Binghamton University has ordered all Greek organizations to immediately halt any new member initiation. Citing an “alarmingly high number of serious hazing complaints this spring,” and “the serious physical and psychological health risk to all involved,” administrators have put pledging on hiatus while BU conducts a full hazing investigation.

April 13, 2012

10:17 a.m. – Lloyd Howe, the Dean of Students, sent an email addressed to Binghamton University parents and guardians explaining the investigation.

April 12, 2012

10:30 p.m. – In response to a question posed to him at an open Susquehanna Community Council meeting, Brian Rose, the vice president for student affairs, said that the University had received many complaints prior to starting the investigations.

“The volume of complaints we received from parents, boyfriends, girlfriends, and other sources was frightening and involved a large number of organizations,” Rose said.

According to Rose, more than 10 greek organizations – coming from every council – are currently under investigation.

Rose added that he suspected that the investigation would be hindered by a lack of cooperation.

“How many organizations will we be able to formally charge? I don’t know. My suspicion is probably very few because nobody is going to tell us anything and most people that say something to us are just going to lie through their teeth all day long,” Rose said. “That’s the very frustrating relationship to greek life on this campus.”

6:45 p.m. – In a second email to  fraternity and sorority presidents, the University doubled down on its decision to suspend spring pledging. There will, however, be a petition process for Greek organizations not undergoing investigations to move forward with inductions.

Dear Fraternity and Sorority Presidents:

Thank you for meeting with us last evening. While the issues which precipitated this meeting are very serious and concerning, we hope that this marks the beginning of a healthier Greek system at Binghamton which is respectful of individual rights, is safe and benefits the University and our surrounding community.

We are still in the process of sorting through much of the information we have received and are continuing our investigations into alleged incidents of hazing. Therefore, we cannot respond fully at this time to all of the questions and issues that were raised last evening. In the interest of keeping you informed, however, we would like to advise you of the following:

  • All pledge activity is currently on hold
  • As was clearly articulated last evening, new member induction may not be conducted until further notice. Such notice will NOT enable induction to occur on or before this weekend
  • We are currently developing a petitioning process that will enable those groups that are not under investigation for violations and that are current with all of their required information on file with the Greek Affairs Office to move forward with induction upon final approval at a time to be determined shortly
  • In regard to the question of contact between current members and pledges, casual contact (e.g. having lunch together) is permitted, however, ANY activity that could be construed as pledging (required attendance at an event, task assignments, etc.) is not permitted
  • University and, if appropriate, police investigations will continue

As presidents of your organizations, we request that you distribute this information to your members and pledges. We will provide you with further information regarding the petitioning process for induction and other related matters as soon as it is determined.

Sunni Solomon,

Assistant Director of Greek Life

Lloyd M. Howe

Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

5:15 p.m. – Regarding the University’s decision to halt all Greek Life pledging this spring, Gail Glover has released the following statement:

“Our primary concern is for the safety of our students so we are taking these reports very seriously and investigating each very thoroughly.

“We want to work collectively with the organizations to maintain a Greek system on the Binghamton University campus, which is respectful of individual rights, is safe and benefits the University and our surrounding community.

“At this point, we are working with our students and conversations will continue.”

Other University departments involved in the matter – the Office of Student Conduct, the Dean of Students Office, and Off Campus College – declined to comment this afternoon and referred reporters to Glover.

2:50 p.m. – Employees in the Office of the Dean of Students tell a reporter from Pipe Dream that Solomon is unavailable for comment, because he is in meetings all day. Gail Glover, University spokeswoman, says she is preparing a statement for press, but cannot comment at this hour.

2:20 p.m.Pipe Dream obtains an email from Sunni Solomon, assistant director of Greek Life, sent to yesterday to members of fraternities and sororities informing them of the University’s decision to immediately halt any new member initiation.

11:10 a.m. – The New York Times mentions The Binghamton University incident in an article titled “When a Hazing Goes Very Wrong.”

April 11, 2012

10:40 p.m. – The Press and Sun-Bulletin breaks the news that University officials decided to halt all pledging upon receiving “an alarmingly high number of serious hazing complaints.” A letter from University officials obtained by the newspaper said, “We regret to take such an extreme action, but student safety is paramount and we have a responsibility to handle dangerous situations once they have been brought to our attention.”