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MU fraternity suspended after alcohol hazing report has history of misconduct

Phi Gamma Delta, the MU fraternity suspended after an alleged hazing incident that left a freshman pledge in the hospital with alcohol poisoning, was among the fraternities named in Title IX reports of drugged drinks last month.

The student was listed in critical condition at University Hospital on Thursday evening.

Hunter Bailey, who attended a protest after the fraternity’s suspension Wednesday, said, “It shouldn’t have taken something drastic like this for the university to get involved. They should’ve gotten involved for the sexual assaults and drugging and everything else that’s happened so far this semester.”

In early October, MU’s Office for Civil Rights and Title IX logged 13 reports of students possibly having their drinks drugged since the fall semester began. Listed among the locations were two bars and six fraternities, with Phi Gamma Delta being among them.

According to the Interfraternity Council community conduct history, the fraternity was also involved in a separate hazing incident in the spring. Since the incident, it has been on disciplinary probation among other sanctions as a consequence.

Since MU halted all fraternity activity for an unspecified amount of time and suspended Phi Gamma Delta — also known as Fiji — Wednesday night, some students wonder why intervention into Greek life didn’t happen earlier. This included many of those who attended the protest outside the house three hours after the university’s official email on the incident.

Rob Caudill, the executive director of the International Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta National, released a statement on the incident.

“We are deeply saddened by this incident and our thoughts, prayers and wishes for a speedy recovery are with our new member and his family,” Caudill said. “We are working with the university and local officials to investigate and gather all the relevant facts about what transpired.”

Pauline Clayton, who also attended the protest, said that while technically the protest was in reference to Fiji’s specific actions, she attended “to bring attention to all the sexual assault and (drugging) that’s gone by without consequences these past few months.”

Clayton attended a separate protest of sexual assault on Oct. 5, and she said she finds it odd that the university didn’t step in for all the reports of women being sexually assaulted or drugged and believes the university isn’t doing enough to fix these issues in Greek life.

“We’re mad at MUPD, too, because if they would’ve done something earlier about fraternities, this wouldn’t have happened,” said protest attendee Briana Hagle.

The incident Wednesday morning marks the second hazing violation for the fraternity since the start of 2021.

The specifics of the previous hazing incident are unknown. However, according to the MU IFC’s history of community conduct, Fiji violated UM System Standard of Conduct 200.010.C16, a violation defined as:

“An act that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student, or an act that is likely to cause physical or psychological harm to any person within the University community, or that destroys or removes public or private property, for the purpose of initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a group or organization. Participation or cooperation by the person(s) being hazed does not excuse the violation. Failing to intervene to prevent, failing to discourage, and/or failing to report those acts may also violate this policy.”

Among the sanctions issued by the IFC, the organization was placed on disciplinary probation, where it remained until its suspension.

“This many people are here because we’re at a breaking point,” protest attendee Ava Orr said. “I’ve seen all the news Fiji houses across the country have gotten.”

Fiji was at the center of the sexual assault of a student by a chapter member at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in August that sparked nationwide protests on college campuses. After a temporary suspension, that university announced Oct. 12 that Fiji was banned from campus for five years.

“My own family is worried, and they’ve been texting me because of the stuff they’ve heard,” said Andrew Sax, who is also involved in Greek life.

University officials as well as IFC officials have yet to publicly comment on the condition of the hospitalized student involved in the Wednesday incident. Information on the official police report also has yet to be publicized by MUPD.

The Columbia Missourian is a community news organization managed by professional editors and staffed by Missouri School of Journalism students who do the reporting, design, copy editing, information graphics, photography and multimedia.