Greek fraternity under investigation at Washington State University for alleged violations

PULLMAN, Wash. – A Washington State University Greek fraternity has been temporarily suspended after allegations of behavior that violated university standards and risked the health and safety of fraternity members.

According to the student newspaper, The Daily Evergreen, the Sigma Nu Delta Iota chapter is now being investigated by the Office of the Dean of Students.

The chapter headquarters has also been suspended from holding new member activities or events with alcohol, according to the university’s Center fro Fraternity and Sorority Life website.

Due to the interim loss of recognition, Sigma Nu will not be allowed to participate or partake in Fraternity and Sorority advising, Information Technology Services, the Student Involvement Center or intramural sports. However, while the group can’t use these services, individual students are still allowed.

Young men have died in fraternities every year for 2 decades. But frats are slow to change

As first-time students settle in at college campuses each fall, Debbie Smith can’t help but feel dread. In 2005, her son Matthew Carrington started a similar journey at California State University, Chico.

He, like many young men, found himself pledging for a fraternity. That was odd, Smith said, because he had never expressed that much interest in Greek life. But his friend wanted to join Chi Tau, and he convinced Carrington to join him.

They expected collegiality, a place to call home away from home. The virtues of Greek life are supposed to include higher grades and a sense of camaraderie that lasts a lifetime.

But you have to be alive to benefit.

To join the fraternal brotherhood, Carrington and others were forced to endure months of hazing rituals as part of a process known as pledging. Their initiation culminated when they did a series of strenuous calisthenics in a basement floor. Pipes in the house had backed up, spewing sewage in the basement. Fans blew cold air onto them as their would-be brothers had them drink water repeatedly from a 5-gallon jug. They soiled themselves, but kept going. For Carrington, it proved too much for his body to handle.

He died.

The words “In the basement, no one can hear you scream” were reportedly scrawled on the subterranean walls.

Few may have heard Carrington as he suffered, but Smith has been speaking for him since in the hopes of preventing another hazing death. Still, the dread persists.

“You’re on pins and needles, you know, all through the school year,” Smith said. “Because you know it’s going to happen to somebody. We don’t know who, we don’t know where, we don’t know when, but we know what’s going to happen. And what do we do? I mean, how do we make that not happen?”

Every year for the past two decades, at least one young man has died in connection with fraternity hazing. Whether it’s alcohol poisoning, extreme physical labor, or physical injuries, dozens of lives have been lost in the name of fraternal kinship. Yet rush continues, pledge classes carry out antics, and Greek initiations roll on. In 2018-2019, the North American Interfraternity Conference, an organization with 66 fraternities, expects to have more than 300,000 members.

Should universities be blamed? Lawsuit says yes

Supporters and active members of fraternities say the deaths are isolated incidents that do not represent the whole of the Greek life experience. Greek organizations get young people involved in public service, they point out, and they connect college students with a built-in network of successful and supportive alumni.

In 2017, the annual death toll at fraternities spiked to four, reviving an old discussion: Are the benefits of fraternity membership worth the lives of young adults?

From binge drinking to blacking out, the disturbing epidemic putting America’s kids in danger

On America’s college campuses, there are epidemics we talk about and those we don’t. There’s sexual assault. There are fraternity hazing deaths. And in both cases, the attention of the nation usually turns to these issues only after a tragedy has occurred… after Penn State freshman Timothy Piazza dies from consuming 18 drinks in 82 minutes… after Brock Turner sexually assaults an unconscious woman behind a dumpster at Stanford…

Look deeper, however, and these epidemics have something in common: the pervasive and problematic drinking culture among American youth.

“When you have almost 2,000 kids a year dying that are college-aged kids on college campuses, I’m surprised that those statistics are not out there in a bigger way and that colleges aren’t owning that a little bit more,” says clinical social worker Julie Fenn in the CBSN Originals documentary, “Drinking Culture: American Kids and the Danger of Being Cool.” “If there were 2,000 kids dying for, you know, a brain disease or the flu or something, we would be all over that.”

In the current pop culture environment, binge drinking has not only become normalized, it’s become a marker of social status.

“People do have that conception that the more you can drink, the cooler you are,” says Alex Artaza, a college student at Nova Southeastern University in Florida.

“Girls who could handle their alcohol are seen as a lot cooler and a lot more interesting than girls who can’t,” concurs Kaeli Van Cott, a 23-year-old social media manager in New York City. “People would encourage in college like, ‘We need to drink, we need to pregame, we need to go out.’ … Guys who can handle their alcohol were seen as cool and girls who could keep up were invited in.”

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as four drinks for women and five drinks for men over the span of two hours. In the United States today, however, college students often consume two or three times that amount.

And while it used to be that men were much more likely to binge drink than women, that gender gap is rapidly closing, with rates of alcohol use and binge drinking now on the rise in women and girls.

For the documentary, “Drinking Culture,” CBSN Originals visited the University of Wisconsin–Madison, one of the most notorious party schools in America, to speak with students there about the amounts and sorts of drinking that are now considered normal.

