Monday, March 29, 2010

Best of Busted!

Fraternity Loses Charter, House after Campus Hazing Incident

The University of Southern Mississippi on Friday revoked Kappa Sigma fraternity's charter and closed the house on campus… An alleged hazing incident at the Kappa Sigma fraternity house has left a student in intensive care … Two students involved were admitted to the hospital for treatment of alcohol poisoning. One of the students remains hospitalized for continued treatment and observation.

The mother of the student in ICU…, said her daughter, a sophomore, had been invited to become a little sister of Kappa Sigma. At an initiation party last week, little sisters already affiliated with the fraternity initiated the new students.

"They poured pancake syrup in their hair and silly string - things like that… Then, they tilted their heads back and poured in whiskey and vodka." according to the mother.

Some students who were at the party brought (the woman) to the hospital, saying they had found her on the side of the road. (She) had a blood-alcohol content of 0.47, more than five times above the legal limit of 0.08, and is being treated for alcohol poisoning. A 100-pound woman would have to drink more than 10 cocktails in one hour to have a 0.47 blood content.

Let’s recap. According to the above allegation, a fraternity was coordinating hazing activities directed at women who were attempting to become little sisters of the organization. Allegedly, this hazing progressed in a manner that resulted in one of the women being admitted into Intensive Care for at least several days. The only way this woman got the help she needed is that she was found on the side of the road after the party.

There are multiple significant concerns with this allegation. First, there is the apparent forced consumption of considerable amounts of alcohol that resulted in this woman being admitted with a BAC of .47. According to news reports, this is the equivalent of ten drinks in one hour for a 100 pound woman and at that level of intoxication, there is serious risk of an individual slipping into a coma or even death.

Additionally, in case you did not know or catch it above, Kappa Sigma is a men’s fraternity and the individuals treated for hazing were females who were allegedly hazed by other female “little sisters” of the organization. This is troubling, because now we are not only hazing our members; we are hazing people who can not legally become members of our organizations. Actually, we are allowing individuals who are not members the opportunity to haze other individuals who can not become members, all in the name of and under the auspices of fraternity. As a point of information, just for the sake of it, Little Sister organizations are prohibited as they are a threat to the Title IX exemption that fraternities and sororities have as single sex organizations.

Okay, and now let’s address the issue of the woman in question allegedly being found on the side of road by other party goers (if such a horrendous action can be addressed without simply reinforcing its insanity). How does something like this happen? Did the woman leave on her own and not make it back to her residence or was she just dropped off with the hopes she would be found by someone who would get her the help she needed. Or was she directed by others at the party to be taken to the hospital who indicated she was found on the side of the road rather than to tell the truth about what allegedly occurred at the Kappa Sigma house. Hey, anything is possible.

The chapter leadership did acknowledge participation in the alleged incident and have cooperated with the investigative processes that have occurred. Okay, we’ll give you that one… however, this is too little too late.

How and why do these incidents still happen in the name of fraternity, especially when members are allowing non-members to perpetrate these acts under the name of the fraternity? We are glad that this woman got the help she needed and her peers sought medical attention, as the alternatives could have been tragic. However, this is yet another situation that could have been avoided entirely.

Wells, V. (2008, Sept. 4) Alleged Hazing Under Review. [Electronic Version]. The Hattiesburg American.
Wells, V. (2008, Sept. 6) Fraternity Loses Charter, House After Campus Hazing Incident. [Electronic Version]. The Hattiesburg American


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