The Phi Gamma Delta fraternity was placed on interim suspension by the University Tuesday.

Michaela Brew / Sun Sports Photography Editor

The Phi Gamma Delta fraternity was placed on interim suspension by the University Tuesday.

February 24, 2016

Cornell’s Phi Gamma Delta, Pi Kappa Phi Fraternities Placed on Interim Suspension Due to Hazing Allegations

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Cornell’s Phi Gamma Delta and Pi Kappa Phi fraternities have been placed on interim suspension following hazing allegations, the office of fraternities, sororities and independent living announced in a statement Tuesday.

Pi Kappa Phi was also placed on interim suspension following hazing allegations.

Michaela Brew / Sun News Photography Editor

Pi Kappa Phi was also placed on interim suspension following hazing allegations.

Pi Kappa Phi’s reported hazing included “intimidation, verbal abuse, harassment, alcohol consumption and calisthenics,” and Phi Gamma Delta’s incident allegedly involved the “consumption of alcohol,” according to the two statements.

Alcohol is prohibited from all recruitment and new member activities whether formal or informal, according to the University’s Recognition Policy.

Aside from operation of their residences, the fraternities have been suspended from all chapter activities, effective Tuesday, the statement said.

38 thoughts on “Cornell’s Phi Gamma Delta, Pi Kappa Phi Fraternities Placed on Interim Suspension Due to Hazing Allegations

  1. They can get suspended for that???? Laughable. Who are the pussies reporting these incidents as hazing? A Capella groups do worse….

  2. I was going to join a Fraternity next year, but the Greek system seems super soft. Maybe I’ll spend my leisure time legally shooting up heroin instead.

  3. This suspension is a joke! OFSIL is run by a bunch of pussies, some of which have in the past been willing to break rules and even the law in order to get fraternities in trouble. Sometimes, it seems as though they are determined to kick off at least one fraternity per semester in order to set an example. What a sad, pathetic, and immoral organization. The charges against these fraternities are absolutely pathetic and laughable.

  4. This is a disgrace. You can’t just walk into an organization and expect to be a fully accepted member. You have to earn membership, and just about everything is considered hazing these days.

  5. Oh the tears when you are told you can’t treat people like dirt in order to help them “earn membership”. You might need to be respectful and creative about building brotherhood.

    Also using pussies as a derogatory term, really? Do you dislike that part of the female body?

  6. While I believe that most of these comment are ill-constructed, especially with the use of gender slurs, I do not think that their points are ill-directed. The administration has taken too far of a hard stance on “hazing” for the sake of the media and publicity. For example, a scavenger hunt is now considered a form of harassment hazing which chapters are punished for. Asking associate members questions about the chapter and current brothers can be labeled as intimidation and verbal abuse. While I do not claim to know the exact circumstances of the alleged activities, I do tend to lean on the side of caution before passing judgement. The categories described can be misconstrued. Additionally, the actions of one individual out of 60-70 should not represent the beliefs or actions of an entire group of people. It isn’t so much of earning membership as constructively learning about the group that you are joining. Too many rituals and activities that are not physical or mentally harming are being mis-labeled as hazing, and the general atmosphere towards fraternities is separating people rather than bringing them together.

  7. The fraternity alumni donated considerable funds to endow positions in the Dean of Student’s Office to provide support and leadership for fraternities. The persons holding these jobs are supposed to provide guidance and positive reinforcement to make fraternities a net positive experience, recognizing the traditions and heritage of each separate fraternity and the need to build bonds between the existing members and the incoming ones. Whenever a fraternity is suspended, it is a mark of failure for both the student and for the Dean of Students professional staff. The staff should not be collecting notches on their belts when a fraternity is suspended, rather everyone should be asking what did the staff member(s) do wrong and how could this failure have been prevented.

  8. But you can’t hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn’t we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

    • Eric,

      You are not walking out on this one Mister. You are finished….no more Delta….you bought it this time, buster….I am calling your national office….I am going to revoke your charter….and if you wiseguys try one more thing, one more….I am going to kick you out of this college.

