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WVU bans frat over alleged hazing

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia University officials on Tuesday banned a fraternity from campus because of alleged alcohol-related hazing in October.

The Phi Gamma Delta fraternity is permanently suspended and 17 members living inside its Belmont Avenue house in Morgantown must move out by the end of the semester, said Ron Justice, director of WVU's Student Organization Services.

A student reported to Justice's office an October incident in which pledges allegedly drank dangerously large amounts of alcohol.

The fraternity's national chapter in Lexington, Ky., and university officials suspended the local chapter and conducted interviews with brothers and pledges following the allegations, he said.

The investigation found the incident violated the national chapter's policies and fell under the university's anti-hazing codes, he said.

A decision was reached Tuesday to remove the fraternity because national chapter officials received complaints of a similar incident last year, and the fraternity had already been placed on temporary suspension by the university and national organization.

"Basically the [fraternity] was a risk from an insurance coverage perspective," Justice said.

Justice said police are not investigating the incident, but the student who reported it could request that criminal charges be filed.

Justice said his office holds education sessions with fraternities and sororities every semester on the dangers of hazing. This chapter had completed the required session, he said.

An official charter suspension is expected when the national organization meets in January. University housing officials would help the brothers staying in the house find other living arrangements, he said.

Justice said the university works with national chapters to determine proper sanctions for hazing incidents.

Another fraternity, Phi Sigma Kappa, was placed on three years of supervised probation in December 2010 for a hazing incident one month earlier.

Police said they entered the fraternity's house in the early morning and found students yelling and throwing food at a lineup of blindfolded students.

The members were ordered to undergo alcohol-abuse and hazing-prevention educational sessions and maintain satisfactory grade point averages.

The fraternity met all of the university's terms and it was removed from probation this year.

Reach Travis Crum at travis.crum@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.


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