Several Fraternity Hazing Incidents Recently Reported Across Texas, Bordering States | KERA News

Several Fraternity Hazing Incidents Recently Reported Across Texas, Bordering States

Oct 9, 2017

Five stories that have North Texas talking: The recent flurry of hazing news; the growth of women entrepreneurs in Texas; a nostalgic 1960s look at the State Fair; and more.

Fraternity hazing is proving hard to stamp out. The most recent headline: Southern Methodist University yanked Alpha Kappa Order's chapter last week for it. But that's just one of of several recent hazing-related news items from across the region.

SMU

University officials said an investigation of spring hazing incidents found evidence of new Kappa Alpha Order members being paddled, forced to drink alcohol and forced to eat peppers until they vomited, according to a letter from the school to parents Wednesday about the suspension. Beta Lambda, the the KAO chapter at SMU, was also found to have made new members act as servants and deprived them of sleep.

The chapter's mission is "to create a lifetime experience which centers on reverence to God, duty, honor, character and gentlemanly conduct as inspired by Robert E. Lee, our spiritual founder," according to its website. It will be able to start recruiting upper-class students beginning fall 2021, the Dallas Morning News reported.

University of Oklahoma

Blake Novacek, son of former Dallas Cowboy Jay Novacek, is suing the Gamma Phi chapter of Beta Theta Pi, alleging that a hazing incident when he was a freshman left him with brain damage. "We are offended by the allegations, we intend to vigorously contest this action by all legal means at our disposal, and we are confident of vindication," Zach Allen, president of Beta Theta Pi Corporation of Oklahoma, told The Oklahoman last week.

University of Texas at Tyler 

In September, the Pi Kappa Phi chapter at UT-Tyler was suspended pending an investigation into hazing claims, according to the Tyler Morning Telegraph

 

Louisiana State University

Freshman Maxwell Gruver died Sept. 14, the day after Phi Delta Theta pledges were made to play a game called "Bible Study," where they were asked questions about the fraternity. When they got one wrong, they were forced to drink alcohol. LSU temporarily halted all campus Greek life activities.

The fraternity's national CEO told NBC, "Our goal is, and always will be, to create a culture of responsibility in our chapters to keep our members safe. This is why the situation currently unfolding at Louisiana State University is particularly heartbreaking."

The University of Texas at Austin

Following the LSU death, UT's Office of the Dean of Students sent a campus-wide email, reiterating the university's no-hazing rules for all university associated groups. The Daily Texan reports the email is sent out around the same time each semester by requirement of state law. The email also reminded recipients that 22 UT organizations have been disciplined for hazing in the last three years, the majority of which were sororities and fraternities, the Daily Texan reported. The per-semester reports that the college publication cites show UT as the top school in the state for most organizations disciplined for hazing. No. 2 is Texas State University with 13, followed by Texas A&M with five in violation over the past three years.

Use an interactive map to check hazing laws in Texas and other U.S. states at HazingPrevention.org. Wikipedia has a non-exhaustive but still-informative list of hazing deaths dating back to 1838.

Listen to the NPR Morning Edition interview with Caitlin Flanagan about her reporting for The Atlantic on why fraternity hazing continues to stick around despite all the efforts to stop it.

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  • From the cavity desk: The top Halloween candy in Texas is Starburst, according to 10 years' worth of sales data from bulk candy dealer Candystore.com. Texas used to be all about Reese's Cups, but Starburst bumped it to No. 2, followed by Almond Joy at No. 3. The candy company tallied other states' biggest teeth-rotters, too — check out their fun interactive map.  Here's what we want to know: What's up with the Swedish Fish, Georgia? Gross.

Update: We have updated this post to include additional details about the UT-Austin campus-wide email.

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