is it a surprise that the entire group is “being so harshly blamed for the actions of a few members”? isn’t the point of a sorority/fraternity to be apart of some group? if a few members decide it’s a good idea to encourage people to drink and drink and drink, isn’t that something that everyone else in the group would probably encourage, too? I feel like it’s mob mentality…

    the other day someone told me that I should “join a sorority! that’s where it’s at!” LOL funniest joke of my life. I can make friends outside of a contrived gaggle of biddies and bros. There are only 16,000+ people wandering around.

    • wrong on 03.22.2012 at 1:15 pm

      Its definitely not a group mentality. In any organization you are bound to have a few bad eggs. You can look at your own circle of friends and should find that at least one of them is a jacka**. It’s not that hard to turn down a drink. That’s a problem with the individual not the group.

      Also, the fraternity in question that did this to the girls is off campus for a reason. The Greeks that keep out of trouble should not be punished for the actions of a fraternity that is known to be scum.

      • BU's Night Life on 03.23.2012 at 7:25 am

        yes, men are responsible for this, a sorority should never be responsible for its own actions. Give me a break.

        • wow on 03.24.2012 at 8:23 pm

          that is CLEARLY not what she is saying!!! But the fraternity in question has been a hot button issue for quite some time. All of Panhel and IFC have been warned about interacting with them and the consequences of having events with them. If a group chooses not to listen, that is their responsibility. She’s not blaming the fraternity in question, she’s merely commenting on the fact that people have been warned not to engage in these sorts of activities with them, especially because they are off campus and are thus not held to the same standards as the rule-abiding Greeks.

    • don't you dare on 03.22.2012 at 1:58 pm

      don’t you dare call me a biddie. i am unbelievably offended by this comment. i am a member of greek life, and i’d like to emphasize that my sorority not once hazed me or my class during the new member period. we were welcomed with open arms. and while i did gain wonderful new friends through the process, i have plenty of friends outside the sorority and had them beforehand. also, what’s so wrong about meeting people through greek life? it’s no different than meeting people through other student organizations or clubs.

      we are not biddies, and partying isn’t the purpose of a sorority (also, i think it’s safe to say that many students outside of fraternities and sororities party, so calling members of Greek life derisive names because of a stereotype is rather uncalled for). the purposes of a sorority are sisterhood, philanthropy, and helping each other. and while sometimes yes, we do get together and have fun, it’s no different than other students going out at bu.

      • AGREED on 03.22.2012 at 11:01 pm

        I agree, paying for friends isn’t a bad thing! I pay for my food and my clothes, whats the big deal with paying for friends?

        • wow on 03.24.2012 at 8:25 pm

          yeah totally. that’s what greek life is… paying for your friends. WRONG. Did it ever occur to you that being a part of Greek life means being a part of something so much bigger than yourself? Also, newsflash, Greeks aren’t the only orgs paying dues! PRSSA has dues! No one criticizes that!

        • I don't on 03.25.2012 at 5:05 pm

          I don’t pay for my friends. As I said originally, I have plenty of friends outside Greek life beforehand, so it wasn’t an issue of needing friends. And fyi, the dues are for membership/recognition in the national organization and for funding for activities.

      • reality check on 03.23.2012 at 12:30 am

        the realities diverge from the objectives

        • greekgirl on 03.24.2012 at 8:26 pm

          If you’re not a Greek, you don’t know the realities. This happened to ONE chapter in ten years. I’d say that’s a pretty GOOD record! The other 8 sororities maintain positive images and do not haze their members

          • hi on 04.10.2012 at 10:16 am

            it’s hilarious that you’re trying to say that hazing has happened one single time in the past ten years. It’s only been brought to attention once, sweetheart.

    • A on 03.26.2012 at 9:49 am

      I was never a member of Greek life when I was at BU and had plenty of friends who were part of it.

      Some people have difficulty making friends on such a large campus. Even you should know that it’s tough, and people can be harsh. A fraternity/sorority can be a welcome family of brothers and sisters to someone who sees Greek Life as a chance to develop friendships, and yes, party.

      But if you knew anything about Greek Life at BU, all chapters have involvement with the community through service or fundraising.

      Using stereotypes and calling people you don’t even know “a contrived gaggle of biddies and bros” shows how ignorant you are when it comes to talking maturely about this subject.

      Yeah, there are bound to be a handful of people who will put a stain on a group of people, but take the time to actually learn more about Greek Life before making statements like that.

      I bet if you found a group of people who have the same interest as you, you are always open to broaden your network and add new friends. That’s the same concept of this person asking you to join a sorority.

  • Mo on 03.22.2012 at 12:34 pm

    Justin, lol u made my day! I’m not the only helicopter mom out there. You’re right this is crazy…there are better things to talk about. I will try to keep it o 10 min with my daughter on this one. :)

  • Outraged on 03.22.2012 at 1:03 pm

    Seriously, undisclosed fraternity? We all know which fraternity this article is referring to, and the fact that it is even being referred to as a fraternity when it is not even recognized by BU anymore makes the situation even worse. Why are they still present and why are still causing issues?

