GC investigated 3 hazing allegations in fall 2018
GC investigated three Greek organizations—Kappa Alpha Order, Delta Zeta and Alpha Tau Omega—in Fall 2018 on hazing allegations. Of the three organizations, both ATO and DZ dismissed members and ATO was cited for violating GC’s code of conduct, according to an open records disclosure received by The Colonnade.
Assistant Dean of Students Tom Miles reviews hazing allegations at GC and said he generally takes one of three options: he investigates it himself with the help of GC Student Affairs, passes it off to Public Safety or works in conjunction with the national fraternity headquarters.
If Miles decides to investigate the allegation himself, he calls in members of the accused organization in small groups and asks the same set of questions to get a picture of what happened.
“If I am imagining it one way and someone says something else, my picture of this scenario is off,” Miles said. “Now then I have to go and find out why, so I have the right picture because my job is putting all the pieces together, so I can get a good look at what is happening here.”
Miles said that once a report gets to his office, he decides whether it goes to public safety or to Campus Life.
“It’s very rare that after a period of time, that I can’t get down to the bottom of what really was going on here and whether it was really targeted or coercive or physically uncomfortable,” Miles said.
Miles leads the investigation. After the investigation is concluded, Miles then has the final say on the conclusion of the case, and the sanctions placed on the organization. If Miles does find that an organization has hazed individuals, he can set the sanctions himself or, if the organizations headquarters were involved, he can implement those sanctions.
“I really don’t want our students really ever leaving here with a criminal record,” Miles said.
Kappa Alpha Order
GC received an anonymous report regarding Kappa Alpha Order that triggered an investigation on Oct. 12. 2018. The reporter expressed a fear that certain KA activities had endangered new members’ safety.
Miles investigated the claims into KA on Oct. 17, but concluded that no hazing occurred.
“The new members were like, ‘And it was great!’ and they were having a great experience,” Miles said. “That’s not normally the reaction that you get—particularly when people are lying.”
KA was under investigation for six days before Miles sent a decision letter on Oct. 18 that the organization did not violate GC’s hazing policy.
Miles, nor KA headquarters, punished any members of the chapter.
On Nov. 5, Campus Life received an anonymous report regarding an incident that occurred on Oct. 24 involving several new members and initiated sisters of Delta Zeta.
A concerned parent contacted GC immediately reached out to DZ headquarters, which placed the chapter on probation, effective immediately until the investigation concluded.
A GC report of a “fact finding” meeting with DZ’s executive board concluded that seven of the eight members “‘offered partial truths’ and withheld information,” but the other member offered “a great deal of detail and described herself as very disturbed by the situation she was apart of.”
Miles’ decision letter to DZ said “no violations were found on the part of DZ sorority at Georgia College.”
DZ members, however, now must attend a chapter officer training “because the student president of Delta Zeta sorority did not act appropriately in taking immediate corrective action regarding allegations.”
Participants in the incident that took place on Oct. 24 were removed from the chapter.
DZ has also made adjustments to their new member education to prevent another incident from happening again.
“We’re basically having two mandatory hazing prevention meetings at chapter,” said Christina Oudin, DZ new member coordinator. “We are doing presentations on what hazing is and what not to do. We are also taking Big-Little a lot more serious now, and we’re doing Big training, so they have to earn their right to get a Little. We have to make them sign Big-Little contracts to make sure they are upholding the values of Delta Zeta.”
Alpha Tau Omega
On Oct. 2, a report was filed regarding allegations against ATO through an email to Tiffany Bayne. This incident was reported in The Colonnade on Nov. 7.
Miles contacted ATO Nationals to discuss the concerns that were brought to their attention. From there, Nationals led the investigation.
“The university does its own thing as well, but we can also sit back and say we’re going to accept the sanctions and stuff the national headquarters has put in place,” Miles said. “We did feel like ATO came in and did a phenomenal job of taking care of business and helping get things the organization back where it needed to, so we backed up the National on that one.”
On Oct. 30 Miles contacted Bryan Murray, ATO Nationals associate director of health and safety, to discuss the sanctions ATO would be placed under by headquarters. Miles accepted these decisions and did not add any further sanctions.
However, ATO’s investigation lasted more than two months, and a decision letter wasn’t signed until Dec. 7. ATO also lost one-third of its chapter after the investigation.
ATO has been placed on probation until Dec. 7, 2019, and they have lost privileges. Events, meetings and activities off-campus require written permission of Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Tiffany Bayne. Members also must attend monthly meetings with the Interfraternity Council to review the completion of the sanctions.
GC Police say they are rarely notified about hazing situations. They only hear about hazing allegations brought directly to them.
Brian English, patrol lieutenant of the GC Police, said he was unaware if they received the report involving DZ.
“I was not involved in that case, so I don’t know anything about it,” English said.
Additionally, English said that GC Public Safety did not open up any investigations into hazing in Fall 2018.
English described GC Public Safety’s hazing protocol.
“It goes through Campus Life, and they notify headquarters,” English said. “We haven’t had anything brought to us where we’ve had to open up any investigation for [a] fraternity or sorority or any kind of club on campus that involved hazing.”
If GC Public Safety does receive a report, however, English said GC Public Safety addresses it like a normal crime. English said that they would team up with other law enforcement agencies if it occurred off campus and would investigate it until there is a resolution.
“We’ll work together with [the Milledgeville Police],” English said. “We work good with Campus Life, with Tom Miles and Tiffany, and if anything crazy comes up, they call us, and it’s pretty much a team effort.”
If a hazing allegation were to be turned into the Milledgeville Police, they would turn it over to the school to investigate.
GC’s hazing policy states hazing includes: “activities considered to be hazing shall include one or both of the following elements: (1) coercion, either overt or covert, and/or (2) the production of physical or mental discomfort in either the participants or the spectators, and that. Such activities suggested by a group or a member of a group to new or trial members will be considered covert coercion even if the activity is said to be voluntary.”
Tiffany Bayne organized a mandatory meeting for all members of Greek Community, except seniors with 90 hours or more.
The meeting included the Atlanta- based couple, the Gruver’s, parents of Max Gruver who died in 2018 as a result of hazing at LSU.
In Georgia, the law states that hazing is classified as a misdemeanor.
If an incident occurs, most students who live in sorority or fraternity houses call Public Safety, even though their houses are considered to be off- campus.
“Our primary jurisdiction is mainly campus property,” English said. “Our secondary is anything that is 500 yards away from anything owned, leased, rented or controlled by GC.”
Students may report hazing using the Crisis Assessment Response and Education (CARE) Team’s anonymous report form.
Illustration by Emma Lammers | Contributing Artist
Infographic by Lindsay Stevens | News Editor