      • When al of you get into the real world and learn some behavioral techniques and skills on how to motivate individuals and team bonding you will quickly see how barbaric and small minded the hazing of pledges has become. It is a group think and creates a form of brainwashing that anything goes for the sake of the brotherhood. Try Business school, even military training and team sports as positive models for team building, building trust and brotherhood. I don’t expect those currently in the Frats to understand as the frontal lobes of your brains are not fully formed until age 25.

  9. I’m not anti-Greek, just anti-stupid. Pi Kapp and FIJI absolutely should be removed from campus. True brothers don’t haze pledges. Rather, gentlemen constructively build brotherhood by inclusion. There is no excuse for intimidation, verbal abuse, forced consumption of alcohol, or calisthenics, and if anyone says otherwise, they advocate for a system which promotes abuse. This is absolutely inexcusable.

    As more fraternities are found guilty of hazing and abuse, more will go away, leaving only the fraternities left who really do care about promoting inclusive brotherhood. Do the right thing, Cornell, and permanently remove Pi Kapp and FIJI, just as you should do with Psi U, Lambda, DU, Sig Pi, and all the other fraternities who you’ll inevitably find out do, in fact, haze.

    • I might be falling into a Poe’s Law trap here, but I am going to go ahead anyway.

      Your argument is incredibly poorly constructed. All you do is try and classify a set of actions as hazing, and then rely on the reader to instinctively believe hazing is bad. You never defined hazing, or at least explained why you feel these things constitute hazing. You just shouted that they are inexcusable and abuse, two more claims you failed to even attempt to prove.

      Yes, Cornell may classify these acts as hazing, but hopefully you aren’t some sheep that just looks at authority for answers whenever presented with a dilemma. Cornell’s definition of hazing is ridiculous. Using their definition, professor’s haze students every day. You can call them hazing all you want, but you have to judge the actions on their own merits. You might find it ridiculous that someone has to do push ups to join a group. But if you aren’t being forced to join that group, than why do you care?

      I would agree forced alcohol consumption is wrong, but no where in this article is it indicated that any forced alcohol consumption occurred. They just claimed that alcohol consumption did occur. And yes, there are most definitely excuses for intimidation, verbal abuse, and calisthenics. Intimidation is incredibly useful in a competitive environment. You would never see a sports team actively avoid intimidating their opponents on some moral ground. Verbal abuse has no place? Is there really no one you think should be verbally abused? Everyone’s definition of verbal abuse will vary, but using any definition you would have to believe verbal abuse would be appropriate for at least the worst of our society. And calisthenics? Really? There’s no excuse for calisthenics?

      As tempting as it is to loudly proclaim that no one should haze, defining hazing can be difficult. When you broaden the definition as greatly as you did, it is hard to prove hazing is inherently bad. And it would be hard for any fraternity to get the necessary results from pledging that they need (there are goals beyond bonding) without “hazing”. If you want to outlaw hazing you would need to be more specific. Personally, I would base a definition of hazing around physical or mental harm. But if you do that, the above actions have a harder time being classified as such.

      As for being “provocative”, standing on a soap box and yelling hazing is bad, is one of the least original and provocative thoughts I have ever heard.

  10. Here’s the thing, Sunshine: all of those things I described do produce physical and mental harm, and it is absolutely unreasonable for someone joining an on-campus organization to be forced to do things which would increase the odds of this occurring. There’s my ideological bias against hazing of any kind.

    Now, let’s take a look at the law. It might surprise you to learn that hazing is against the law. Physical injury includes forced alcohol consumption and calisthenics, so in that regard, both FIJI and Pi Kapp are guilty of either hazing in the first or second degree, and whoever was in charge of those events should be prosecuted. Mental distress is far harder to pinpoint, but if you use common sense, being forced to endure abuse of any kind as a barrier for initiation into a fraternity is inherently dangerous and should also be illegal. Unfortunately, it’s not, but the Campus Code of Conduct specifically forbids it. Therefore, Pi Kapp and FIJI are both breaking the Code of Conduct. I shouldn’t have to explain why yelling at someone, demeaning them, insulting them, intimidating them, forcing them to drink alcohol, and forcing them to do physical activities is wrong, and if I do, then I’m speaking to an irrational person.

