The University of Iowa has suspended four fraternities after they have connected hazing rituals, including squirted hot sauce into the pledges’ eyes, bodyslammed them and forced underage students to binge drink.
Delta Chi, Sigma Nu, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and the UI chapter of Kappa Sigma International Fraternity have all been banned from operating as school organization, Iowa City school officials stated Thursday, December 13.
The decision came after a two-month investigation found multiple violations of university policy, including issues with tailgating events, according to KCRG.
The Kappa Sigma chapter, known as Beta-Rho, was also axed from its national organization on December 3, 2018. University officials said Beta-Rho put this year’s pledges–many of them were underage–through a traumatic hazing process called “the gauntlet,” in which they were forced to drink large quantities of alcohol under timed conditions.
A letter sent to fraternity’s president by the University said students had: “Placed the 2018 pledge class in a room and told them they needed to finish all the alcohol in the room, including bottles of hard liquor, cases of beer, and bottles of wine, in a small allotted amount of time.”
The letter said the pledges were also subjected to “physical assault with the use of body-slamming and forcing members to fight through a wall of fraternity brothers.”
Pledges were also instructed to carry a book around the fraternity house. If they dropped the book, older members bodyslammed them, according to KCRG.
Fraternity brothers also reportedly squirted hot sauce into pledges’ eyes and told them if they were accepted into the fraternity, they would be required to arrive at school a week before classes began in the spring for “hell week,” during which they would not be able to leave at any time.
“We have high expectation for how we are responsible for the students’ health, safety and well-being and that is something we will not compromise,” UI Vice President for Student Life Melissa Shiver said in a press conference on December 13, where she announced the decision of suspending the four fraternities.
“Certainly this is not an ideal place for us to be,” Shiver said. “Again, the fraternity and sorority system at Iowa is a storied one. It’s an important one. When fraternity and sorority life is done, well, it can be exceptional.”
Around 400 Students Will Be Affected
The ban of the four fraternities will affect 400 students, school officials said. In addition to the four suspended fraternities, the school also put six others on probation and one on suspension.
“Parents and families send their loved ones to the UI with the expectation that their safety, health, and well-being will be the top priority,” University president J. Bruce Harreld said in a statement. “These decisions honor that expectation.”
The university launched an investigation into Greek life activities following the death of 19-year-old freshmen Kamil Jackowski at a Sigma Chai formal at Lake of Ozarks, which was an out-of-state fraternity event in 2017. Following Jackowski’s death, the school banned alcohol at all fraternity and sorority events.
According to WQAD, students and faculty have been working on a strategic plan on how to improve “risk management, health, and safety” at fraternities and sororities. The plan will be announced in spring 2019.