Party over for frat guilty of hazing

Staff WriterJanuary 20, 2006 

A fraternity at UNC-Chapel Hill is on probation for at least a year after pleading guilty to hazing this week in the university's student-run honor court.

Beta Theta Pi will not be allowed to have parties at least through the spring of 2007 with the exception of one social event per semester for parents or alumni, said Matt McDowell, a UNC-CH senior and student attorney general.

The hazing charge stemmed from an incident Sept. 21 in which new Beta recruits were forced to wear costumes, subjected to verbal harassment and made to stand close to a bonfire, McDowell said. No one was injured, he said.

The incident had been reported in an anonymous e-mail message to a university official in the Greek Affairs Office, who then investigated. The university official reported a strong odor of alcohol around the underage recruits, McDowell added.

In a hearing Tuesday, fraternity leaders pleaded guilty to hazing. Beta members will have to perform community service, which will include presenting an educational program on hazing for other fraternities at UNC-CH.

Beta fraternity members could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Jonathan Sauls, an assistant dean of students, said the sanction was tough but appropriate. "It certainly recognizes that hazing does not have a place on this campus, and hopefully from our perspective, it sends a message that there are certain standards of behavior we expect from the student body," Sauls said.

McDowell said hazing charges are rare and hard to prove. The last one to make it to the honor court was in the spring of 2003, he said.

Staff writer Jane Stancill can be reached at 956-2464 or janes@newsobserver.com.

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