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Newsletter > June 2015 > "Penn State and Fraternity Sued"
Penn State and Fraternity Sued
Tim Burke, Manley Burke, email@example.com
Among the past academic year’s fraternity misconduct that made national headlines was the allegation that some members of the Kappa Delta Rho Chapter at Penn State University used a secret Facebook page(s) to share nude photos of unsuspecting and unconsenting women. In response, both the University and Kappa Delta Rho shut down the Penn State Chapter for three years. In a statement from Joseph Rosenberg, the National Executive Director of Kappa Delta Rho on June 8, 2015, it was also announced that 38 members of the Chapter have been expelled from the Fraternity.
But that hasn’t ended things. On that same day, James Vivenzio filed suit against Penn State, the National KDR Fraternity, its Penn State Chapter and the Penn State Interfraternity Council, and rather curiously, the Panhellenic Association. The suit alleges Vivenzio was a whistleblower who had been badly hazed during his association with the fraternity. It also claims that in the spring of 2014, Vivenzio reported both the hazing and the Facebook pages and sexual misconduct and sexual assault taking place at the fraternity to “a senior investigator from Penn State’s Office of Student Conduct.”
Allegations include that extensive mental and physical hazing, forced consumption of alcohol, consuming disgusting mixtures of ingredients, physical battery, cigarette burns, confiscating cafeteria food plan funds and mental hazing, including racial and ethnic slurs, led Vivenzio to withdraw from school after his freshman year. The complaint reports Vivenzio required medical and psychological treatment for post-traumatic stress, anxiety disorder, alcohol abuse disorder and mental anguish and distress.
A Penn State spokesperson has acknowledged that Penn State sent its Director of the Office of Student Conduct to meet with Vivenzio at his family home, but denies Vivenzio reported the Facebook pages and argues that Vivenzio declined to pursue the college’s disciplinary process or talk with State College police.
In an unusual move, the attorney representing Vivenzio, Aaron Freiwald of Philadelphia, where the lawsuit was filed, has created a web page End Hazing Now! containing “The Latest Developments in the Penn State Kappa Delta Rho Hazing Case.” (www.endhazingnow.com/media.) The complaint and numerous other documents relating to this dispute, as well as hazing generally, can be found on that site.