Gretchen Schroder, a 21-year-old senior, told producers that the most she’s had to drink in a night was 15 drinks. When pressed on what that was like, and whether or not she remembered that night, she shook her head, laughed a little bit, and replied, “No. I blacked out.”

The NIAAA defines blacking out as a period “of amnesia during which a person actively engages in behaviors like walking and talking but does not create memories for these events as they transpire. …  Depending on how impaired the brain regions involved in decisionmaking and impulse control are, the missing events could range from mundane behaviors, like brushing teeth, to dangerous and traumatic events like driving a car, getting into a fight, or committing — or being the victim of — a sexual assault or other crime.”

While many parents probably blissfully assume that this sort of alcohol-induced stupor is a rarity, all of the young Americans who appear in the CBSN Originals doc, “Drinking Culture,” told producers that they have either blacked out themselves or witnessed their peers blacking out on numerous occasions.

“I’ve seen a lot of people black out,” says Van Cott. “I can’t even give you a defined number. … People brag about that as if it’s something that’s cool to do. Like, ‘I’m totally going to black out tonight.'”

Not only does this sort of normalized underage drinking behavior put American teens at greater risk of physical injury and sexual assault, experts point out that there are biological consequences to drinking in excess before the brain is done developing.

“What we’ve seen with data is that if you start drinking at age 13 or 14, drinking full drinks, that that is associated with a five times greater risk of developing an alcohol use problem or disorder compared to if you start at age 21 or older,” explains Dr. Sion Harris, an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

“We’re also seeing that there are impacts on the development of what we call wiring of the brain. One of the things that really is important that’s happening in the brain during the adolescent years is kind of the connecting up of different brain areas. And the reason that that’s so important is that in order for us to have a really sharp brain, fast processing, and healthy functioning, different parts of the brain have to work together, and that is developing through adolescence,” she explained.

“When the brain is exposed to things like alcohol, marijuana, other drugs, that seems to impact how the brain gets wired up and that can impact our ability to learn, our ability to make smart decisions, our ability to regulate our emotions.”

Binge drinking affects young Americans both in ways we can see and in ways we can’t, and advocates say we really need to take a hard look at the root of the problem.

“We have to challenge and change that culture, that thinking that it’s normal behavior,” said Julie Fenn.

And she adds a cautionary note for parents: “I think there is that stereotypic belief that, ‘not my kid. I’m a good parent. My kids would never do that.’ I think all of our kids are at risk. And I can say that honestly, as a parent of three, it doesn’t matter what your profession is, no child is protected.”

Miami University fraternity suspended for possible 15 years following hazing incident

OXFORD, Ohio — Following an appeal, the suspension of the Miami University chapter of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity will stand, possibly for a maximum of 15 years, according to the university.

After reports that a Miami University student was hit “with a paddle with spikes and grooves,” forced to drink large amounts of alcohol and smoke marijuana in a hazing incident, the Delta Tau Delta house was suspended in May after the university determined they were responsible for violating the school’s code of conduct, according to Miami University director of communications Claire Wagner.

Wagner said in June, Delta Tau Delta’s national headquarters revoked the Miami University chapter’s charter. “With this action, chapter operations ceased, and individual members are not permitted to operate in the name of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity,” said a statement from Delta Tau Delta international headquarters.

Elizabeth Warren’s pushing for free college. Meanwhile her Harvard professor husband earns $400,000 a year.

ANALYSIS: Enormous salaries represent one of the root causes of the problem of skyrocketing college costs

Massachusetts senator and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has made free college and loan forgiveness a central plank of her campaign. To pay for it, her plan seeks to tax the wealth of America’s richest families.

But while Warren bemoans the soaring costs of college — her husband Bruce Mann is a law professor at Harvard University who earns an annual salary of about $400,000 a year, according to income tax documents the couple has made public.

Mann teaches on U.S. legal history, property, and trusts and estates, his online faculty bio states.

Meanwhile, in the past when Warren taught as a law professor at Harvard, she also earned a substantial salary. During 2010 and 2011, she earned $429,981 from the Ivy League university. Prior to that she was listed as being one of the top earners at Harvard, Heavyreports. In 2009 at Harvard she earned nearly $350,000, according to the Boston Globe.

The professors’ enormous salaries represent one of the root causes of the problem of skyrocketing college costs and is another typical example of liberal and leftist hypocrisy, said Professor Mark Perry, an economist at the University of Michigan-Flint.

“One of the reasons college tuition has risen over time more than any other consumer good or service, fueling the rise in student loan debt to $1.6 trillion (twice the level in 2010), is because of the high and rising salaries for college administrators and highly paid professors like Sen. Warren and her husband,” Perry told The College Fix via email.

“The real and only long-term solution to rising college tuition and rising student loan debt is not free tuition or student loan forgiveness, but to reign in the costs of college by addressing the root cause of ‘administrative bloat.’”


Elizabeth Warren’s pushing for free college. Meanwhile her Harvard professor husband earns $400,000 a year.