The Phi Gamma Delta fraternity was placed on interim suspension by the University on Feb. 23.

Michaela Brew / Sun Sports Photography Editor

The Phi Gamma Delta fraternity was placed on interim suspension by the University on Feb. 23.

February 26, 2016

Cornell Administrator Reveals Seven Hazing Investigations Underway This Month

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Correction appended

The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life has opened seven active hazing investigations this month, Travis Apgar, senior associate dean of students, wrote in an email to the Interfraternity Council Thursday.

Phi Gamma Delta and Pi Kappa Phi fraternities were placed on interim suspension Tuesday following multiple reports of hazing. The incidents included “intimidation, verbal abuse, harassment, alcohol consumption and calisthenics,” the University announced in a statement.

Apgar noted in the email that Thursday marked the five-year anniversary of Cornell student George Desdunes’ ’13 death from a hazing incident during the induction of pledges at Sigma Alpha Epsilon in 2011.

“I implore you to step up and to make sure your chapter is following the approved new member plan which included activities and experiences which honor the values of your chapter, and treat all members and new members with respect and dignity,” Apgar wrote in the email.

With the initiation deadline approaching this Sunday, Apgar cautioned all chapters to abide by the approved new member plan and welcome all new members on time.

“We need to work together to rid our groups of hazing altogether,” Apgar said. “Every student here deserves to be treated with respect, every fraternity and sorority stands for honorable principles, be sure your group is living up to it all.”

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the Tri-Council had opened the hazing investigations. In fact, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life has. 

  • Da

    Is this a crisis in the Greek System at Cornell ?

  • Outrage Journalist Alumnus

    I am outraged by the way the poor journalism displayed in this article. It implies that Pi Kappa Phi and Phi Gamma Delta have received multiple reports when in fact there was only one allegation respectively. Additionally, the specifics attributed to both incidents were in fact different for each house rather than the same. By stating only two houses and mentioning five others, the article directs the backlash again the heinous crime of hazing against two alleged committing organizations. The Cornell Sun is slandering both fraternities by taking a guilty until proven innocent rather than innocent until proven guilty approach. The paper has placed FIJI’s house photo on the front page twice in the past two days while stating no new relevant information. This article is a classic example of Cornell’s institutional war against the Greek system and should be removed and rewritten.

    • Outraged Freshman Parent

      To be clear, “Amen” was in support of the spot-on post by Outrage Journalist Alumnus

    • Reality Check

      The photo is not the only problem with this article. George Desdunes was not a pledge at the time of his death. He was already an SAE brother. He died after both brothers and pledges failed to act on obvious over-consumption of alcohol.

  • Outraged Freshman Parent


  • Leetch

    These investigations don’t necessarily have to be against IFC fraternities either. Panhel and MCGC can also “haze” too. Of course, this article is vague as heck and does nothing except draw attention to a chapter currently within the throngs of Cornell’s kangaroo courts.

  • Dan

    Sorry Josephine, I have to agree. Very poor journalism demonstrated here.

  • Disappointed Sun Alum

    This “article” is essentially nothing but Mr. Apgar’s letter paraphrased and quoted, with no offering of further background or distinct perspectives. You would’ve saved a lot of time (yours and ours) had you simply published the letter verbatim.

    Please don’t let allow the Sun’s famous “Independent Since 1880” tagine be replaced by “Independent 1880-2015”.

    • Increasingly Outraged Reader

      Agreed. All these articles have accomplished is to create more student theories around campus as to what happened and which fraternities are under investigation, complaints under the comment section of each article, and to bring unwanted and arguably unwarranted negative attention to any named fraternities, particularly Fiji, which has now had a photo of its house on both articles.

  • Set up for Failure

    calisthenics- gymnastic exercises to achieve bodily fitness and grace of movement. Since when is getting exercise a form of hazing? Goes to show how soft the administration is and how they are just looking to eliminate greek life from the campus

  • Increasingly Outraged Reader

    Why was this article published before more details were released? By listing only Phi Gamma Delta and Pi Kappa Phi as the only named fraternities of the seven, all this article accomplished was to further slander the two fraternities. Additionally, in the first article, the fraternities’ alleged violations that were investigated were listed by fraternity. In this article, you grouped them together, implying that both fraternities are being punished for the same reasons. This is misleading and incredibly poor journalism. This needs to stop.

  • Steven Guilden

    They gonna whitewash every single case. Just watch. Rapists can continue raping at Cornell.

  • GDI

    What exactly is the purpose of the Greek system in concrete terms? Arranging partying, hookups, good old boys networking, access to otherwise unobtainable studying resources, and maybe an annual half-assed charity event for PR? It seems like Cornell is opposed to what frats are all about. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

  • J R

    Fraternities: young males with power over even younger males (see Stanford Prison Experiment).

    Frats are for weak men, on average, and promote extreme division, on average.

    Look at the commentary on . This is pathetic. A bunch of kids from rich families acting hard in artificial social situations, competing over positions on a ladder and attention from equally-vapid females from the sororities. Every now and then one acts as if their status and (I hate to use this word) privilege extended to the rest of the world, and you end up with the rape that happened a few weeks ago.

    Here’s a hint from an older male, kids: true friendship and brotherhood isn’t predicated on humiliation.

  • R B Hoffman

    I assume The Sun was unable to discover the identity of the other five houses at this time, otherwise I would expect that they would be identified in the article. If the fraternity dean was concerned enough to write to the IFC, there was likely good reason. The Dean of Students office has historically supported fraternities and has tended to go against them only when becoming aware of extremely serious infractions of the rules.

  • Have we learned nothing from the discredited Duke Lacrosse and UVA Jackie allegations which so many on the Politically Correct Left quickly seized on as truth because it fit so well with their preconceived biases? It seems as though well respected Universities are not immune, and quite possibly are more susceptible, to the dangerous tendency to accept as truth charges which those in authority level. Seven investigations, has hazing suddenly spread life wildfire in the Cornell community? or has the Administration read the political tea leaves correctly and sought violations to confirm their stereotypical model for Greek life today, opportunities made more easily available with the rise of social media. By way of example, it is not surprising that any Administration which would tolerate the miserable state of Cornell football, and increasingly basketball, would label “calisthenics”a flavor of “abuse”. I would hope that enlightened Universities such as Cornell would remember that not only is “withholding judgement a virtue” as F Scott Fitzgerald famously said, but in these case a necessity.

  • Cornell Alum ’08

    I have been a long time supporter of the Cornell Daily Sun, however this article makes me question the journalistic quality of this news source. This is an article that impressively fails to remove bias and fails to present only the factual information. In my time at Cornell I did not participate in the Greek System, but it is notions like the one in this article that will unjustly taint the image of those who have.

    You cannot announce that seven fraternities are under investigation and precede to only name two, regardless if the accusations are correct or not. I am deeply disappointed by the position of this article and I hope to see the Cornell Daily Sun move away from this kind of unprofessional and amateur reporting. If there is an issue, it must be presented and written in a whole, unbiased, and factual manner.