Friday, November 28, 2008

Underground Frats Persist at Buffalo

Outlaw Frats Operate Outside UB Rules
By Ginger Geoffery

The hazing arrests of two University at Buffalo students this week is drawing attention to the number of outlaw fraternities operating under the radar around U.B.

The students in this week's incident are accused of spray painting and smearing hot sauce on nearly-naked pledges for initiation into a frat that was kicked off campus six years ago.

There are more than 40 legitimate fraternities and sororities associated with U.B. that are known for the good they do through community service, but some students say that popularity seems to be growing for outlaw groups that are all about the party scene.

The unofficial Alpha Tau Omega house near the U.B. south campus was the site of this week's alleged hazing.

Since 2002, neither U.B. nor the national headquarters of A.T.O. recognizes this local group as a real fraternity.

A.T.O. is one of six unrecognized groups U.B. warns students and parents about on their website and the school emphasizes a student can be expelled for associating with unrecognized groups. "It's kind of more hush hush really," says Chad White, a junior at U.B., "If the school finds out about them they get kicked out of school and everything."

U.B. has suspended at least four students involved in Wednesday's incident at the so-called A.T.O. house and more punishment could be coming when the investigation is complete.

Despite U.B.'s tough stance on outlaw groups students say the unofficial frats still draw new recruits."They look at it as a party scene, and they look at it as a way to get girls and drugs and have parties and everything like that," says Michael Fabian, a senior at U.B."

I couldn't really tell you how many people are in them but I guess there's a decent amount of people," says White.

Incidents like the one this week at the outlaw A.T.O. house seem to only boost a bad impression many have of fraternities in general. "I'm not a big fan of frats because it seems to direct people into doing things they wouldn't normally do under normal circumstances," says Phil Lucsok, a senior at U.B.

U.B. officials declined to be interviewed for this story. In a written statement the university says the following about the hazing arrests: "In response to the allegation, the University is reminding leadership of student government and recognized social fraternal organizations of state, campus and organization conduct standards and offering additional preventative programming. In addition, students are being reminded of the ways to report cases of concern, in a confidential manner if desired, to help protect students."

The Greek Affairs office at U.B., which overseas the recognized fraternities, did not return phone calls from Eyewitness News on Thursday.
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