The Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity has been kicked off the University of Arizona campus for hazing pledges by allegedly blindfolding them, forcing them to drink alcohol and injuring one pledge after he was shoved into a pillar at the fraternity house.
UA police have arrested a student, Cody Ward, 19, on suspicion of assault and said the investigation continues.
The UA said they received reports that fraternity members threatened retaliation if anyone reported the incident.
In a letter to the fraternity, the Dean of Students Office said it talked with witnesses who “expressed fear of retaliation from fraternity members. A witness was allegedly told by members of the fraternity the night of the assault that ‘we kill rats.’ “
UA officials say that during a “puzzle night” at the fraternity house on March 23, an event intended to bring members and pledges closer together by completing puzzles, pledges were blindfolded, lined up and walked down a hallway. The pledges were put in a room together where music blared and they were made to drink alcohol, witnesses told UA officials during an investigation.
On the walk down the hall, one pledge was shoved into a pillar. He was later seen hunched over and complaining of stomach pains. He was taken to the hospital.
UA officials announced Tuesday they were pulling university recognition of the local fraternity for the next four years, through May 31, 2021. Loss of recognition means the fraternity cannot conduct any activity on campus, including recruiting members or holding meetings.
“The University of Arizona has no tolerance for behavior that hurts students or puts them at risk,” UA Dean of Students Kendal Washington White said. “The serious nature of the assault allegation warranted the university’s decisive action.”
A representative of the local chapter could not immediately be reached for comment. The chapter has until May 25 to appeal the university’s decision, if it chooses.
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