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New allegations made as Ohio University probes hazing

Posted at 7:04 PM, Oct 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-26 19:14:57-04

CINCINNATI (AP) — Ohio University students have made allegations of being forced to drink excessively, strip, and endure grueling exercise and long periods of confinement during an ongoing probe into hazing.

The university announced earlier this month the blanket suspension of 15 fraternities in response to a hazing investigation on campus. The suspension has since spread to some sororities, business fraternities, and other organizations including the school's marching band and rugby club.

The new allegations were obtained Thursday by The Associated Press through a public records request. Ohio University said it has lifted or eased restrictions against some fraternities and organizations as its investigation continues.

"This process is ongoing, and as more or different information comes forward, the University may decide to lift or impose additional restrictions as applicable," the school said in a statement dated Oct. 24.

The Interfraternity Council that governs the school's fraternities didn't immediately respond Friday to messages seeking comment.

In May, the university expelled Sigma Pi fraternity for hazing, alcohol and drug use, and other student conduct code violations after the alleged hazing of an 18-year-old student who died last November. Sigma Pi said the student wasn't a pledge when he died.

The school, based in Athens, Ohio, released a series of complaints from current and past students about alleged hazing. The school withheld their identities.

"Because hazing is power-based and many times the people experiencing hazing want to continue to belong to their organization, reporting is often anonymous," the school said in a statement. "Regardless of the manner in which the information is reported, we review each and every allegation and make independent decisions regarding each one."

"There are countless incidents each year, and thousands of scared girls guilted into not coming forward," an alumnus who participated in a sorority at the school said in her complaint.

There were several reports of pledges being forced to stay secluded in basements for days at a time. Others claimed that pledges were made to rise before dawn and run five miles around campus. Others allegedly had to exercise or carry weights while intoxicated. And there were several accounts of people being forced to clean houses.

There were repeated allegations of forced excessive drinking. One person alleged that a sorority made female pledges undress and undergo body-shaming by Sharpie-wielding sorority sisters.

The men's rugby club allegedly had new members run naked and rub their genitals on cars.

However, at least one student said he didn't have any issues with the process of becoming a fraternity member.

"I think joining this fraternity has opened my mindset to trying new things and to keep trying new things because you'll never know exactly what you like and what fits you until you try," he wrote. "I also think this process has made me more social and more outgoing."

Universities across the country have struggled in recent years to curb hazing. In August, two former fraternity brothers served time for misdemeanor hazing in connection with the alcohol poisoning death of a Louisiana State University student in 2017.

In April, three Virginia State University fraternity members were accused of hurting 10 students who were being hazed.

At Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, a student this year said he was beaten with a spiked paddle, kicked and forced to drink lots of alcohol during a Delta Tau Delta chapter initiation. Miami suspended the fraternity in August for 10 to 15 years after its investigation determined violations of the school's Code of Student Conduct.