Newsletter > March 2002 > "IN THE HEADLINES"
IN THE HEADLINES
As this issue of Fraternal Law goes to press, a trial is scheduled to begin in Harrisonburg, Virginia of two James Madison University students. The members of SAE are charged with six counts of hazing. Virginia is now one of some 42 states with anti-hazing laws. Virginia’s law contains the unique provision that students convicted of violating it must be expelled from school. The students are challenging the statute, arguing that it is vague and, therefore, unconstitutional.
The Herald Times of Bloomington, Indiana, reported on February 6th that the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Chapter at Indiana University became the fifth IU Chapter to face serious disciplinary matters related to alcohol and/or hazing incidents in the past year. According to the paper, University police seized nearly 1,000 cans of beer in the Chapter House and arrested the fraternity president and four others. After admitting police to the house, the chapter president refused to allow them into the kitchen saying that the door was locked and he did not have a key. Ultimately, the fire department was called to force the door open. The beer was in the kitchen. The chapter president has been charged with furnishing alcohol to minors and may also be charged with failure to cooperate with police. The National SAE has placed the chapter on suspension.
Black Issues in Higher Education reports that in Tennessee, a lawsuit has been filed seeking $15,000,000 in damages against the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity in the death of a Tennessee State University pledge. Joseph T. Green died after collapsing during a physical workout that the suit claims was part of initiation activities. The suit also names as defendants two fraternity members who were allegedly in charge of the initiation process. While no criminal charges were filed in the death of Mr. Green, Tennessee State suspended the Omega Psi Phi Chapter for five years. The University previously suspended the Chapter for five years following the 1983 death of a fraternity member from alcohol poisoning after an initiation party.
On February 12th, the body of Benjamin Klein, a junior business major at Alfred University, was found dead in a creek behind the Zeta Beta Tau House. While the cause of death is unknown at this time, Klein had facial injuries from a beating that led to the suspension of two members of the fraternity and the suspension of the ZBT Chapter by the University. The University has pledged its cooperation with the police investigation and the chair of its Board of Trustees stated “Actions such as occurred last week call into question the future of the Greek system on our campus.”