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UVa fraternities suspend all social events after Kappa Sigma pledge injured

All fraternity-sponsored social events have been suspended for three weeks at the University of Virginia after a pledge was seriously injured in what is being investigated as a hazing gone wrong.

A second-year transfer student and Kappa Sigma pledge at the school was hospitalized on Feb. 20. Students have said he was drinking heavily at the fraternity’s house on Rugby Road in Charlottesville before he fell down a set of stairs and hit his head on a wall. Days after the reported fall, students said the student was comatose.

The name of the injured student has been confirmed by The Daily Progress, which will not be disclosing any identifying details at the present time.

UVa Medical Center said it could provide no information on the student’s status.

A few days after the student was injured, UVa spokeswoman Bethanie Glover told The Daily Progress that the school’s Kappa Sigma chapter had been suspended pending a Division of Student Affairs investigation into the matter.

“We take allegations of hazing seriously and act quickly to investigate them and take disciplinary action if necessary,” Glover told The Daily Progress in an email. “State and/or local law enforcement agencies investigate allegations of hazing under Virginia law. The Division of Student Affairs investigates allegations of hazing under University policy.”

Exactly one week after the incident, the UVa Inter-Fraternity Council, an independently run student organization that oversees Greek life at the university, announced that new member activities and social events at all of the school’s fraternities would be suspended until 11:59 p.m on March 20.

After the ban is lifted, the council said that all chapters will have from March 21 to 24 to initiate any new members.

“Our primary concern is the health and well-being of the individual involved, and we extend our thoughts and prayers to the affected individual, their family, and loved ones during this time,” reads a statement issued by the council.

The Daily Progress reached out to the council for further details without response.

Hazing, which is a crime in the commonwealth, is defined by UVa as “any action or situation created by one or more members, advisors, or coaches of a student organization (including athletic teams) toward other organization members or prospective members that intentionally or recklessly threatens or produces mental or physical harassment, humiliation, fatigue, degradation, ridicule, shock, or injury.”

The action must take place in the context of an organization’s initiation or affiliation process to qualify as hazing but may occur with or without the consent of the participant as well as on or off school property.

This open-ended definition of hazing has allowed the university to crack down on multiple student organizations, Greek and otherwise, which have been reported to the University Judiciary Committee, a student-run body that issues sanctions based on the findings of Student Affairs’ investigations.

“The health and safety of our members and broader community is our foremost goal,” reads the Inter-Fraternity Council’s statement. “The IFC promotes anti-hazing and risk management practices across all chapters to prevent incidents.”

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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