Monday, October 15, 2007

St. John's University Stops Recruitment Process

St. John's University Suspends Group for Hazing
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. --

St. John's University has suspended the Sigma Chi Upsilon fraternity at its Grymes Hill campus indefinitely, pending a police probe of a hazing incident last month.

And in a related move, the school temporarily banned the signing of new members at its 12 other fraternities and sororities, Sigma Chi Upsilon pledges were given a series of grueling tasks to perform during an off-campus trek on Staten Island in September, a police source said. They were made to carry heavy objects and kneel for extended periods.

At one point, a student from New Jersey became dehydrated and crumpled to the ground. He was later hospitalized in Toms River, N.J., near his home with non-life-threatening injuries. The source said the pledge, whom he declined to identify, may have suffered spleen-related injuries.

"He wound up running himself into the ground," said the source, adding that several other pledges could not perform the tasks and backed out.

No arrests have been made.

The source said police are trying to determine to what extent the student was pressured to perform the tasks.

"The gray area is, was he forced to do them or did he do them of his own volition?" the source said.

The answer to that question will likely determine whether criminal charges are filed.
Elizabeth Reilly, a St. John's spokeswoman, said yesterday in a statement that the police probe regards "inappropriate activity" but she declined further comment.

She could not say when, exactly, Sigma Chi Upsilon, was suspended, but said the school would take "appropriate action," pending the results of the NYPD investigation. Any potential reinstatement depends on the NYPD probe, she said.

Sigma Chi Upsilon does not have a national chapter, said Ms. Reilly.

She said the temporary moratorium against the school's other fraternities and sororities applies solely to the intake of new members. That ban has since been lifted for some of the organizations, while the others are undergoing individual reviews. She could not immediately specify which groups remain under the temporary moratorium.

There are seven fraternities and six sororities at the Grymes Hill campus. About 29 percent or roughly 475 of the school's 1,637 undergraduate students belonged to a fraternity or sorority in 2006, said Ms. Reilly