- Fraternal Law Conference November 5-6, 2010
- SIX SORORITY MEMBERS AT RUTGERS ARRESTED FOR HAZING
- UPDATE ON BERKELEY ZONING CASE
- SIGMA CHI CHAPTER AT ARIZONA STATE SUED
- SUIT AGAINST AKA, INDIVIDUALS DISMISSED; APPEAL FILED
- CENSUS BUREAU STARTS COUNTING
- FRATERNITY AND SORORITY COALITION ASSESSMENT PROJECT
Newsletter > March 2010 > "SIX SORORITY MEMBERS AT RUTGERS ARRESTED FOR HAZING"
SIX SORORITY MEMBERS AT RUTGERS ARRESTED FOR HAZING
Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke
Six members of the Sigma Gamma Rho chapter at Rutgers University were arrested and charged with aggravated hazing in January. According to published reports, members of the chapter beat and belittled pledges for a period of eight days in an off-campus dorm. After enduring the hazing for over a week, and no longer able to sit down because of welts and clots on her buttocks, one of the pledges finally went to the hospital and reported the hazing to the university.
Rutgers police quickly arrested Vanessa Adegbite, Kesha Cheron, Ilana Warner, Joana Bernard, Marie Douglass and Shawna Ebanks and charged them with aggravated hazing. New Jersey law provides that, “[a] person is guilty of hazing, a disorderly persons offense, if, in connection with initiation of applicants to or members of a student or fraternal organization, he knowingly or recklessly organizes, promotes, facilitates or engages in any conduct, other than competitive athletic events, which places or may place another person in danger of bodily injury.”1 The possible punishment for hazing carries the possibility of imprisonment of up to six months and a fine of up to $1,000.
However, if the hazing “results in serious bodily injury to another person,” the crime increases from a disorderly persons offense to a crime in the fourth degree. The possible punishment for a crime in the fourth degree is imprisonment of up to 18 months and a fine of up to $10,000.
The defendants in this case have all been charged with the elevated crime of aggravated hazing. The defendants have all denied the allegations and have pleaded not guilty to the charges and all are out on $1,000 bail.
Both the university and the Sigma Gamma Rho national organization suspended the chapter. Sigma Gamma Rho also issued a statement on the incident, with the headline “Sorority leadership reports alleged acts of hazing at Rutgers are against all organization guidelines.” Sigma Gamma Rho’s international president, Joann Loveless emphasized that, “hazing is illegal and barbaric and it will not be tolerated by Sigma Gamma Rho Inc.”
Look for updates in future editions of Fraternal Law as this case progresses.
1 NJ Crim. Statutes §2C:40-3.