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.
For the first time since assuming office, President Elizabeth Garrett met with the University Assembly Tuesday, emphasizing that she wants a University that promotes open dialogue but also has sensible rules of conduct. “We need to look at what we do regarding freedom of expression, but in such a way that we can have expression, association and constructive dialogue, while at the same time acknowledging that we’re a University,” Garrett said. “We are not about shouting, we’re about discussing.”
“Vigorous debate” needs to be balanced with the fact that the University’s goal is to promote regular learning and the fact that there are also faculty and staff on campus, Garrett said. Still, she emphasized her commitment to free speech. “You won’t find a bigger supporter of free speech than I am,” Garrett said.
In a special meeting on Saturday, the Interfraternity Council passed a set of resolutions that may fundamentally change the processes of recruitment, pledging and open parties. With a quorum of just over half the chapter presidents, five main changes were voted into effect, the sixth being tabled until tomorrow’s meeting. Most changes will go into effect next semester.
“These are things that are long overdue,” said Eddie Rooker ’10, IFC president. “They are problems we’ve had in the past, especially with new member education. We are a self-governing system, so we have to tackle the problems.”
After a mass meeting of Cornell students on Oct. 17, 1901, the University decided to eliminate fraternity hazing for good. An article in The New York Times reported, “rushees attended by personal injuries have been frequent, and students have been taken by force to gatherings where they were made the sport of the throng. [Cornell] President Schurman regards the latter practice as interfering with the rights of the students, and says that the practice must be stopped.”