    Sunshine, if you still have points to make about the validity of hazing, go right ahead and espouse them. You’ll be hard pressed to find a majority of people that agree with you on those points. It’s almost like you’re one of them.

    • So a big point of contention between us is how we interpret the phrase, ““intimidation, verbal abuse, harassment, alcohol consumption and calisthenics,”. I am certainly never going defend any organization that forces someone to consume alcohol. But that is not what the charges said. It also never said they were demeaned or insulted. As for the other charges we seem to be viewing them differently. I do not immediately hear the phrase verbal abuse and assume that means people are being emotionally scarred. My assumption is that the pledges just got yelled at. If being yelled at causes someone mental harm than that person is far too fragile to be attending college. Everyone has been yelled at during their life, you should know how to deal with it. Maybe what they did went beyond that and is closer to how you interpreted the charges. Without more details we won’t know. Those same things could be said for intimidation. Calisthenics is equally ambiguous. There is obviously a line where physical activity goes beyond unpleasant and becomes dangerous. My assumption is that it was closer to unpleasant, and again I could be wrong. If simply being unpleasant is unacceptable, than Cornell’s Phys Ed courses need to reevaluated. But likely very few people felt hazed by having to take a swim test, so it seems unreasonable to get outraged over calisthenics. So to clarify the issue, knowing Cornell’s policies and reading these charges, it does not appear to me that mental or physical harm is occurring. If, after finding new information that harm was occurring, I would not be defending these fraternities. But on the flip side, if harm was not occurring than this would no longer violate New York State Law. It would still violate the code of conduct, but as I hope I have made clear, the code’s policies do not make much sense to me.

      I am not trying to argue for the validity of hazing. I am arguing against the validity of hazing as a term. I mentioned this in my first post about how to define hazing. My issue with the term is that it is so broadly used that has failed to retain any meaning. NFL rookies being forced to carry veterans equipment is called hazing. People dying from being forced to drink too much is also called hazing. Classifying all these things together is certainly very easy, and allows you to easily villainize large swaths of people and make sweeping moral statements, but the reality is harder to distinguish. In my mind the various things referring to as hazing frequently have little in common. It was your first post’s overly broad use of hazing that motivated me to respond.

      I do however feel organizations have the right to have initiation processes. They are private organizations whose members all joined voluntarily. No one is forced to do anything. But frequently hazing is recklessly tossed around to try and eliminate such processes. Say for instance a pledge class is tasked with setting up an event. A useful educational process that teaches pledges functional aspects of life in a fraternity. But one of the pledges blows it off because he doesn’t feel like it. Is anyone allowed to confront him, dare I say yell? Or does that count as verbal abuse?

      While I do think we should respect people’s choice to pledge, there is obviously a limit. Pledges place a great deal of trust in the brothers that the things they are doing are safe. If that trust is broken than of course that fraternity should be punished. But it is not clear that that trust was broken in these instances.

      A couple other things. Do you actually think I am surprised that New York State has hazing laws? More likely you were just copying rote phrasing in order to be condescending. And secondly I am fully aware I am in the minority on this issue. Maybe you can explain why not having the majority view invalidates opinions.

      • This is the most important thing I have read today. Thank you for laying out a structured argument about why this whole system is messed up.

      • There we go. What people are overlooking entirely here is that these are allegations that are not confirmed. Moreover, this article is devoid of any detail about where/when the fraternities were caught under suspicion, most notably in the case of Fiji. Fiji’s hazing allegation is reported as an “incident ‘reportedly involving alcohol’.” That could mean just about anything. It would make perfect sense for the pledges to have been invited to the house to drink with a few brothers and it would even make sense for the pledges to have organized the event themselves to just hang out and drink with each other. People are jumping to rash conclusions all over the place, the university included to an extent. People are adopting a “guilty until proven innocent” mentality and it’s troubling.