    • informed on 03.24.2012 at 8:28 pm

      they are still recognized because their National office has not revoked their charter. BU has decided it will not acknowledge their presence as a BU affiliated organization, but they are still a registered chapter with their nationals. And not all of these guys are the causes of the issues. Neither are all of the girls in SDT. All of the generalizations here are just harsh. Honestly, if you don’t understand how Greek life works, maybe you should refrain from bashing it.

  • Let it Go on 03.22.2012 at 2:38 pm

    This is clearly getting blown out of proportion. Greek life is not just a place to party, I am not saying there aren’t parties, of course there are, but every club and team sport does the same thing. It people who know they have to same interests getting together, while having fun. Whether that means partying or raising money for philanthropies, or meeting your best friends. People who spend their money on greek life are free to do so its their own decision. BU needs to stop thinking we are above or better than greek life, because thats jsut being pretentious. If people don’t like it, then stay away and keep your mouth shut. There are plenty of clubs that have no meaning, and people don’t make a big deal about it. Greek life does nothing to anyone, so no one should care

    • reality check on 03.23.2012 at 12:32 am

      it sends students to the hospital every weekend

      • wow really? on 03.23.2012 at 3:45 pm

        Irresponsibility sends students to the hospital every weekend, not Greek life. You can’t say that fraternities and sororities are the cause of drinking and subsequent ambulance trips. Last time I checked, most students do their partying at non-Greek functions. They’re not the cause of kids who can’t swipe in after a night out and have to be sent to the hospital.

      • Greek mom on 03.23.2012 at 8:23 pm

        Sends students to the hospital every weekend???????? Seriously, can you show documentation of that ridiculous comment?

      • SUP on 03.24.2012 at 8:14 pm

        that’s such a stupid thing to say. at the beginning of every school year, there are always freshmen girls getting sent to the hospital, and none of them could possibly be Greek at that point! Greek life doesn’t send people to the hospital. It’s an important thing to understand limits, and alcohol intake limit is no exception. Plenty of non-Greeks have bad nights too.

      • A on 03.26.2012 at 9:50 am

        Another ignorant comment!

        Anyone know have a tally on these?

  • BU's Night Life on 03.23.2012 at 5:31 am

    I guess we’ll wait and see who the perpetrators parents are and then we’ll decide on a fitting punishment.

  • Greek mom on 03.23.2012 at 8:29 pm

    The one thread I see throughout many of these comments is that prejudice against minorities based on the actions of 2 students is alive and well at BU. These remarks are the equivalent to racial or ethnic prejudice….judge an entire group of individuals based on (yet to be determined as far as the actual “hazing” occurring) an isolated incident. I guess it is good to know that the rest of the BU student population is above drinking and partying and that they spend their spare time doing philanthropy work to help others in need.

    • hi on 04.10.2012 at 10:17 am

      Greek life is a choice. Race is not.
      Greek life is not something you’re going to be murdered out of hatred for. Race can be.
      Stupid woman.

    • non greek BU student on 05.02.2012 at 9:07 am

      Ha! That’s a laugh. It is fraternities and sororities that promote prejudice. They’re basically a continuation of the “old boy’s club”. You think us poor students on scholarship can afford to pay hundreds of dollars a year for friends? It is pure discrimination.

  • KC on 04.10.2012 at 4:22 pm

    Sigh.
    Greek life has high rates of alcohol-related incidents and has been proven to be associated with high levels of drinking.

    please see the table on pg. 401 (or feel free to read the whole thing)

    journals.naspa.org/jsarp/vol46/iss3/art5/

    It’s not BU, but this is also not the only study that brings this point home.
    FACT: Greek members drink more.
    FACT: Drinking more is associated with negative health outcomes (like, hospital visits)

    Take what you will, but Greek life certainly does not breed a culture of “healthy drinking attitudes.”

  • Greek on 04.10.2012 at 8:04 pm

    Greeks have always had a reputation for really stupid behavior, clickiness, and immaturity. Yes, college is a time to have fun and have an occasional beer with friends, but you need to control yourself and act like an adult. People label Greeks as bimbos and bros all the time, and there is truth in it! As part of the better sorority community, it’s your responsibility to change that! Help sisters drink responsibly, have fun responsibly, and increase self-esteem, not loose it while throwing up behind a dumpster in allston. What kind of shitty sisterhood allows that?! Yeah right.

    • This on 05.10.2012 at 11:24 am

      This is actually good feedback. I don’t necessarily hate Greek life, but even though I’m not in it, I don’t have a hard time seeing which groups get the message of Greek life (leadership and philanthropy) and which groups don’t. Some people are always going to party, you’re right. But if the brothers and sisters are allowing, encouraging, or blowing it off like it doesn’t matter, that’s where the problem lies, absolutely.

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