2020-2021 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.

Fall 2020

Phi Kappa Psi, Interfraternity Council chapter

Description

The Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life received a referral in February 2020 from Cornell University Police that Phi Kappa Psi engaged in serious violations of the Expectations for Membership, the Event Management Guidelines, the Fraternity and Sorority Recognition Policy, and the Anti-Hazing Policy in the fall of 2019. Following an investigation, the Sorority and Fraternity Organization Misconduct Board found that the evidence detailed clear policy violations before, during, and after a “dirty rush” event hosted by the chapter on the evening October 24, 2019: 

  • In fall 2019, Phi Kappa Psi had been barred from hosting any social events at its chapter house until significant, ongoing facilities damage and fire safety issues were remedied. The university clearly and repeatedly communicated this to the chapter, via its president.
  • Ignoring the bar, Phi Kappa Psi planned and organized an unregistered event for first-year students, each a potential new member (“PNM”), along with other invited guests at the chapter house on the evening of October 24, 2019. PNMs were invited by individual Phi Kappa Psi members, instructed to meet outside Robert Purcell Community Center on North Campus at a certain time, and were then transported by car from the pre-arranged location to the chapter house.
  • The PNMs were implicitly, and at times explicitly, encouraged and expected to participate in a planned and coordinated event involving themed rooms, where drinking games and binge drinking were the featured activities, leading to high levels of intoxication, including being dunked in water while intoxicated, endangering their physical health and causing mental distress as described by participants themselves. 
  • Abundant hard alcohol was present at the chapter house during the event; shots of different hard alcohols were provided in various themed rooms as the PNMs moved through the chapter house that night (e.g. tequila in one room, a milk and rum concoction in another room, bottles and shots of vodka in other rooms).
  • Multiple drinking games were facilitated by chapter members at the event. PNMs described rotating through themed rooms with different drinking challenges designed to encourage binge drinking. PNMs were encouraged to “yack” (induce vomiting) and continue drinking. The drinking games inherently included large common sources of alcohol and hard alcohol.
  • PNM participation in the event led to severe intoxication and impairment, including blacking out, disorientation, and vomiting all while at the chapter house. The chapter never utilized the Medical Amnesty Protocol or called 911, exhibiting little concern for the PNMs who experienced detrimental health effects as a result of their intoxication.

Outcome 

Dean Pendakur accepted the SFOM Board’s recommendation and found Phi Kappa Psi responsible for multiple violations of sorority and fraternity policies, including hazing. Dean Pendakur also accepted the SFOM Board’s recommendation regarding sanctions and therefore withdrew University Recognition of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity at Cornell University permanently. The organization may not be considered for University Recognition at any time. Additionally, consistent with established practice, this matter was also referred to the Office of the Judicial Administrator (OJA) to pursue individual accountability under the Campus Code of Conduct for members associated with the organization. 

Referrals of individual chapter members and officers for Code proceedings in cases involving alleged hazing have resulted in findings of responsibility for hazing, endangerment, providing alcohol to individuals under 21, and other Code violations; and imposed sanctions including suspensions from Cornell, deferred suspensions, probation, reflection exercises, and written reprimands.