Following an investigation into allegations of hazing, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette has suspended the Zeta Xi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc. for three years. This suspension comes soon after another fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha, was also suspended for hazing.
Senior Communications Representative Eric Maron shared further details on the incident in a statement to The Vermilion.
“The reported incident occurred during the Spring 2022 semester. Allegations included sleep deprivation, paddling and Code of Conduct violations,” Maron wrote. “Because hazing violates both University policy and state law, the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and ULPD investigated the allegations. UL Lafayette has a zero-tolerance policy for hazing and takes allegations and incidents of hazing seriously. The University provides hazing prevention resources and training and encourages anyone to report suspected hazing by visiting this website.”
Dr. Gregory Zerangue, Senior Associate Dean of Students, shared in a written statement to The Vermilion that the university takes hazing seriously, and encouraged students to take the annual one-hour hazing training module that can be registered for at https://louisiana.prevent.zone/.
“We take Hazing very seriously and hold those in violation accountable, we are disappointed that the Zeta Xi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. are in violation and will be suspended as an organization from campus for 3 years,” Zerangue said. “We encourage all students and specifically those who are members of organizations to take the Annual Hazing Training.”
Zerangue asked that students report any incidents of hazing to the appropriate office, or in any way they feel comfortable with.
“We encourage all students to report incidents of Hazing to the Dean of Students Office, the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, The office of Student Engagement and leadership or any other avenue they feel comfortable with, the most important thing is to report it and let the appropriate Office look into it, or visit the website https://studentaffairs.louisiana.edu/anti-hazing to report we all share a responsibility to keep our students and campus safe!” Zerangue wrote.
Dr. Richard Travers, chapter advisor for Alpha Phi Alpha, declined to comment.
The Student Affairs Division’s section on the UL Lafayette website contains links to the university’s official hazing policy, hazing prevention resources, information about hazing allegations that have been made and a form to report hazing.
Louisiana has laws and penalties in place against hazing; a person who takes part in hazing that results in death, serious bodily injury or the victim’s blood alcohol level reaching at least .30 will face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Failure to give reasonable assistance to the victim if they suffer serious bodily harm can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and one year in prison, increased to $2,500 and five years in prison if the injury results in death. In all other cases, the penalty is a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in prison.
Organizations themselves are required to report hazing; knowingly allowing hazing can result in a fine of up to $10,000, and the university is required to expel or suspend students that haze others. The information of those who report hazing is protected and kept confidential.
“The identifying information of students who report violations of the Student Code of Conduct is protected from public disclosure,” the UL Lafayette’s website reads.
This recent incident is part of a long-prevalent hazing problem. Last year, Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge suspended their chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha after a hazing incident that resulted in two students being hospitalized.
On Sept. 7, The Advocate reported that Louisiana State University’s Interfraternity Council warned of the Louisiana Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi forming a rogue off-campus fraternity after their suspension for hazing.
Hank Nuwer, a professor of journalism at Franklin College who has covered hazing since 1978, found that there were one or more deaths from hazing every year from 1959 to 2021. According to The Economist, the biggest cause of hazing deaths is alcohol poisoning.
44 states have laws against hazing, but there is currently no federal law against it. Legislation has been introduced in Congress, such as the END ALL Hazing Act and the REACH Act in 2021. These would require institutions of higher education that participate in federal student-aid programs to prepare and post biannual reports on hazing by student organizations, disclose hazing incidents in an annual security report and implement a comprehensive hazing-prevention program. As of writing, however, neither of these bills have passed into federal law.