2017-18 Academic Year
Below are the reports of Cornell hazing violations that occurred during the indicated academic year. To read the details, simply click on the name of the group, team, or organization below and open the corresponding report.
No groups, teams, or organizations were found in violation during this semester.
The Office of the Judicial Administrator (OJA) received an incident report alleging hazing activities in December 2017 by the Big Red Band, a University-Registered Organization subject to jurisdiction under the Campus Code of Conduct. An investigation by the OJA found that as part of a leadership transition practice, an incoming instrument section leader consumed a shot of bar-b-que sauce to demonstrate devotion to the section; the investigation found that in past years, other condiments were used.
Pursuant to a Summary Decision Agreement (SDA), reached by agreement between the Big Red Marching Band and the University in lieu of proceeding to a hearing, a resolution of Responsible was entered for the following prohibited conduct as set forth in the Code:
f. 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.
The organization received a Written Reprimand and was required to create a Leadership Transition Guide that articulates the expectations, procedures, and timeframes for elections for leadership positions within the Big Red Marching Band, which will be distributed to all leadership within the Big Red Marching Band, as well as members transitioning into a leadership role. The sanction required that the organization’s executive board develop this guide collaboratively with the organization’s current advisor, a member of the OJA, and the Director of Campus Activities. Additionally, this matter was referred to the Office of the Judicial Administrator to pursue individual accountability for member(s).
The Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life received reports that hazing involving Delta Phi fraternity occurred in February, 2018. An investigation found that brothers of Delta Phi had engaged in hazing of new members which included the following behaviors:
- Forced consumption of alcohol, including “boat races,” a drinking challenge between two teams (members versus new members), in which the new members were always the losing team. Each losing team was made to participate in another “boat race.”
- Presence of alcohol, repeatedly, during new member activities.
- “Line ups” at which new members were asked questions of a demeaning and intimidating nature. Consequences of incorrectly answering questions during line ups included drinking a “jammer,” which included hot sauce and other unsavory liquids and/or physical exercises.
- Mentally and sexually intimidating activities such as: making new members think they would have to do an “elephant walk”; asking new members to drink a “semen beverage” (a cornstarch drink made to look like semen); asking new members to watch pornography.
- Physically abusive behavior including blindfolding new members and making them stay in a boiler room for an extended period of time.
- Telling new members to wear a bathing suit under their clothes and wait for brothers near a campus bridge over a body of water at night.
- Involving new members in a scavenger hunt of historical locations around Ithaca resulting in member(s) being left stranded without transportation back to campus.
- Requiring new members to sing and dance in front of guests at a Valentine’s Day formal.
- Conducting an event called “smoke it or eat it” in which the new members were given the choice of either smoking or eating a cigarette.
The Sorority and Fraternity Chapter Review Board found the chapter responsible for violations of the Fraternity and Sorority Recognition Policy (including hazing) and Event Management Guidelines, and five violations of the Expectations for Membership. The Review Board’s findings were upheld on appeal and recognition of Delta Phi was withdrawn for a period of no less than four years. If recognition is requested and approved pursuant to the applicable procedure in place following the four-year period, upon return the Chapter will remain on probationary recognition status for a period of no less than two years. Such probationary recognition may include other specific limitations to the chapter’s recognition status as may be deemed appropriate at that time.
The Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life received a report, including photographs, that hazing involving Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. occurred in the spring semester of 2017. An investigation found that members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. had engaged in hazing of new members, which included the following behaviors:
- Endangerment of physical health and mental distress, as reflected in photographs showing humiliation, demeaning treatment, and intimidation.
- In one photo, a new members pants were unzipped, exposing his underwear.
- In another photo, two members were laying on the ground atop a tarp, with food and liquid materials spread all over them while wearing only underwear.
The Sorority and Fraternity Chapter Review Board found the chapter in violation of the Fraternity and Sorority Recognition Policy (hazing). The Review Board’s findings were upheld on appeal and recognition of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., was withdrawn for a period of no less than two years. If recognition is requested and approved pursuant to the applicable university policy or procedure in place at any point following the two-year period, the Chapter will remain on probationary recognition status for a period of no less than two years. Such probationary recognition may include other specific limitations to the chapter’s recognition status as may be deemed appropriate at that time.
The Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life (OSFL) received a report of hazing by Lambda Phi Epsilon Fraternity, Inc. that occurred in the spring semester of 2018. An investigation determined that members of the fraternity subjected Cornell student new members to mental hazing. These actions included Cornell student new members reaching out to non-Cornell members of the fraternity who subjected them to ridicule and other verbal abuse via text, and encouraged the use of language that imposed an excessive power structure. Chapter leadership and general membership were aware of these experiences when they occurred.
An informal resolution reached between the Fraternity and Sorority Office and Lambda Phi Epsilon chapter leadership determined that the chapter was in violation of the University’s Fraternity and Sorority Recognition Policy – Section E. 17 (b.): Will not implement or tolerate hazing, as defined by the Campus Code of Conduct, in any form, at any time. As a result, Lambda Phi Epsilon Fraternity, Inc. was placed on disciplinary probation, a change in status between good standing and loss of chapter recognition, until the conclusion of the Chapter’s next intake cycle. The chapter is permitted to retain recognition at the University under the stated condition that they cease any and all actions that constitute hazing. A repeat incident of hazing, should it occur, will be adjudicated pursuant to the relevant judicial process with consideration of this outcome.
The Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life received multiple reports that hazing involving Sigma Nu fraternity occurred in January, 2018. An investigation found that brothers of Sigma Nu had engaged in hazing behaviors at the beginning of the new member period, including the following:
- Told new members to prepare for an activity by bringing random items such as a banana, pickle, and/or a condom with them.
- Picked up new members from their residences, blindfolded them, and drove them around to various locations. It was reported that at least some new members were screamed at while being driven around, and some new members reported being dropped off in a wooded area before being brought to the chapter house.
- Collected new members’ cell phones after arriving at the chapter house.
- Provided new members with alcohol, including hard alcohol, consumption of which was at times forced.
- Required some new members to consume mayonnaise “chasers” after drinking hard alcohol.
- Sprayed new members with water from a hose while wearing only underwear. Some new member candidates reported feeling unable to decline participation in the activity or the option to stay clothed.
- Gestured inappropriately with a beer bottle toward genital and buttock areas.
- Used homophobic slurs.
- Required new members to perform physical exercises including push-ups and wall-sits.
It was reported that the brothers informed the new members that the hazing would get worse.
The Sorority and Fraternity Chapter Review Board found the chapter responsible for multiple violations of the Fraternity and Sorority Recognition Policy (including hazing) and Event Management Guidelines, and one violation of the Expectations for Membership. The Review Board’s findings were upheld on appeal and Sigma Nu fraternity’s recognition was revoked for a period of no less than three years. If recognition is requested and approved pursuant to the applicable university procedure in place following the three-year period, upon return the Chapter will remain on probationary recognition status for a period of no less than two years.