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Spring 2016

Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity (Interfraternity Council)

Description: On Feb. 12, 2016 two associate members of the fraternity were assessed by medical technicians at the request of Cornell Police, due to the student's observed level of intoxication. One associate member was found in his residence hall and admitted to police that he had consumed six shots of alcohol at the fraternity house. The second new member was found intoxicated at the fraternity house later that evening. He also admitted to police that he was drinking beer at the fraternity house.

Outcome: The Greek Judicial Board found the fraternity responsible for level 2 hazing; the presence of alcohol and associate members; the presence and use of liquor; and, giving alcohol to individuals under 21 years of age. As a result, the chapter was required to engage in anti-hazing and alcohol awareness programming approved by the Office of fraternities, Sororities and Independent Living and pay a fine of $5 per each chapter member, which is consistent with the 2012 Interfraternity Council Resolution pertaining to judicial fines for the presence of alcohol during new member education.

Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity (Interfraternity Council)

Description: On Feb. 22, 2016, two members and a former member planned and carried out a party for two associate members to celebrate the fraternity's big and little brother assignment, which took place earlier that evening, as a welcoming to the two new members of this particular big/little lineage. The party occurred at the off-campus apartment of the former member, where alcohol was present and the associate members were presented with inappropriate gifts and allowed to be placed in a personally compromising scenario.

Outcome: The Fraternity and Sorority Review Board found the fraternity responsible for hazing. Despite those directly involved in the celebration stating that the associate members were willing participants in all aspects of the night, the Fraternity leadership and the Review Board agreed that the upper-level students created the environment and atmosphere for the activities to take place, and through the sharing of hazing related stories, encouraged the associate members to engage in degrading and objectifying activities.
The fraternity conducted an internal investigation and found facts consistent with the fact finding presented to the Board. The Board supported the swift action taken by the fraternity to remove the two active members from the brotherhood, and the plan they crafted to address these issues going forward.

Due to the proactive approach and swift action taken on the part of the fraternity, the Review Board recommended that Pi Kappa Phi continue to operate, under Provisional Recognition Status until at least May, 2018. Additionally, the fraternity is to fulfill all aspects of the corrective plan presented, which includes a structured big/little celebration free of alcohol and other inappropriate activities. They are also to employ and place a live-in advisor in the house prior to the start of classes Fall 2016.

The three upper-level students were referred to the Judicial Administrator's Office for alleged violations of the Campus Code specific to Hazing.

Cayuga's Waiters (A Cappella Group)

Description: Throughout the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semesters, new members and non-senior members of the organization were subjected to systematic hazing activities, including, but not limited to actions such as requiring new members to: sit naked in an ice bath in a bathroom during an organization trip; apply Icy Hot to their genitals; and, race up and down a street and then consume foods. Additionally, the organization distributed and/or dispensed alcohol to underage members at multiple events over the course of the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semesters. While some members of the organization took positive steps to ameliorate some aspects of the hazing activities and reduce elements of hazing rituals in the Fall 2016 semester before the organization was temporarily suspended by the Office of the Judicial Administrator (OJA), there was no way to determine whether the new conditions instituted in Fall 2016 represented a significant change in culture, as the organization was temporarily suspended just two weeks into the semester. Through the investigation and adjudication process, the organization self-disclosed that hazing behaviors, including those more severe than listed above, had occurred for at least ten (10) years, which were outside of the time-frame jurisdiction of the Campus Code of Conduct (Code) [Code. Title Three Art. III, Sec. D.4. (Pg. 23, 2014)]. Moreover, the organization self-disclosed that the hazing, both within the time-frame jurisdiction of the Code and outside of the time-frame jurisdiction of the Code, included the involvement of alumni members of the organization returning to participate in the hazing of new members. After the organization was placed on temporary suspension in Fall 2016 during the investigation and attempted resolution phase, the organization exercised its right to have the entire matter heard by the University Hearing Board (UHB).

Outcomes:

Decision of the UHB : The UHB found the organization responsible for the following Code violations:

  • Code. Title Three, Art. III, Sec. A.1.f. (Pg. 16, 2014): To haze another person, regardless of the person's consent to participate. Hazing means an act that, as an explicit or implicit condition for initiation to, admission into, affiliation with, or continued membership in a group or organization, (1) could be seen by a reasonable person as endangering the physical health of an individual or as causing mental distress to an individual through, for example, humiliating, intimidating, or demeaning treatment, (2) destroys or removes public or private property, (3) involves the consumption of alcohol or drugs, or the consumption of other substances to excess, or (4) violates any University policy.
  • Code. Title Three, Art. II, Sec. A.1.f.1.l (Pg. 17, 2014): To prevent a person from leaving a location (including part of the location, such as one part of a room) or to force a person to go to a location against his or her will. This is a violation whether accomplished through physical or psychological means. 1
  • Code. Title Three, Art. II, Sec. A.1.f.3.b (Pg. 18, 2014): To unlawfully manufacture, distribute, dispense, possess, use, or sell alcohol. This includes, for example, providing alcohol to an individual who is under the age of 21, selling alcohol without a license, consuming alcohol while under the age of 21 or possessing alcohol with the intent to consume it while under the age of 21.

As a result of a finding of responsibility, the UHB levied a list of sanctions against the organization and lifted the temporary suspension. Members of the group immediately began to take actions in compliance with the sanctions.

Decision of the University Review Board (URB): After the decision of the UHB, both the organization and Office of the Judicial Administrator (OJA) exercised their rights to appeal the decision of the UHB to the URB. The basis for the OJA appeal was that the sanctions administered by the UHB were not commensurate with the violations for which the organization was found responsible. The URB agreed. The URB altered and modified the sanctions of the UHB, and permanently dismissed the organization based on a determination that the core charge of hazing was sufficiently met to warrant dismissal, even if certain arguments by the organization on appeal were credited. The dismissal took effect immediately.

Decision of the University President : After the decision of the URB, the organization exercised its right to appeal the decision of the URB to the University President; this level of appeal was available because the Code charges involved acts or threats of violence. [Code. Title Three, Art. III, Sec. F.2. (Pg. 32, 2014)]. The University President upheld the decision of the URB to permanently dismissed the organization, stating that:

I agree with the UHB that the hazing violations in this case are "extremely serious," "dangerous and humiliating," and evidence of the organization "failing to meet the most minimum standards that we hold as a university community for relationships among students." This behavior has no place at Cornell, and I agree with the URB that dismissal of the organization is appropriate.

Additionally, seven upper-level students were referred to the OJA for individual violations under the Code related to actions completed while a member of the organization. Those matters have been resolved.




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