In 2019, OU’s greek life organizations, in addition to the Marching 110 and the men’s rugby club, received cease and desist orders as the university investigated allegations of hazing. Through the years, other greek life organizations, like Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, alongside other organizations across campus, like the OU men’s club soccer team and waterpolo team, have all faced hazing allegations, according to previous Post reports.
Other schools, like those in the Mid-American Conference in Ohio, including Kent State University, Miami University, Bowling Green State University, University of Akron and University of Toledo, have also had hazing allegations in the years before and since 2019.
Beau Uqdah, a senior studying integrated language arts at OU, joined Phi Delta Theta in fall 2019. Uqdah held various leadership positions within the organization and said he has not witnessed any hazing based on his definition of “anything that someone would do to gain membership into a fraternity that goes against their personal moral code.” Uqdah said, however, because his definition is so broad, it is likely someone could consider an act or situation to be hazing that he personally might not.
“Everything that I hear is always like hearsay, until there's a document or a group chat that is leaked where it's without a doubt what this chapter is doing on this campus,” Uqdah said.
When it came to forced drinking, Uqdah said he heard of that being a part of other organizations too.
Uqdah’s fraternity was given a hazing module from OU to complete, which went over what hazing looks like, what the warning signs are and what hazing is. The depth of educating one’s fraternity on hazing depends on the organization, Uqdah said. For his fraternity, the national chapter also provides materials.
“From the school's perspective, they introduced the UC 1500 class, which is ‘Intro to Sorority and Fraternity Life,’” Uqdah said. “That allows students a voice away from their organization to hear about what hazing might look like.”
Sandra Hoyt, a professor of instruction within the psychology department at OU, said there are multiple factors that go into why hazing happens, but the basis is the desire people have to belong to groups. On top of wanting to be part of a group, insufficient justification plays a role.
“Not even just getting the hazing but if you get into groups is really hard to get into, you had to really work hard to do that. Afterward, you say to yourself, ‘Well, why did I really do this?’’ Hoyt said. “And it's all about cognitive dissonance, which is where the insufficient justification comes in.”
Cognitive dissonance is when a person’s actions do not align with a person’s personal beliefs. Insufficient justification is a theory that states people are more likely to participate in an act that goes against their personal beliefs when offered a small reward instead of a large reward. Because an individual cannot change their behavior to affect a new outcome, they will choose to change their attitude, according to Hoyt.
“So hazing, even though it can take on some terrible forms, has this ability to build loyalty and positive feelings towards the group. It's a little weird,” Hoyt said. “And then I think it persists because what happens is one student had to go through this to get into this group. And so they assume, ‘Well these other students should have to go through something similar to get into this group,’ and then it becomes, ‘Not only should they go through something similar, but we should make it a little more extreme.’”
And, although hazing is a risk, people join those organizations because there is usually a positive aspect presented, according to Hoyt.
Hazing is not confined to OU, though. Other universities of similar size in Ohio have experienced their fair share of hazing incidents as well.
At University of Toledo, Megan Stoops, the outgoing panhellenic president and a senior studying psychology, also never witnessed hazing.
“I don't think that there were instances where there was hazing. I think it was rather endangerment of people,” Stoops said. “And that was like my freshman year, so I don't really know of something specific.”
Stoops said there’s a zero-tolerance policy at UT when it comes to hazing and said there’s been increased education on hazing and increased accountability in addition to the anonymous reporting options available.
“I think that's really benefited our community because not only are we more mindful of one another and holding each other accountable (but) it's forever ingrained in our community now,” Stoops said. “I think that is a benefit for us specifically because keeping one another accountable (and) keeping us safe is a huge part of how the community can flourish by holding each other to the same standard that we would hold our friends.”
Between 2010 and 2020, UT received three reports of hazing that the university found violated the student code of conduct.
After the death in 2021 of Stone Foltz after a hazing ritual at Pi Kappa Alpha, also known as PIKE, at Bowling Green State University, Anna Lipinski, a freshman studying nursing and a member of Kappa Delta at BGSU, said it revealed the seriousness of hazing.
“I think that having that incident happen, and seeing how it affected his parents and his girlfriend at the time and his friends and everything, I think it really shed light on what hazing is and how it can go to an extreme and how it can be fatal in the end,” Lipinski said.
