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What Greek organizations should know as pledge season arrives

Fall can be a busy season for Indiana college students who are involved in Greek life. A new year means new leaders, new schedules and adapting to no longer having the members who graduated last semester. One of the first orders of business they have for the year is recruiting new pledges into their groups.

This is a crucial time of the year as not only are you expanding your roster, but you are also being tested by your university. Pledge season is the most popular time of the year for the most common Greek life crime: hazing. As you begin planning your recruitment events and your annual rituals, it is important to review the following so you and the fraternity avoid potential legal and academic troubles:

College rules on fraternities

Each college has specific policies on what fraternities and sororities can and can’t do to avoid putting lives at risk. For example, Indiana University Bloomington requires Greek organizations serving hard alcohol at Greek events and to have guests lists and ticketing in place for approved parties that involve alcohol.

Greek parties are very common in the early school months even before recruitment since many students are getting back together with each other after summer break. It is also important to review local policies to make sure you are hosting appropriate recruitment events for potential pledges.

State laws on hazing

College students found guilty of hazing in Indiana could receive misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the nature of the incident. They define hazing as “forcing or requiring another person to perform an act that creates a substantial risk of bodily injury.”

What separates a felony from a misdemeanor for this crime is that students are typically charged with felonies if the hazing:

  • Was done with a firearm or deadly weapon
  • Ended with the serious bodily injury on another person
  • Was done with criminal recklessness worthy of a Class D felony

Most forms of hazing typically involve alcohol in some fashion. Many Greek organizations are often charged with serving alcohol to minors in addition to any serious bodily injuries the pledge may have received.

Academic punishments

Criminal charges aren’t the only part you have to worry about in a hazing conviction. The college you are attending may suspend you or take away any scholarships you had prior to the incident. In addition, the fraternity or sorority you were a part of could be suspended for years. By the time it opens back up, you may already be done with classes.

Indiana college students that are concerned about their futures after their Greek organization was accused of hazing should contact some with legal experience in campus crimes to see what their options are.

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