ROCK HILL, S.C. – A Winthrop University fraternity has been suspended for engaging in verbal hazing and other prohibited practices, officials said Friday.
As a result of the action, the Winthrop chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha “may not hold events or conduct activities on-campus, reserve (university) space, or utilize any other university resources” until further notice, according to a suspension letter issued to the chapter today by Winthrop Dean of Students Bethany Marlowe, in coordination with the national office of the fraternity.
The summary suspension “will provide time for the university and your national organization to complete an investigation regarding these allegations,” the letter continued.
Hazing is a violation of Winthrop’s Student Conduct Code as well as S.C. state law, said Winthrop University spokeswoman Rebecca Masters.
“While the preliminary inquiry indicates that what occurred was primarily verbal in nature, all the involved activities are not allowed, either under Winthrop rules or under state law,” Masters added. She said officials first received a report about incidents involving such behaviors in late December. So far, no indications of injury or alcohol involvement have been found. Winthrop Police are continuing interviews related to the matter.
Under state law, hazing includes “unauthorized treatment by the superior student of a subordinate student of a tyrannical, abusive, shameful, insulting, or humiliating nature.” When an investigation provides “substantial evidence” that a student has committed hazing, the student “may be dismissed, expelled, suspended, or punished,” the law says.
Individual student hazing violations would be referred to university officials for handling through the student judicial system. Outcomes in such cases remain private under federal law.