Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More details on hazing at U of A

Posted By on Tue, Oct 19, 2010 at 4:18 PM

This will be old news by the time our print edition hits the stands, so here you go. More details emerge on a hazing incident at the University of Arkansas that happened at the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house in November of last year. A complaint was filed in Pulaski County circuit court yesterday by Nicholas Brown, at the time of the incident a freshman pledge who ended up in a coma thanks to a .68 blood alcohol level that resulted from a night of hazing from his "big brothers," the suit claims. The complaint lists the national and local fraternity chapters as defendants along with three university employees and five fraternity members. A complaint will also be filed against the university with the Arkansas State Claims Commission.

According to the complaint, on Nov. 12, 2009, Nicholas Brown, a pledge of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, was instructed to go to the fraternity house and report to the basement, a room the brothers called “The Dungeon” because it had no video surveillance cameras or windows, and to bring his “hoodwink,” a pillowcase that would serve as a blindfold.

A few hours later, he was admitted to Washington Regional Medical Center, where he experienced tonic-clonic seizures and acute respiratory failure before slipping into a coma. His blood alcohol level was .68, more than eight times the legal limit.

In the time in between, the complaint says Brown was abused verbally and physically and forced to drink copious amounts of whiskey and beer while the “big brothers” of the fraternity placed bets on which of the pledges could drink the most.

John Diamond, associate vice chancellor at U of A, said in a statement released this afternoon, "In response to a lawsuit filed by Nicholas Brown in Little Rock yesterday, the University of Arkansas strongly disagrees with the allegations asserted against three University officials. The University has policies in place to promote responsible behavior by its students, and its officials take appropriate action against those who violate such policies. The allegations against the University officials are unfounded, and we are confident that they will be dismissed. Given that this matter is now in court, it’s appropriate at this time for us to refrain from any further comment outside of the judicial process."

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