Rutgers suspends sorority after hazing arrests

January 28, 2010 7:32:31 AM PST
Rutgers University says it has suspended a campus sorority after six members were charged with hazing prospective pledges by paddling them and denying them food. Police say one Rutgers University student was hurt so bad that she ended up in the hospital.

Six members of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority were arrested on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The six members who were arrested this week are charged with aggravated hazing, an indictable criminal offense, and could face disciplinary action and possible expulsion under the university's code of conduct. They are free on $1,500 bail.

"The allegation is that they were struck by a paddle on multiple occasions," Vice President for Student Affairs at Rutgers University Gregory Blimling said.

The students-turned-suspects are 20 and 21 years old.

They're accused of severely limiting how much food the alleged victims ate over several days and paddling.

Senior Josyln Session considered joining a sorority like Sigma Gamma Rho, but said this is exactly why she didn't.

"Because I find that sororities around here tend not to be about anything. They beat you down. I see students walking down the street, they can't talk to anyone. I think anything that makes you demean yourself you should not be part of," Session said.

Sigma Gamma Rho does not have its own sorority house on campus. The alleged hazing happened at a university student housing building, but police won't say which one.

The vice president of student affairs says this happened outside of the recognized pledging period for Greek organizations.

Blimling also pointed out that everyone who joins a fraternity or sorority is warned about the rules.

"Rutgers has a very large fraternity system with over 77 active chapters on campus and each one of those chapters is required to go to a workshop on hazing," he said.

Police found there was more than one incident and that the girls planned another.

Investigators are still trying to figure out if there are more alleged victims.

"Hazing is pointless really. There's no point to demean somebody to get into an organization," junior Joe Schulhoff said.

"I'm in a fraternity myself and they take hazing very seriously here at Rutgers. I think it's a big deal," sophomore Minesh Patel said.