Thursday, April 02, 2009

Latina Sorority Charter Pulled for Hazing

UF sorority suspended for hazing
By Nathan Crabble Staff Writer

A University of Florida sorority was suspended for hazing violations that included restrictions against pledges wearing make-up, eating fast food and using Facebook.

Sigma Lambda Gamma is the nation's largest historically Latina sorority. The UF chapter made pledges follow 37 rules and required them to do physical activities that made one pledge sick, according to UF records.

In February, UF's Greek Judicial Board recommended the sorority be given a year's suspension to be followedby a year of probation. But the sorority's national organization subsequently pulled the chapter's charter for five years, meaning the group will be suspended from UF until at least 2014.

Former chapterpresident Danielle Pechac said it "hurt" that the organization issued a longer punishment.

"I don't think that's fair," she said.

The chapter admitted to hazing violations that includes making pledges do physical activities such as push-ups and running. Pledges were required to follow 37 rules that included restrictions against taking shortcuts on campus such as using elevators or cutting through grass.UF's hazing policy bans physical brutality as well as any activity that could adversely affect the mental health or dignity of a student. The policy mirrors state law in banning demeaning behavior, said Chris Loschiavo, director of student conduct and conflict resolution.

"Anytime you're doing something like that, it's hazing," he said.

He said the chapter's punishment was also influenced by past hazing violations. The chapter was suspended for three years before returning in 2006.Pechac said the chapter had rebuilt its reputation to the point of being named sorority of the year.

"We had a history ... it wasn't a great history but we worked through it," she said.A representative of the national organization couldn't be reached for comment. Pechac said the punishment was devastating to the chapter's 18 members."There's nothing anyone can say or do to take away the pain," she said.

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