Northwestern University Fraternity At Center of Hazing Scandal Avoids Serious Punishment

Northwestern University’s chapter of Phi Delt has been under investigation for the past year because of their serious hazing problem. In January 2013, a student named Sean Lavery complained to the school administration that he was beaten up as a pledge the year before. The University Hearing and Appeals System then began investigating the fraternity for a full year. Apparently, since then, Phi Delt has essentially been exonerated, despite the serious accusations brought against them.

Neither the University or fraternity has made any official statements about Phi Delt’s status, but a source told Jezebel that they are on something called deferred suspension. This is apparently more serious than being on probation, but is less serious than a full suspension — in other words, they’re still allowed to participate in rush, but have to make sure not to get in trouble anytime soon.

If this punishment turns out to be true, Northwestern’s administration might be called into question by those who read the Daily Northwestern’s lengthy piece on the history of hazing at Northwestern published in November. The piece detailed some of the specific experiences in Lavery’s pledge class, including physical and emotional violence, not to mention the general mistreatment of women. The Daily Northwestern reported:

According to Lavery’s written account, Phi Delt brothers termed the event “The Brothel.” Pledges were taken to an off-campus residence and blindfolded. Female NU students — whom Lavery said the brothers called “hookers” — came in to touch, dance and grind on the pledges.

“There were some girls that were like licking the pledges and lap dancing and all of that, and some girls who were just poking them and afraid to touch them,” the student said.

Then, the women were instructed to ask the pledges whether they wanted blow jobs. Most declined, the student said, but some agreed. Either way, the women brought the pledges over to a table and gave them what is known as a “blow job shot,” typically a shot of alcohol topped with whipped cream. The pledges were then led out, and a new round came in. The student said the entire activity lasted for a few hours.

The student called “The Brothel” awkward and was uncomfortable that older Phi Delt brothers were present.

“There were existing members in the room watching on a couch, so that made the girls feel as objectified as the pledges, sexually,” the student said.

A public Google Group also shows some pledge class notes that were taken from the Winter/Spring 2013 in which the fraternity members dictate a list of “rules” to follow. Some of these included: “don’t take pics with alcohol,” “don’t text during meetings,” and most disturbingly, “steal one of the dining hall workers virginities…must be stolen…not given…#rape.”

Students claim this was meant in jest, but there’s nothing funny about promoting rape. In fact, there’s nothing funny about any of this. Phi Delt fraternity brothers may have done an impressive job appeasing the university and taking the bare-minimum appropriate actions to satisfy their national headquarters, but anyone who understands the serious nature of their violence knows Phi Delt deserved a more serious punishment.

Should these young men really be allowed to recruit more members to their fraternity after a demonstrated history of violence and misogyny?