PIKE was expelled from campus in 2021 after Foltz’s death. Prior to his death, the fraternity had two allegations of hazing in 2018, one of which included forced consumption of alcohol. The two allegations, however, were not supported after further questioning and investigation.
Before the semester even started, Lipinski said she was required to complete modules on hazing and drinking awareness. During her BGSU freshman orientation, Lipsinski was given information on resources to contact if someone is being hazed, and during her potential new member orientation, the same information and resources were presented. After joining, Lipinski’s sorority president also held a seminar on hazing.
“I felt more comfortable with having that freshman orientation and talking about how … if there's any signs of hazing going around, ‘Please report it and everything,’” Lipinski said. “So I feel like it really depends on the college that you go to, but I felt very comfortable.”
Between 2017 and 2021, BGSU received 24 hazing reports, and six of the reports received sanctions.
At Kent State, Luke Schiopota, a junior studying exercise physiology, said his fraternity does not have a pledging process, so new members do not have to prove their worth to be included.
“They're initiated right away and they're equal to all the other brothers that are already in the fraternity, so that just completely eliminates the factor of hazing altogether for us,” Schiopota said.
Schiopota said his fraternity attended hazing seminars and learned about the new hazing laws.
“For my fraternity, it definitely is a big factor for us (and) that's kind of one of our main selling points when we're recruiting,” Schiopota said. “We like to make sure that people know that there's no opportunity that you're going to be hazed in our fraternity.”
Schiopota was not aware of any hazing cases at Kent State specifically but was aware of hazing at other schools based on what was being reported in the news.
Kent State’s office of student conduct does not keep records past seven years, according to Stephanie Jones, special assistant in the office of general counsel at Kent State in an email, so there was no data from 2010–2013 to share. Additionally, the office of student code and conduct was not in charge of records of investigations until 2017 because they were facilitated through the center for student involvement. Kent State had three records of hazing from 2016–2019.
Hoyt said clear messaging from universities, such as clear zero-tolerance policies and harsher penalties for hazing would be effective in hazing prevention, in addition to educating students on the topic.
“If you aren't trying to educate the students about it, and their parents and the faculty and staff, then that's when more things fly under the radar,” Hoyt said. “And I think penalties have to be there. Because when people get in groups, they sometimes forget about things, and they'll do things that are somewhat unusual that they certainly wouldn't typically ever do just by themselves.”
In general, Ohio colleges in the MAC have issued punishments, also known as “sanctions,” when an organization is found in violation of the student code of conduct. Examples include disciplinary probation, suspension for a specified period of time, mandatory education, required fees and required paperwork, such as new member materials.
Hank Nuwer, author and professor emeritus at Franklin College, put together a database of hazing cases, which includes high school and college hazing cases dating as far back as 1838.
“The first hazing death that I could find in a school was 1838, and the first fraternity 1873,” Nuwer said. “I think the fact that in my research there was a death every year from 1959 until 2019 says an awful lot.”
Nuwer said a combination of clear, stringent anti-hazing laws and continued information on the effects of hazing on others would be beneficial in hazing prevention.
“I don't think we can stop hazing, but my whole career has been aimed at at least stopping the deaths and serious injuries,” Nuwer said. “I think that's a buy-in we should be able to get from all undergrads.”
Uqdah said every organization has a group of people who try to push the limits of what is allowed, and a conversation needs to happen with those people.
“I always go back to the ‘one bad seed’ thing because one, it's funny,” Uqdah said. “You can say that for every organization, but it's those five people that are in a chapter that are always trying to push the envelope further. Those are the people that need to be sat down and have a conversation.”
The records included were requested via the Freedom of Information Act. Records of hazing incidents and hazing incident reports from each college were requested from the date range of 2010–2020. In response, BGSU sent a spreadsheet with incidents from 2017–2021. Kent State University sent records from 2013–2020 because the office of student conduct does not keep records beyond seven years, though the records sent did not include incident reports.University of Toledo, Miami University and University of Akron sent over records from the specified time frame. All the reports included in the timeline are incidents in which the universities found the organizations to be in violation of hazing per their student codes of conduct. The cases are listed by the date the university notified the sorority or fraternity.
