Friday, September 03, 2010

USF Holds Anti-hazing Rally

Following fraternity suspension, USF holds anti-hazing rally

Adam Freeman, 10News

Tampa, Florida - As the state attorney's office reviews allegations of hazing on at USF, students from other fraternities and sororities held an anti-hazing rally on campus Thursday afternoon.

Armed with dozens of posters, buttons on their chest, and their favorite greek gear, the students say they are fighting back.

"We do not support it, we do not condone it, we do not partake in hazing, and it's absolutely not acceptable," said sorority member Nicole Garcia.

Organized in just two days, the rally is in response to accusations that at least one Omega Psi Phi fraternity pledge was beaten at an off-campus gathering last month.

As Tampa police continue investigating, the students who gathered Thursday want it known that hazing is not what they're all about.

"In particular, fraternities and sororities often times will get painted with a broad brush stroke when incidents of hazing come forward," said Patrick Romero-Aldaz, Director of USF's Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.

Garcia put the rally together in part because she was disgusted by the allegations, and also to raise awareness about the school's anti-hazing policies.

She concedes, though, this story of hazing is probably not an isolated case.

"I think students are very scared to come out and speak about these hazing incidents, and I do think it happens more often than reported," Garcia said.

The fraternity being investigated has been suspended by the university.

The state attorney's office says there is no timetable for deciding on any possible charges.

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