        • You forget that drinking under the age of 21 is illegal. So while you might find it perfectly normal it is illegal. So are you advocating that these fraternities break the law?

          • Not condoning it, rather I just feel that this is prematurely bringing negative attention without any detail to warrant the publishing of the article. Leetch2 summed up my thoughts better than I could below.

  11. The fundamental flaws in OFSIL’s overuse of interim suspensions are obvious. Keep in mind Cornell is an educational institution.

    1. Before any investigation or finding of fact (complainants do lie), Cornell has blasted this worldwide with its press release. No one will remember if the investigation uncovers no evidence of hazing. How is that educational?

    2. If the allegedly improper behavior has stopped, what’s the basis for a suspension? No one is at risk.

    This is institutional bullying.

    • #1 was a non-issue before this was covered by the Daily Sun. There’s so little detail about what the university is actually looking into that people are taking that little information and turning it into something that it’s not. While nothing in this article is factually incorrect, the Daily Sun has tarnished the reputation of both Fiji and Pi Kapp. Whether this is justified remains to be seen, but if either is proven innocent, there needs to be some kind of compensation or apology from both the university and the Daily Sun. People are rushing to conclusions and are branding both fraternities as guilty even though there could be an overwhelming amount of evidence to prove otherwise.

  12. The presence of alcohol does not always equate to hazing, but universities (including CU) absolutely treat it that way.

    I think few people–alumni, parents, professors, townies (said it)–understand that the presence, not just the consumption, of alcohol is now strictly forbidden from any kind of intake process for fraternities and sororities, including recruitment and pledging. It’s treated as a hazing violation.

    Fiji could have required that pledges chug from a handle of liquor, or a senior could have been drinking a beer at the back of a weekly meeting. One is clearly out of bounds, the other completely unremarkable. Alternatively, the older guys could have pitched in for beers and invited (instead of compelled) new members to hang-out and get to know each other, yes, over drinks. Perhaps that’s still acceptable, perhaps society has evolved. No matter, all roads lead to “hazing,” and that’s the way the University will broadcast it. If pledges are there, it’s a white-washed violation.

    Forced alcohol consumption is old-school at this point. In the late 2000s we were still getting over this, so I these groups have grown up. That said, it’s sad that a young guy/gal can’t have a beer with an older Greek classmate even in a casual setting. I wish we had bigger problems to solve, but I guess we can focus on the undergraduate prohibition thing for now.

    Anyone up for flip-cup / pong at reunion?

    • “Alternatively, the older guys could have pitched in for beers and invited (instead of compelled) new members to hang-out and get to know each other, yes, over drinks.”

      It’s almost as if nobody believes this can happen these days. I’m sure something like what you described happened or maybe it was even the pledges’ idea to go to the house and drink for fun. Regardless of what happened, there’s so little information from this article to gain an understanding of the situation that it almost seems like the university is actively looking to make an example out of someone. Not anywhere does it say if someone was caught with alcohol in his hands, if anyone was unconscious, if anyone reported something to the police, absolutely nothing. This is an institutional problem that a fraternity was suspended before there was a sufficient amount of evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was *forced* excessive alcohol consumption. Even if the person was drunk and had been drinking at the house, how can you jump to the conclusion that it was forced? This whole thing has been blown completely out of proportion.

  13. This article provides nothing of substance, like most of the articles that provide information about Greek punishments. This has been going on for years and serves no purpose except to draw unneeded and unwanted attention to these houses. “Journalism” at its finest.

  14. Eric,

    You are not walking out on this one Mister. You are finished….no more Delta….you bought it this time, buster….I am calling your national office….I am going to revoke your charter….and if you wiseguys try one more thing, one more….I am going to kick you out of this college.

  15. to me the amazing thing is they just busted 2 frats for alcohol when Many of them serve alcohol to freshman throughout rush week at frat-sponsored “annexes”

  16. Fiji was acquitted of its hazing charges. Looking forward to reading the article covering those news. It’ll probably focus on the negatives of the decision and Greek life in general, as per usual.

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