Administrators close TEP after two students hospitalized following alleged hazing.
Hazing remains a widespread practice among certain fraternities and sororities on American campuses; some of the rituals practiced can be extremely dangerous.
Now, Cornell University is investigating allegations of alcohol-related hazing at Tau Epsilon Phi after two of the fraternity’s pledges were hospitalized. Reports indicate that the students were hospitialized after becoing highly intoxicated during a hazing event at the fraternity. Subsequently, Cornell administrators have placed the fraternity on interim suspension while the charges are investigated.
Cornell student Alfonse Muglia wonders how this action will impact the fraternity system on campus.
After allegations of hazing against Tau Epsilon Phi (TEP) reached the press this morning, the Interfraternity Council is calling for all fraternities to increase accountability in these closing weeks of the semester. These student leaders should also be putting pressure on the University to better define its policy and to define the consequences for when this policy is broken.
IFC leaders and Dean Travis Apgar held an emergency meeting with all chapter presidents on Monday night. In the closed-door meeting, student leaders challenged chapters to improve behavior and remove externalities, before the University is compelled to take action, as it did with the TEP situation. This action could be serious, as rumors are circulating of threats by the University to potentially shorten or to make other alterations to Rush Week in January. Nevertheless, the individual chapters are still getting the opportunity to overcome the majority of obstacles themselves. For now, the ball remains in the court of the students.
This autonomy, however, comes under the watchful, ambiguous eye of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs. On Monday, students learned how quickly their autonomy can be taken away. The decision to suspend TEP did not come from the IFC, but rather it came from the University, bypassing the IFC’s judicial process. Reports are that TEP was in the midst of an IFC investigation at the time of the University’s announcement.
Furthermore, and perhaps even more interesting, is the fact that the TEP brothers’ decision to call 9-1-1 will not be protected under medical amnesty. This policy of medical amnesty apparently only protects chapters in the IFC’s Court of Law (the IFC Judicial Board), and not in the University’s hearing process which TEP now finds itself. If nothing else, students should be calling this University policy (or should I say lack of policy) into question. Why has the University not adopted this important measure that removes barriers for putting student safety above fear of potential reprimanding? Why was this question not raised in this morning’s coverage?
With that aside, Cornell Greeks again find themselves in what seems to be perpetual hot water in the closing weeks of the semester, a time when many houses are holding dinners and other events to gain an edge before January’s rush week. Perhaps more so than ever, it is clear that one house’s misbehavior will not only affect its own chapter’s status, but the status and autonomy of the entire fraternity system.
How Will Greeks Respond to the University Suspending TEP? (Cornell Insider)