The following reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.
Earlier this month, 18 former members of Miami University’s Delta Tau Delta (Delts) fraternity were charged on hazing and assault charges. The charges came after an anonymous first-year new member was bludgeoned on his buttocks with a spiked paddle, forced to drink alcohol, smoke weed and was subjected to additional physical abuse during a Big/Little Reveal event last spring.
After the men were charged, reporters from The Miami Student reached out to members of Miami’s administration, leaders of Miami Greek Life, representatives from Delta Tau Delta’s national headquarters and the 18 individuals who were charged asking them all to comment and share their side of the story.
A few individuals gave vague and brief responses, some said they could not comment on the matter but most did not respond to our reporters at all.
At The Student we believe the Delts hazing incident, the fraternity’s suspension and subsequent criminal charges should be sparking a meaningful conversation about our campus culture because it’s the only way to ensure this does not happen again.
In 2017, four pledges at different American universities died in connection to fraternity parties or hazing rituals. That same year, Miami temporarily suspended its Interfraternity Council (IFC) chapters to investigate hazing allegations.
The Delts incident is only the sixth time in Ohio state history that individuals have faced charges for hazing in a court of law. The Delts’ charges were announced the same day that Ohio University announced it was suspending all 15 of its fraternities.
Hazing within Greek organizations is a national problem, and current and former members of the Miami community are facing legal repercussions for it. But our campus community leaders remain largely silent.
Our staff understands that individuals may be hesitant to talk with our reporters. For the last several years, we’ve had to fight an anti-Greek reputation because of the actions of editors who have long since graduated.
Many people on campus feel like our staff is out to get Greek life at Miami.
But that’s not the case, and it’s something we continue to work to prove wrong.
Throughout our reporting — from the initial hazing allegations to the criminal charges — we have been told there is far more to the story than we have reported.
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But how can we tell a story no one has told us?
Court documents and hearsay are not the full story. We want to give everyone the full picture. But we can’t do that without including the voices of all who are involved.
This happened to an 18-year-old during his second semester of college. His Miami experience will always be marred by assault. Remaining silent suggests that a fraternity’s reputation holds more value than the trauma this individual experienced at the hands of its members.
Preventing conversation about what happened to this student is not only an injustice to the individual this happened to, but a disservice to our community.
The administration can say they are going to implement preventive regulations in as many PR releases as they want, but that’s not going to change our campus culture.
It’s easy to forget when you’re steeped in the culture, but we are constantly lowering the bar for behavior that passes as acceptable. The Miami community cannot let this incident pass us by without a cultural change.
We need to ask more of each other and of our leaders. Are we going to wait until a student dies to speak candidly about the hazing problems that exist on our campus?
If not now, when?
Miami is on the cusp of an “a-ha” moment. This type of hazing is systemic, and we can shift the narrative of our campus culture, but only once people start talking about what *actually* needs to change.
Our staff wants to see restorative justice that improves and builds a community where this type of behavior and abuse is not tolerated.
We want to help foster a transparent conversation with administration, members of the Greek community, student leaders and anyone else who has something to say on the matter. We owe that to our peers, to our brothers and sisters and to the Miami community.
We owe it to each other.
We want to talk to you. We want to hear your story.
If you or someone you know wants to share an experience with hazing at Miami or Miami’s Delts chapter — whether it’s related to the hazing incident, suspension and charges, or not — you can submit tips to our website or contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.