In a legal decision that experts say will likely have a significant impact on America’s Greek system, a judge in Pennsylvania has banned Pi Delta Psi from the state for 10 years as punishment for a hazing death in 2013. Four former fraternity members were also sentenced to jail time.
Chun Hsien Deng, who was a student at Baruch College, died during a brutal hazing ritual known as the “glass ceiling” that involved him being blindfolded in freezing temperatures and assaulted, reportedly representing the plight of Asian-Americans.
The judge found the hazing death deeply disturbing, according to the The Associated Press: “‘Not one person out of 37 picked up a telephone and called an ambulance. I cannot wrap my head around it,” Monroe County President Judge Margherita Patti-Worthington said. “So there’s something greater going on here, and I think it’s probably really prevalent. We see across the country these issues in fraternities.'”
The decision may prove to be landmark because a national fraternity chapter was successfully prosecuted. Pi Delta Psi has two chapters in Pennsylvania, according to Inside Higher Ed, one at Penn State and an inactive one at Carnegie Mellon University. Neither were involved in the hazing that killed Deng. The Pi Delta Psi chapter at Baruch College was immediately shut down following Deng’s death back in 2013.
According to NPR, “The four defendants, all from New York City, were sentenced after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter, hindering apprehension and other charges. They had been initially charged with third-degree murder.”
Kenny Kwan received 12 to 24 months, Raymond Lam and Sheldon Wong will serve 10 to 24 months each, while Charles Lai was sentenced to time served — he had spent 342 days in jail because he could not make bail.
According to The New York Times, the fraternity was also sentenced to pay $110,000 in fines, in addition to the ban. The fraternity plans on appealing, arguing that the courts had judged the national organization harshly for only several members’ actions.
Parents of Fraternity Hazing Victims to Attend Two-Day Retreat
Over a dozen parents will connect and plan for future action to stop hazing.
When sending their children off to college, parents want them to learn and have fun. They don’t expect them to be involved in a fatal hazing incident. Sadly, that is a tragic reality for some families.
Three years ago, Tucker Hipps passed away at just 19 years old during a hazing incident. A Clemson University sophomore at the time, he wanted to join Sigma Phi Epsilon, a campus fraternity. But on a morning run with some of the fraternity members on September 22, 2014, he was allegedly forced by a fraternity member to walk over a narrow bridge crossing Lake Hartwell. He then fell from the bridge and died from his injuries.
His mother, Cindy Hipps, is hosting the inaugural Parents Anti-Hazing Retreat in Greenville, South Carolina this Friday and Saturday. Over a dozen parents who have lost children to hazing will attend the private event where speakers and activities are scheduled. Two of the speakers include author and journalist Hank Nuwer and Kevin Kruger, president of NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.
Hipps has already taken legal action herself. In 2016, the Tucker Hipps Transparency Act was signed into law by former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. This law requires tracking and public reports of misconduct by fraternities and sororities at public universities.
Parents from all over the country will attend the two-day conference this weekend to connect with other parents and help plan what action could be taken to stop future hazings from happening to other students.
Today’s Frat Suspension: AR -15 Found in Washington U. Phi Delta Theta House
The frat is permanently suspended from campus and the student responsible for the weapon has been removed.
A fraternity at Washington University (St. Louis), Phi Delta Theta, is permanently suspended after the discovery of firearms in the fraternity house and violations of the fraternity’s previous primary suspension.
Washington University Police Department found an AR-15 semi-automatic weapon in the fraternity’s on campus house, and a handgun in a car parked in a University garage. The discovery of the weapons came after an anonymous sources provided a photo of the weapons on social media with a partial Phi Delta Theta flag visible in the background.
The owner of the weapons, a student at Wash U and member of Phi Delt, has been removed and suspended from campus.
Words fail at the stupidity of an AR-15 in a fraternity house at Washington University https://t.co/CdVabZF8zd
— Mark Osmack (@mark_osmack) February 21, 2018
The fraternity was under investigation and temporary suspension from Wash U after allegations of a hazing incident in spring 2017. Phi Delt worked to maintain the University’s recognition after the decision was made for the fraternity to uphold a year long suspension beginning in December 2017.
According to independent newspaper of Wash U, Student Life, another investigation into the fraternity began in February due to unsanctioned social events.
Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs, Jill Friedman, stated that the University’s decision to permanently suspend the fraternity comes after multiple violations under the previous suspension.
“There have been concerns about their activity under that temporary suspension,” Friedman said. “The decision on this permanent suspension was in consideration of these concerns and made overwhelmingly on other violations [apart from the firearms].”
Purdue Fraternity Kickstarts Fundraiser After Tragedy Strikes House Mother
Look! It’s a positive fraternity story!
Purdue University’s chapter of Zeta Beta Tau took matters into their own hands when tragedy struck their house mother, Vanessa Trail.
On Feb. 5, Trail was at home with her children and husband, Jason, when their house succumbed to a fire. While Trail and her children were able to escape the house with severe injuries, her husband did not survive.
Zeta Beta Tau members created an online fundraiser for Trail and her children. With a GoFundMe account and a social media campaign, the fraternity has managed to raise over $19,000 for their house mother in just two weeks.
Matt Mosomillo, the creator of the GoFundMe fundraiser, made it known that, after all Trail and her family had done for the fraternity, it was time for the chapter to return the favor.
“Both of these people always had a smile on their face while doing their jobs, and they were such a pleasure to have around our house,” Mosomillo said. “A conversation with either of them could brighten any brother’s day. For all that they have done for us, it is only right we try to give back to their family in any way we can in this time of need.”
The campaign has generated nearly 1,000 shares and is very close to their fundraising goals as of the writing.
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