Clemson University imposes 4-year suspension on fraternity for ‘chemical burn’ ritual, other hazing

Jul 25, 2023, 11:23 AM

A Clemson University fraternity has drawn a four-year suspension after an investigation found that new members were being initiated with rituals that involved salt-like materials that caused burns.

The second-largest university in South Carolina sanctioned the only chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho in the state last week, The Post & Courier reported. An independent probe stemming from a spring complaint had uncovered that new pledges also reportedly faced sleep deprivation. University documents mention ice water baths as another form of hazing.

The chapter accepted responsibility and mutually agreed to the penalty. Philip Sikes, a Clemson University spokesperson, said all student organizations are “held to high standards of behavior and expected to uphold those at all times.”

He added that the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life provides anti-hazing training and awareness to all chapters.

“As a University we take all allegations of hazing within our student organizations very seriously,” Sikes told The Associated Press.

The punishment is the latest meted out by Clemson University for Greek life violations. A four-year suspension began Fall 2021 for Pi Kappa Phi over “personal servitude by new members” and “morally degrading behavior,” according to university documents. Delta Tau Delta has been suspended since Fall 2020 after reports of similar incidents alongside underage alcohol provision.

The dangerous practices of exclusive young men’s social organizations spurred a national outcry in the fall of 2014 when 19-year-old Tucker Hipps fell to his death after walking along a narrow bridge railing on a morning run with his pledge class. A 2016 state law named after the late Clemson University student requires that most four-year public institutions keep public records of fraternity and sorority misconduct.

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Clemson University imposes 4-year suspension on fraternity for ‘chemical burn’ ritual, other hazing