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Newsletter > November 2016 > "Three Sentenced to Jail for Hazing"
Three Sentenced to Jail for Hazing
Tim Burke, Manley Burke, email@example.com
The September 29, 2016 Roanoke Times reported that of the six members of Sigma Alpha Kappa who had been criminally charged in connection with the alcohol-related death of Michael Anthony Walker, a student at Ferrum College, charges were dismissed against three, while the other three received short jail sentences.
This spring, public safety officers responding to a call for assistance were reported to have found Walker in an unresponsive state. He was taken to the hospital where he died a week later. According to the newspaper, the medical examiner reported that Walker “suffered an anoxic brain injury attributed to acute ethanol toxicity … an injury to his brain because of lack of oxygen, which was a result of alcohol consumption.”
All six faced charges related to the providing of alcohol to minors and hazing. Three of those were officers of the fraternity. They chose to go to trial and the court ultimately dismissed the cases against them, one of whom had apparently not even been at the party where the drinking occurred. The other three, including the President of the Chapter and the Pledgemaster, accepted a negotiated plea deal which included short jail stays for each of them. The Pledgemaster will serve five days; the Chapter President four days; and a third member 30 days. Under the court’s decision, if after a year the three defendants have kept their records clean, the charges against them could be dismissed. Each of the three convicted defendants will also have to perform 30 hours of community service. According to a September 30, 2016 report on WDBJ7-TV News’ website, the Sigma Alpha Kappa Chapter at Ferrum has been disbanded.
Earlier in the year, Ferrum College took action to punish all of the members of the Chapter with fines of up to $1,000, and banned some of them from being on the Ferrum campus for up to seven years under threat of trespassing charges being filed against them. Members of the Ferrum Chapter were also required to perform 100 hours each of community service. The fine and threat of trespass was even imposed on the Vice President of the Chapter who was not in the State on the night of the party and had graduated by the time the College imposed its discipline.