The following reports include content about alcohol use and acts of physical and violence.
Phi Kappa Tau | October 2011
University of Akron
Potential new members of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity were punished by being forced to “take pictures with a homosexual” at a night club after failing to follow a pledging ritual. The fraternity was found to be in violation of hazing. Members were required to conduct a mandatory diversity education program
Omega Psi Phi | January 2014
University of Toledo
New members of Omega Psi Phi were interviewed by university officials after a neighbor reported a meeting where students stood silent in a formation for the meeting, as well as someone who left the garage and vomited. The fraternity was found responsible for hazing violations. As a result, it was suspended for a year and placed on disciplinary probation for two years following the suspension. Omega Psi Phi was also required to participate in hazing education programs through the university.
Theta Chi | January 2014
University of Toledo
A parent of a potential new member of Theta Chi reported new members not being allowed to keep their phones and wallets with them, as well as underage drinking. It was also reported the event led to a new member being hospitalized with high blood alcohol content. The fraternity was found in violation of hazing and other university regulations. It was suspended for eight months. However, it was not allowed to recruit until the next year. It also had to do training on university handbooks for Greek Life and an anti-hazing seminar.
Alpha Phi Alpha | April 2014
University of Akron
In January 2014, a new member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity was admitted into the hospital as a result of paddling during the fraternity’s hazing practices. In March 2014, six active members of the fraternity were arrested on one count of assault and one count of hazing because of treatment of new members. One new member went to the hospital for an infection after being paddled. The fraternity was ordered to be closed for a minimum of five years and was not allowed to return to campus prior to April 1, 2019.
Pi Kappa Alpha | April 2014
Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity received hazing allegations after a “person connected to a new member” reported hazing-related “Hell Week” activities. Those activities included sleeping at the chapter house, taking phones away from new members, performing calisthenics in the chapter house and physically abusing members. The fraternity was found to be in violation of hazing and was placed on disciplinary probation until Dec. 19, 2014. The fraternity was also required to revise the new member program, complete a risk management program and was strongly suggested to have a live-in advisor.
Phi Beta Sigma | October 2014
University of Akron
Members of a sorority witnessed hazing against potential new members of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, which included paddling, yelling and pushing. Members of Phi Beta Sigma were found to be in violation of hazing. Phi Beta Sigma was suspended for five years.
Phi Kappa Psi | April 2015
Parents of potential new Phi Kappa Psi members called the university to report hazing, which included students only being able to study for two hours, being forced to spend the night at the annex houses and not being allowed to sleep in their dorms. The fraternity was found in violation of hazing and placed on disciplinary probation until May 15, 2016, and was required to provide evidence of risk management.
Sigma Nu Fraternity | April 2015
Sigma Nu was found to be in violation of hazing, after it was found the fraternity condoned the consumption of 100 beers and did not allow members to shower or shave. The fraternity was suspended until Dec. 15, 2019, and was required to submit a reorganization plan.
Pi Kappa Phi | April 2015
University of Toledo
After being contacted by a local news station regarding hazing in Pi Kappa Phi, the Greek Life program manager at UT, received information from Pi Kappa Phi’s national headquarters stating they received an anonymous tip about the fraternity hazing during initiation week. The university issued a cease and desist order.
Kappa Sigma | April 2015
Potential new members of the Kappa Sigma fraternity were allegedly forced to exercise at 3 a.m., sleep at the annex houses of the fraternity every night except for weekends and forced to drink alcohol. The fraternity was found to be in violation of hazing and was placed on disciplinary probation for two months and was required to have evidence of a risk management program.
Sigma Phi Epsilon | May 2015
In an anonymous report, Sigma Phi Epsilon was accused of hazing by having members engage in workouts from 7 to 9 a.m. In the report, it was explained the workouts were interfering with the anonymous reporter’s amount of sleep. The fraternity was found to be in violation of hazing, and was required to provide proof of risk management plan, provide proof of monthly meetings and be placed on disciplinary probation until May 30, 2016.
