UNL investigating fraternity after allegations of forced alcohol consumption in hazing ritual

August 24, 2018

The Delta Tau Delta fraternity at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln reaches its 125th anniversary in April, but the tribute might be more somber than festive.

UNL ordered Delta Tau Delta to cease operations for now while the university investigates reports of alcohol consumption being forced on pledges as part of a hazing ritual. The university received a parent’s report that pledges, or prospective members, were forced to drink so much alcohol that some vomited, a UNL spokeswoman said.

James Loach, president of the Delta Tau Delta Lincoln chapter’s house corporation board, said there was little he could say as of Thursday.

“The one thing I would say is we’re awaiting the result of the ongoing investigation,” said Loach, an official with the National Park Service’s Midwest headquarters in Omaha.

Loach said the Lincoln chapter was preparing to celebrate its 125th anniversary in April. As it is, he said, the board will cooperate with UNL and Delta Tau Delta’s national organization in investigating the situation and dealing with the outcome.

UNL ordered freshmen out of the fraternity house at 715 N. 16th St., a university spokeswoman said, and most were expected to move into residence halls.

The national organization of Delta Tau Delta in Indiana also has required the UNL chapter to cease operations for now.

“We do not tolerate hazing and act swiftly and decisively when we learn of such behavior,” the national organization said in a written statement. “We are working closely with the University of Nebraska to reach an appropriate outcome, as the reported violations run contrary to the mission and values” of the fraternity.

UNL spokeswoman Deb Fiddelke said one or more parents had complained of the alleged behavior, which reportedly took place over four days — Aug. 16 through 19. The national press release said one parent alerted UNL and thanked the unnamed parent for doing so.

Fiddelke didn’t know how many young men lived in the house or are members of the Lincoln chapter. The national office said Delta Tau Delta has affiliation with 132 colleges, membership of more than 9,500 undergraduates, and 120,000 living alumni.

[ Read more: Creighton suspends Phi Kappa Psi until 2025, citing reports of underage drinking, drug distribution and hazing]

Laurie Bellows, UNL’s interim vice chancellor for student affairs, said, “The health and safety of our students is our primary concern and we take any allegations of hazing seriously.”

Fiddelke said Delta Tau Delta hasn’t yet been formally suspended: “This is an ongoing investigation.”

Nobody was hospitalized, Fiddelke said. The parent’s complaint was lodged Monday, she said.

Fiddelke said this was the first official disciplinary action against Delta Tau Delta. The Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji) house is under suspension, and the Phi Kappa Psi house has been reinstated and is under “provisional recognition.”

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