Indiana University suspends fraternity for alleged hazing
Word was spreading fast across the IU Bloomington campus Thursday about the school's crackdown on Omega Psi Phi. The fraternity's Zeta Epsilon chapter has been suspended for alleged hazing.
IU sophomore Eli Funk is in a different fraternity.
"It's not a good feeling to know that your fraternity is suspended. It's really one of the worst things that could happen to you," said Funk.
Sources tell Eyewitness News that several pledges reported to university authorities that Omega fraternity members physically abused them. Although the school would not release details of the alleged hazing, Eyewitness News has also learned that at least one of the victims has retained an attorney.
IU says although the Omega Psi Phi chapter is small, it has a huge campus presence.
Steve Veldkamp is director of student life and learning. He says anti-hazing is taught from the very beginning.
"During orientation and welcome week and it starts out early on knowing about the creed and the code of conduct," Veldkamp said.
The suspended student chapter is linked to state and national chapters including the Indianapolis Alumni Chapter. The National Omega Psi Phi has even reiterated its anti-hazing policy details online for the public to read, saying "with emphasis anew that hazing of any kind including post-intake hazing is strictly prohibited by the fraternity."
Eli Funk says his fraternity sends the same message to make sure members don't cross the line.
"Our fraternity has a pamphlet that we read and it states the anti-hazing policy that we have," he said. Funk joined his fraternity last year.
Because of the hazing allegations, Omega activities are canceled, including an upcoming campus wide party.
But all is not lost for the predominantly African-American fraternity. The allegations will be subject to a peer-led review.
"A group of peer students that will meet and discuss if the organization is responsible or not responsible," said Veldkamp.
Then a dean will hear those recommendations on what to do about the allegations against the fraternity. The recommendations could be anything from campus restrictions to permanent expulsion as a Greek organization.
Even with all the university sanctions, the fraternity members are not in the clear criminally if the alleged victims decide to pursue legal and criminal action.