Hazing is against Ohio University policy, and the university investigates and responds to all reports. 

OU Policy 23.010 was put into effect on February 23, 2017, to “articulate the university’s anti-hazing position and the process related to reporting and investigating incidents of hazing and power-based violence,” University Spokeswoman Carly Leatherwood said. 

According to the policy, hazing has a variety of definitions.

Any activity which threatens the mental, emotional or physical health or safety of a student in order to initiate or admit them into any student organization or group regardless of personal consent to participate is considered hazing.

Physically beating, whipping, branding, paddling, forcing someone to exercise or exposing them to the elements falls into this category, too.

Hazing is also defined as pushing someone to consume food, alcoholic beverages, liquids, drugs or any other substance that may potentially be harmful.

If any event is intended to cause stress — such as sleep deprivation, constraint to a small space, transportation or abandonment, forced separation from social contact or any activity that could result in an embarrassment, humiliation or harassment — as defined in the Student Code of Conduct, is a form of hazing. 

All coerced activities that violate local, state or federal laws or university policies or rules and acts of sexual misconduct, relationship violence or stalking, as defined by Policy 03.004, are also considered acts of hazing.

Any individual, organization or group that commits acts of hazing may be susceptible to “reprimand, disciplinary probation, suspension and expulsion,” according to the policy. 

All hazing allegation investigations are conducted by OU’s Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility, and other university offices may handle other aspects, according to the policy. If any charge is made against a group or organization, they are notified and criminal investigations are handled by the appropriate law enforcement agency.

CSSR receives any complaints or reports of hazing, and if the report involved criminal conduct, the office will notify law enforcement. The office recently said criminal conduct was not found in the initial eight allegations. If the report involves allegations of sexual misconduct, then Policy 03.004 applies. 

To file a report, CSSR accepts walk-ins, fax, phone calls, emails and mail. Anonymous complaints are accepted, but the university’s ability to investigate this type of report may be limited due to the potential compromise of obtaining additional information.

A new website has been created by the university to create transparency about the recent hazing allegations and reports.

“[The website] lists student organizations and/or University-sanctioned groups that are currently under review for alleged behavior that may be in violation of Ohio University’s Student Code of Conduct,” Leatherwood said in an email. 

The fraternities that have received hazing allegations are ACACIA, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Beta Theta Pi, Delta Tau Delta, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Kappa Psi, Sigma Chi and Theta Chi. Three sororities, Delta Zeta, Chi Omega and Pi Beta Phi, the professional fraternity Phi Chi Theta, the Marching 110 is also suspended.

Leatherwood said information cannot be released regarding the recent allegations that have been reported in order to “maintain the integrity of our administrative investigatory process.”

@TF_Johnston

tj369915@ohio.edu