Ohio University released a statement last Tuesday stating it ordered the Epsilon chapter of the Sigma Pi fraternity to cease operations. The university did so through a cease-and-desist letter sent one day after an 18-year-old student was found dead at an apartment associated with the fraternity. The student who was found dead on Monday was a freshman at Ohio University.
The cause of death has not yet been released.
The Athens City Police Department is currently investigating the events. Ohio University’s letter to Sigma Pi stated that it had information that revealed that the fraternity failed to adhere to the student code of conduct and that it put the safety of members at risk. Officials from the university are also demanding that Sigma Pi send a full list of its members, pledges, or past pledges.
Hazing at Fraternity Annexes
Though the apartment where the death occurred is not on Ohio University's campus, it is believed to be an annex used by Sigma Pi. These satellite houses serve as a place where members of a fraternity or sorority live outside of the organization’s chapter house.
According to Gentry McCreary, a former director of Greek affairs at the University of Alabama who is currently researching hazing, these annexes have evolved to accomplish a sinister function. McCreary stated that “both campuses and national organizations have clamped down on alcohol and social events in official, recognized houses, [so] a lot of the high-risk behavior has been moved to these annex houses.”
While some annexes are used for overflow housing, recent events suggest that some have become a haven for dangerous hazing activities banned on campus. Recent events at Ohio University reveal that annexes have been a source of concern for officials.
Last November, the university suspended the activity of all 37 fraternities over concern after a string of hazing-related incidents and hazing injuries. Some investigations regarding these events took place at fraternity annexes.
Ohio Hazing Lawyers Fighting Against Fraternity Hazing
At Stewart Tilghman Fox Bianchi & Cain, P.A., our Ohio hazing injury attorneys have seen a frustrating pattern with hazing that is nothing but tragic. Hazing practices coerce young students into participating in a “tradition” that puts their lives at risk. While these events are portrayed as innocent fun, our firm has seen too many lives changed by reckless fraternity activity. Hazing is not a tradition—it’s an institutionalized form of bullying that ends young lives brimming with potential.
Our hazing law firm has spent nearly two decades fighting on behalf of hazing victims. In fact, our efforts have created serious reform in Florida’s anti-hazing laws. Hazing isn’t a victimless practice, and we will continue to be the voice for those who have been harmed by it.
If you or a loved one has been injured by hazing, call our Ohio hazing injury lawyers today at (305) 770-6335 for a free consultation.