Fraternity activities suspended at Tufts after hazing reports
Tufts University has suspended all social activity at its fraternities for the rest of the semester after receiving several allegations of hazing and sexual misconduct in recent weeks, administrators said.
The university has launched “multiple investigations of several Greek organizations” and issued cease-and-desist orders to four fraternities, administrators wrote in a campuswide e-mail sent Friday. Spring recruitment for sororities and fraternities has been voluntarily suspended.
In addition, all fraternities will be required to participate in sexual misconduct prevention training, an alcohol education session, and training with a national hazing prevention expert, administrators said.
“These preliminary steps do not preclude further appropriate action being taken by the university, but have been implemented as interim measures pending the outcome of the current investigations,” administrators wrote.
Allegations of hazing at campus Greek organizations came to light last month in an opinion piece in a student magazine. Several other allegations of misconduct emerged after the article, administrators wrote.
“A recent issue of the Tufts Observer brought to light profoundly troubling behavior in our fraternity system. The conduct described in the article, dating to an incident in early 2015, is deeply disturbing and violates our policies, the university’s values, and, potentially, a variety of laws, including those against hazing and sexual misconduct,” the e-mail stated. “In the wake of the Observer article, additional allegations of more recent miscon-duct have emerged.”
In the first-person account, titled “Abolish Fraternities,” Tufts junior Benjamin Kesslen detailed his experience rushing an unnamed fraternity in January 2015.
According to the article, Kesslen and others were made to watch two women engage in sexual intercourse, and forced to drink alcohol until they vomited. They had to swear to keep the hazing process a secret, he wrote.
Kesslen left the fraternity after the incident, writing that he “couldn’t even begin to fathom what the rest of the process looked like.”
In the article, he also referenced alleged incidents of discrimination based on sexual orientation and race.
“I’m sure everyone reading this has a story or a rumor they have heard about a Tufts fraternity, one they don’t want to believe,” Kesslen wrote. “I think it’s time we start believing the rumors, we start acknowledging the fact that fraternities’ presence on this campus cannot be justified.”
The day after Kesslen’s piece was published, Tufts released a statement that described the allegations as “deeply disturbing.”
In an op-ed in the Tufts Daily Nov. 9, the Panhellenic Council of Tufts sororities demanded that fraternities halt all “inexcusable” behavior to meet their standards.
“These acts, under the guise of brotherhood, reinforce discriminatory power dynamics that perpetuate sexual assault of women and marginalized identities,” they wrote. “You are hurting our classmates, our friends, our sisters. You are hurting us.”