Correction: The Daily Sun received a comment from the fraternity after the time of publication, and the article has be edited to accurately include their stance on the situation.
Based on reports that the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity blindfolded new members and repeatedly took away their cell phones for extended periods of time, the University has found the fraternity guilty of hazing and has placed it on probationary status, according to a University report.
While AGR remains on probation, the report states that full withdrawal of the University’s recognition will be deferred until fall 2021 because of the fraternity’s “lack of any recent judicial history” and its cooperation with the investigation, among other factors.
During this period, Alpha Gamma Rho will be given the opportunity to demonstrate cooperation with University policies and “educational sanctions.”
If the chapter is found to be noncompliant with the University’s full recognition policies by fall 2021, the University will withdraw recognition for at least three years.
In early March, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life received a hazing report. A subsequent investigation by the Fraternity and Sorority Chapter Review Board found that members of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity had engaged in a number of behaviors that the University considers to be hazing.
The allegations included requiring new members to live in the chapter house for a week, repeatedly taking away their cell phones — sometimes for a whole weekend — and blindfolding new members as part of their national fraternity rituals. The University specified in its report that chapter leadership were aware that blindfolds are prohibited by Cornell.
In one instance, new members — who were made to spend the night at the house — were woken up at 5 a.m. and made to listen to the same song for four hours. They were required to play “air instruments” and make “repeated hand gestures” to the song, according to the report, which classified these behaviors as hazing.
As a result of the findings of the investigation, the University found the fraternity to be in violation of its policies for recognition, and decided to place the fraternity on probation until fall 2021, at which point the fraternity’s status will be reevaluated.
When asked for a comment on the issue, the fraternity responded saying, “we are committed to ensuring that the membership programs of Alpha Gamma Rho are in compliance with all University regulations and we will be working closely with the university to build on revisions we made over the summer. We have a very talented group of young members that will carry the house forward in a positive direction and help ensure the changes we’ve made will continue for many years.”
The report also noted that “consistent with established practice,” the matter was referred to the Office of the Judicial Administrator.