UNITED STATES NEWS

University of Maryland lifts suspension on most fraternities and sororities amid hazing probe

Mar 15, 2024, 5:39 PM

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The University of Maryland has lifted its suspension of most fraternities and sororities after an investigation into hazing and alcohol-related activities, the university said Friday, though five chapters will remain under investigation and continue to be subject to limited restrictions on activities.

Court filings made public Friday included reports of forced heavy drinking, beatings with a paddle, burning with cigarettes and exposure to cold.

The university, based in College Park, Maryland, announced on March 1 that it was suspending fraternity and sorority activities, citing allegations of misconduct. Events involving alcohol and recruitment activities were banned during the suspension.

“As a result of evidence suggesting involvement in hazing or other incidents that threatened the health and safety of our campus community, the University is continuing its investigation of five chapters through the Office of Student Conduct,” the university said in a statement. The university added that individual students will also be referred to the office for potential conduct violations.

This week, a group representing several fraternities filed a lawsuit against the university in federal court, seeking a restraining order against the ban. Attorneys for the four fraternities that sued did not immediately return a phone message, and an email seeking comment on the university’s announcement.

Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown’s office argued in court documents filed Friday that as a result of the university’s decision to lift the restrictions, the fraternities’ request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction is now moot and should be denied.

Brown’s office also argued that even if the court does not find that the issues are moot, it should deny the restraining order because the university has shown it was authorized under its student code of conduct to impose restrictions on some chapter activities while it investigated “serious and persistent allegations of hazing and alcohol abuse at multiple chapters which threatened the health and safety of its students.”

“Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that their interest in ‘collegiality and social involvement,’ which was not infringed upon, outweighs the University’s strong and compelling interests in maintaining public safety and preventing hazing,” Brown’s office argued in its filing.

The university announced that 32 chapters have been cleared to return to normal activities. That includes three of the four plaintiff chapters, Brown’s office said in a court filing, including Theta Chi, Alpha Sigma Phi and Alpha Tau Omega. As a result, the court filing said, there are no pending restrictions on their chapter activities.

The university has continued its investigation against one of the fraternities that sued based on serious allegations of hazing and alcohol abuse, the court filing said.

The university’s Office of Student Conduct received two referrals alleging conduct violations in February, in which a resident director reported that he found multiple prohibited substances and drug paraphernalia in a fraternity house, according to court records.

The office also received an anonymous report from a parent that their son was being subjected to harmful hazing by being required to stay outside in the cold for several hours, requiring a trip to the university health center for suspected hypothermia.

Later that month, the office received an anonymous email alleging multiple unidentified fraternities were hazing new members by beating them with a paddle, burning them with cigarettes and having them lay on nails, according to court records. They also were forced to consume live fish, chewing tobacco and urine, according to the documents.

The person who sent the anonymous email also reported personally experiencing being forced to attend a “Line Up,” where he was abused for “hours on end,” forced to wall sit, do push-ups, planks, and “be naked/in underwear for the purpose of public humiliation, and be physically assaulted,” according to court documents.

“At one of these events one individual passed out as they refused to provide us with water and forced us to drink straight vodka and they did nothing to help him, in fact they hit him in the face with a plastic bat and poured beer on him until he woke up,” the student wrote in the email.

A court hearing has been set for Monday. It was not immediately clear how the university’s action to clear most of the fraternities for normal activities would affect the lawsuit.

___

Associated Press writer Denise Lavoie contributed from Richmond, Virginia.

United States News

President Joe Biden speaks to the media as he arrives to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force B...

Associated Press

President Joe Biden says it was a ‘mistake’ to say he wanted to put a ‘bull’s-eye’ on Donald Trump

Biden told NBC News Monday that it was a “mistake” to put a “bull's-eye” on Trump, but argued that Trump's rhetoric was more incendiary.

42 minutes ago

Associated Press

Border arrests plunge 29% in June to the lowest of Biden’s presidency as asylum halt takes hold

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Arrests for illegally crossing the border from Mexico plunged 29% in June, the lowest month of Joe Biden’s presidency, according to figures released Monday that provide another window on the impact of a new rule to temporarily suspend asylum. Arrests totaled 83,536 in June, down from 117,901 in May to mark […]

52 minutes ago

FILE - People walk past May Hall, the main administrative building at Dickinson State University in...

Associated Press

President of Dickinson State University in North Dakota resigns after nursing faculty quit

DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) — The president of Dickinson State University in North Dakota announced his resignation on Monday, days after the school’s nursing faculty quit. In a video, Steve Easton announced his departure and acknowledged “turmoil between some in the faculty and the administration.” Seven faculty members resigned Wednesday, KFYR-TV reported. Former Assistant Professor of […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

FACT FOCUS: A look at false claims around the assassination attempt on former President Trump

The assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump, who is running for reelection, is fueling a range of false claims and conspiracy theories as authorities seek information about the 20-year-old shooter’s background and motive, how he obtained the AR-style rifle he fired at Trump and security at the venue that failed to stop the shooting. […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Christina Osborn and her children, Alexander Osborn and Bella Araiza, visit a makeshift memo...

Associated Press

Judge clears way for demolition of Texas church where 26 people were killed in 2017 shooting

FLORESVILLE, Texas (AP) — A judge on Monday cleared the way for the demolition of the small Texas church in Sutherland Springs where a gunman killed more than two dozen worshippers in 2017 in what remains the deadliest church shooting in U.S. history. Following the shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, the church […]

1 hour ago

RNC Chair Michael Whatley speaks during the Republican National Convention Monday, July 15, 2024, i...

Associated Press

Outside RNC, conservative group defends its Project 2025 guidebook as Democrats ramp up attacks

MILWAUKEE (AP) — At the edge of the cordoned-off perimeter around the Republican National Convention on Monday, hundreds of conservatives filed into the ornate home of the Milwaukee Symphony to hear a parade of luminaries talk policy and Project 2025. Project 2025 is the term for the Heritage Foundation’s nearly 1,000-page handbook for the next […]

2 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

University of Maryland lifts suspension on most fraternities and sororities amid hazing probe