‘I feel like I’m going to die’: Miami University student hospitalized and frat suspended amid hazing report

Miami University student hospitalized and frat suspended amid hazing report

CINCINNATI, OH - They were hit with a paddle with spikes, kicked and spit on.

They were forced to drink large amounts of alcohol and smoke weed.

They were blindfolded and put in a room for over an hour while “scary music” played.

This is what joining a fraternity looked like for some Miami University students who were pledging Delta Tau Delta this spring, according to a report released by the university Monday.

“Call 911, I feel like I’m going to die,” one student said he told someone while at the mandatory fraternity event. Emergency crews carried him out on a stretcher and he was hospitalized for several hours with cuts, bruises and a blood-alcohol content of .231, the report says.

According to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer, he student who filed the report said he and 24 other pledges were not allowed to leave a mandatory meeting in the fraternity house on March 16, even when they asked.

The Oxford Police Department received the hazing complaint three days after the event and is currently investigating. To recklessly participate in hazing is a fourth-degree misdemeanor in Ohio.

The student filed an anonymous complaint with the university on March 20 detailing what happened to him and his "brothers," which launched a university investigation.

The Delta Tau Delta fraternity was suspended Friday, March 22 after Miami president Gregory Crawford called the hazing report “brutal and deplorable” in a letter to the community. He said he was “disheartened and outraged” by the allegations that “have brought us to a tipping point on this campus.”

Crawford said his administration is taking “swift, stern and appropriate action” in handling this hazing and announced that all sophomores living in the fraternity are being relocated to residence halls on the school's Oxford campus.

"A decision about the long-term future of Delta Tau Delta will be made once the investigation is finalized and a formal hearing is completed," Crawford wrote.

The Interfraternity Council, the student-run governing group of fraternities at Miami, is awaiting the results of the university’s community standards investigation before taking any official action.

“We as a council do not tolerate hazing and do not condone the actions of the organization outlined in the report,” council president Grant Zehnder said.

Miami University’s general counsel Robin Parker responded to the student's complaint saying that anonymous reports are "extremely difficult to investigate." She encouraged the student to come forward and cooperate in the investigation so that the university can take disciplinary action.

“Ultimately, bringing an end to hazing will take the efforts of the students themselves and will depend in large part on their willingness to come forward, tell the truth and take a stand against hazing,” Parker wrote.

Officials with the Fishers, Indiana-based fraternity did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

In a statement forwarded to The Enquirer by a Miami spokeswoman, the CEO of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity , Jack Kreman, said Miami chapter members "chose to treat the new members inappropriately."

The misconduct came despite guidance provided by the national organization, CEO Jack Kreman added.

“The fraternity has no tolerance for such behavior,” he said.

Crawford has asked university officials to review the allegations and make recommendations to be implemented across all fraternities and sororities on campus, and he vowed that "nothing is off limits in this evaluation."

This issue isn't new for Miami, which had three fraternities suspended for hazing in 2016 and multiple others placed on probation after nearly two dozen investigations into hazing, alcohol and drug violations that year.

And last year, the university suspended fraternity activity after multiple hazing allegations surfaced.

In February, the Theta Chi fraternity chapter at Miami was suspended after a first-year student was taken to a hospital after drinking with fraternity members, according to The Miami Student.

A university police officer found the student unconscious on a countertop.

Theta Chi remains suspended until the conclusion of the disciplinary process, university spokeswoman Michelle Gaither Sparks told The Enquirer.

She declined to respond to specific questions about this most recent hazing accusation involving Delta Tau Delta, saying the incident remains under investigation.

An ad hoc committee was formed last year to address hazing issues. Twenty students, faculty, alumni and other fraternity stakeholders comprised the committee and recommended new measures in December to improve Miami's Greek life.

Their report called for a zero-tolerance policy regarding hazing. The committee recommended non-compliant fraternities be closed for at least five years, that individuals guilty of hazing be expelled rather than suspended and that they face criminal charges when appropriate.

The report also called for hazing education provided to students and parents and the implementation of academic requirements for new fraternity members.

Fraternity initiations, the committee recommended, should take place in the presence of an adviser or other staff member. And a live-in house director was recommended for all fraternities, to be in place by next fall.

The university adopted or is in the process of adopting all of the committee's recommendations, Sparks said.

The live-in house director policy, as well as a required GPA minimum of 2.75, up from 2.50, for new fraternity members, have been implemented. The five-year suspension and expulsion policies will be included in the student handbook beginning in the next academic year, Sparks added.

The hazing behavior in Oxford is "not indicative of the majority of Miami Greek students," the Interfraternity Council said last year. "Yet, the Greek community has an active stance against hazing and we must act for the betterment of individuals and the whole."

Efforts were made to change the culture, president Crawford said last year, but “despite those efforts, we are not where we need to be. Those responsible for these acts have embarrassed themselves, their chapters and Miami University.”