Evans Scholars | November 2015
The Evans Scholars fraternity was found to be in violation of hazing provisions after a university employee found a copy of the fraternity’s “rules” and a fraternity calendar. Some of the rules included carrying a brick and a manual at all times in backpacks, mandatory attire of suit and tie to classes from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and no phone usage except for family and emergencies. The fraternity was found to be in violation of hazing and was placed on disciplinary probation for two years. The fraternity was also required to host an anti-hazing education program, attend fraternity and sorority new member training in the spring and serve on a hazing prevention committee.
Phi Kappa Tau | February 2016
Phi Kappa Tau was found to be in violation of hazing provisions after witnesses testified its new members were required to clean apartments. Because of this, its members were required to complete a bystander step-up program and a hazing program, among other sanctions.
Delta Upsilon | March 2016
An anonymous report was submitted about Delta Upsilon, leading to an investigation of 25 new members who were asked about forced servitude and early morning workouts. The fraternity was deemed to be in violation of hazing and prohibited use of alcohol policies and was required to have many of its members attend substance abuse education, a bystander step-up program and a hazing program for all members. It was placed on probation for two months.
Phi Kappa Tau | March 2016
Phi Kappa Tau was determined to have violated hazing provisions a second time in 2016 and was subsequently suspended from Miami until May 2020. The fraternity could not start making plans to reorganize on campus until November 2019.
Pi Kappa Phi | April 2016
Pi Kappa Phi was reported to have lied about initiating new members to the national chapter. The report also said hazing was made to be more stressful for members to earn their spot. In addition, new members were required to hand-deliver food to initiated members, drink a container of “jungle juice” with hot sauce, brush their teeth with anchovies and workout at 3 a.m. The fraternity was found to be in violation of dishonesty, prohibited use of alcohol and hazing. The fraternity was suspended until 2017 and had an additional year-long disciplinary probation period.
Sigma Pi | April 2016
Sigma Pi was investigated for a hazing allegation and found to be in violation of hazing and prohibited use of alcohol. The fraternity was required to have an internal investigation conducted, develop a risk management and member development program and was put on disciplinary probation until May 16, 2017, in addition to other sanctions.
Zeta Beta Tau | April 2016
In an anonymous report, an individual said hazing was taking place at Zeta Beta Tau. The fraternity required potential new members to take tests at 3 a.m., participate in “Edward 40 hands” and drink a bottle of champagne, among other requirements. Zeta Beta Tau was found to be in violation of hazing and was suspended from May 10, 2016, to May 10, 2018.
Lambda Chi Alpha | 2016
Kent State University
Lambda Chi Alpha was investigated for hazing and found responsible for those allegations and “another accusation” that was not detailed by Kent State. The fraternity was placed on probation until August 2017.
Alpha Delta Phi | April 2017
An investigation into Alpha Delta Phi found new members were required to take weekly, 30-minute quizzes at the fraternity house at 6 a.m. Because activities are not allowed before 7 a.m., the fraternity was found responsible for hazing and put on disciplinary probation for seven months.
Phi Kappa Psi | November 2017
Bowling Green State University
After a student was reported to have been threatened by members holding a tree branch at a Phi Kappa Psi camping date party, the fraternity was found to have violated the student code of conduct by engaging in hazing and was suspended until Fall Semester 2020.
Delta Tau Delta | January 2018
Bowling Green State University
New members of Delta Tau Delta were reported to have been punished by active members during “Hell Week,” which included verbal hazing, forced completion of household chores, eating cat food, and forced hours of physical activity. The fraternity was found responsible for hazing its members, put on a warning status and required to complete university hazing and risk management programs.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon | May 2018
Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity was reported to have hazed potential new members by throwing food and condiments on them and having new members participate in physical activities. The fraternity was found in violation of hazing, and it was placed on probation from April 19, 2018, to the end of Spring Semester 2019. The fraternity was also required to have a new risk management plan, new hazing intervention program and a new member education plan.
Delta Tau Delta | August 2019
In a report filed March 20, 2019, Delta Tau Delta faced more hazing allegations. The report said potential new members were forced to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana. Members were also reportedly paddled so hard lacerations and bruises were left on their bodies. As a result, Delta Tau Delta was suspended until 2034 and is not able to petition the university for consideration for an earlier return to campus until 2029.