Universities across the nation have been cracking down on hazing after severe cases received national attention.
The nationwide issue has taken a toll on UNC Charlotte’s Interfraternity Council (IFC). Only 119 students signed up for IFC recruitment.
“I’ve been here for four years and that is the lowest it’s ever been,” Greg Rush, Phi Delta Theta vice president, told Niner Times in March. “I think it’s a combination of rush being pushed back and the bad publicity that IFC fraternities have gotten over the years.”
Recruitment was delayed two weeks so an “expert consultant” could work with each chapter.
“I think we’re all concerned about [the national issues] and you want to make sure that on your campus you don’t have the similar kinds of behaviors that cause those issues,” said Chancellor Philip L. Dubois during a Student Government Association meeting earlier this semester. “We would never discipline the Greek system as a whole based on what happened on other campuses. We choose to respond to specific examples of misbehavior by a Greek organization, which as you know, there’s a process for that.”
And a process there is. Three fraternities were suspended throughout the academic year: Delta Chi, Phi Sigma Kappa and Lambda Chi Alpha.
Here’s what they did.
Jiggling the balls
Quizzes and physical activity are a common combination of hazing. Delta Chi took it a step farther. According to an investigation by the Office of Student Conduct, a witness told investigators that while doing wall sits as a punishment for incorrect answers, pledges were instructed to extend their arms and wiggle their fingers in front of a brother’s crotch as a way to imitate “jiggling the balls.” The witness clarified; however, they never actually touched.
According to other reports, this event was in a dark room with just one lit red bulb and metal music blaring. The pledges wore white T-shirts which brothers wrote “pledge” and their numbers on in black marker. During these events, pledges were brought in one by one as a form of intimidation and were told to shotgun and chug beers and take Jell-O shots while doing their assigned exercise. One pledge told investigators he would have stopped drinking, but he was supposed to follow instructions.
Brothers also “iced” a group of pledges with a cooler of Smirnoff.
At an event called “Match Night,” pledges held matches at an angle and attempted to recite the Greek alphabet before the fire reached their fingers.
One witness said his fingernail melted into his skin, but it was still “fun.” In addition, one witness said he thought everyone was at least burned or singed.
In the report, investigators wrote of a designated “zucchini brother” who was forced to carry a zucchini at all times. However, it is unclear how long he had the zucchini.
“These actions by chapter members go against our expectations of membership and do not align with the Oath of Delta Chi,” said Delta Chi CEO Keith R. Shriver. “We will not tolerate such violations of laws, policies, and principles. The fraternity will work with local alumni, university officials and student leaders to reestablish a membership of values-based men at UNC Charlotte in the future. We are grateful for our strong partnership with UNCC, and we appreciate the university’s continuing support.”
Delta Chi was charged with hazing, providing alcohol to minors and acts of harm in the form of physical injury and fear/risk on Nov. 14. Their suspension ends Aug. 11, 2021.
The mystery of the U-Haul
Investigators heard inconsistent stories from brothers and pledges about what happened on Phi Sigma Kappa’s bid night involving the rental of a U-Haul. This led investigators to believe the men were being dishonest.
It would be a simple explanation that the rental was for removing fraternity letters, however, multiple witnesses said the fraternity moves letters themselves. In addition, the letters were supposed to be removed 10 minutes after the U-Haul was rented, which would not have allowed enough time for the letters to be removed by deadline, the investigative summary stated. One witness said it was used to move items for Cigar Night, an event held prior to the rental.
Investigators were suspicious when a witness stated blindfolds were used in the new member process.
“Being blindfolded and placed in the back of a U-Haul would cause fear,” reads the investigative summary. “Additionally, there is the risk of injury with individuals being transported in the back of a U-Haul.”
One witness said a new member was sent to the hospital for drinking, which was described as “excessive” during bid night.
Phi Sigma Kappa was suspended on April 3 and charged with hazing, providing alcohol to minors and acts of harm in the form of physical injury and fear/risk.
They will be allowed to return to campus Dec. 17, 2020.
Phi Sigma Kappa did not reply to the Niner Times’ request for comment.
A witness of Lambda Chi Alpha’s investigation claimed the fraternity would “haze the shit out of you.” Considering they have the longest report of the three suspended fraternities, this may be true.
According to an investigative summary, pledges were punished for incorrect quiz answers with drink and food concoctions made out of eggs, pickle juice, hot sauce, spices, mayo, tuna, oatmeal, chicken soup and mustard. Some witnesses mentioned tasting beer and vodka as well.
“People were throwing up left and right,” a witness said.
They also used physical activity to haze, including the dehumanizing task of following a laser pointer.
One witness claims he told Witness 54, who held the event at his house, to “shut it down and send the boys home,” but Witness 54 did not comply. Two witnesses said they became physically ill by looking at the hazing. One pledge had an asthma attack in the process.
Witness 54 claims he was “crushing beers” in the garage, but never provided alcohol to any of pledges. Multiple witnesses said otherwise.
Similar activities occurred at Millennium One and Kirk Farm Field on Mallard Creek Church Road in the middle of the night. The events at the field ended abruptly when a car pulled up and “spooked the brothers” and Witness 54 told the boys they only got one-third of the hazing they were supposed to get.
At a can structure event, pledges were told to chug warm or hot beer and then build a structure.
“Witness 37 stated, ‘If they’re smart, they’ll vomit,’” reads the investigative summary. “Witness 45 shared it ‘got out of hand’ with a ‘lot more screaming this year.’”
Pledges also had to clean brothers’ houses and apartments as regulated by Witness 54, provide rides, buy brothers multiple items and search for keys — that did not actually exist — with their fellow pledges.
They also had the task of recording a weekly “Bad Ass Pledge” tape and submitting it via flash drive to Witness 54. Pledges created a “Today Show” theme with a weather report by a new member wearing no pants, a porn report in which two pledges showed pictures of porn and rated porn stars, a corn report in which raw corn was consumed, a rap video, a Panther’s report and other content.
They also made “Pick Me” videos to impress brothers and raise their status in the fraternity. The videos showed them shotgunning a beer in front of their mother, jumping into ponds, proposing to random strangers, blowing up objects, smoking in the library, running from security and other similar content.
The investigation mentioned rumors of a family within the fraternity called the “Bloodbath,” who could not be initiated until they performed oral sex on a woman on her period. Although many claimed this was just a rumor, one witness confirmed, saying it must be filmed and submitted. A different witness said there is no filming involved. Other families include the “El Cartel,” who must consume jalapeños, and the “Grimy,” who eats food concoctions at Golden Corral.
Lambda Chi Alpha’s suspension runs through Jan. 29, 2018 to Aug. 14, 2023. They were charged with hazing, disruption of normal university activities, providing alcohol to minors, acts of harm in the form of physical injury and fear/risk, and failure to comply for holding unapproved events and emergency meetings.
Director of Communications at Lambda Chi Alpha Tad Lichtenauer said, “We have a zero-tolerance policy in regard to hazing.” He said the fraternity had no comment on specific allegations.
They also faced charges for fabricating stories, which was obvious to investigators when answers were “word for word,” such as stating Witness 54 is a “really professional guy.”
They later apologized for being dishonest.