UCF police investigate sorority hazing allegations

Published On: Apr 16 2014 09:39:34 AM EDT
ORLANDO, Fla. -

University of Central Florida police are investigating allegations of hazing against a sorority accused of leading two blindfolded pledges into woods on campus and telling them to finish an entire bottle of rum before they could leave.

Once the Chi Omega pledges finished the bottle, the report says, several active sisters dropped them off at a campus parking garage where they wandered around drunk with no way home the night of April 4.

"Both were intoxicated and unable to find their way back to their apartments on foot," the report says.

One pledge had "bruises and scrapes on her hand and arm from falling, while she attempted to find her way home after the incident at the Arboretum."

Eventually, one pledge was able to reach her boyfriend, who picked up both pledges.

On April 5, one of the victims told a pledge sister about the incident, who reported it to chapter executive board members. The student leaders then reported the incident to national alumni leaders.

"Upon learning of the incident, the Chi Omega national organization immediately informed university officials and the chapter began its internal disciplinary process," said Whitney Heckathorne, a spokeswoman for the national organization. "Through this process all three members involved have voluntarily resigned their Chi Omega membership."

Although the three sisters who were allegedly behind the incident are no longer part of Chi Omega, the sorority's future is still uncertain.

Aside from the police investigation, UCF administrators also placed the sorority under an emergency suspension on charges of violating UCF's hazing, alcohol and disruptive conduct rules, according to a letter UCF sent to the sorority president Monday.

The "interim suspension" was imposed prior to a formal hearing because UCF invoked a policy reserved for "unusual cases" involving the health and safety of the community.

The sorority is set to meet with a UCF administrator to review the interim suspension later this month.

It was too early in the process for the national sorority to comment on whether an ultimate punishment for the entire chapter is warranted, but Heckathorne did point out Chi Omega does not tolerate hazing and that this was "a potential, isolated hazing incident," rather than a systemic problem.

"The Chi Omega national organization will continue to partner with UCF and the police in ongoing investigations," Heckathorne said.

The incident comes after UCF temporarily banned all Greek Life activities in February 2013 to work with chapters on alcohol and hazing issues.

UCF said Chi Omega's actions are limited to approved organizational business meetings while the interim suspension is in effect.

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