Editor’s Note: Much of the material for this story was obtained by The Daily through Freedom of Information requests, including: Copies of emails to or from Student Conduct director Steve Ashmore containing the word fraternity or fraternities, all materials pertaining to organizational strikes in the past three years, Delta Tau Delta’s response to its hazing incident, Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s pledge binder full of interviews, and records showing fraternities punished for hazing in the past five years.
After allegations of injuries suffered during calisthenics and overly probing questions of new recruits at several OU fraternities, one campus chapter has been reprimanded for hazing.
A university investigation in September into alleged hazing at OU’s chapter of Delta Tau Delta found hazing did occur.
The hazing itself involved “calisthenics” and no physical abuse, Student Conduct director Steve Ashmore said. He refused to go into more detail because the incident involved new fraternity members and because hazing is against the law in Oklahoma.
“I don’t perceive that the university has a broad hazing problem,” Ashmore said. “I was a drill sergeant in the army; I know all about hazing. I’m a professional. The hazing that I have seen [at OU] has been primarily less physical than years past. It’s primarily been calisthenics and house cleaning, things like that.”
The chapter is being punished with an administrative fee and community service, and it is required to hold a chapter-wide hazing education program, Ashmore said.
Oklahoma law defines hazing as an activity that recklessly or intentionally endangers the physical or mental health of a student for the purpose of initiation into an organization.
National arms of Delta Tau Delta staff temporarily suspended OU’s chapter from most university activities in September, and served the chapter one of two cease and desist orders during the hazing investigation. The order said the chapter would still be allowed to participate in University Sing and Homecoming, but not much else.
“The chapter may continue to hold chapter meetings and prepare for classes — that is all,” an email from fraternity headquarters said. “During this suspension period, the chapter must endeavor not to draw negative attention to itself or to Delta Tau Delta in the spirit of ‘what dishonors you dishonors it.’”
The other cease and desist order came from OU on Sept. 11 and prohibited any contact between current members and pledges while investigations were under way. Both cease and desist orders were lifted by the end of September.
Delta Tau Delta was the third fraternity punished this year for hazing and the sixth chapter punished since 2009. Kappa Alpha Psi and Delta Upsilon were both punished for hazing in the spring, records show.
Four members of chapter leadership, including Delta Tau Delta President Doug Murray, resigned over the investigation, the former president said.
“We were not forced to,” Murray said. “We did it… I don’t have the right words, but we did it ourselves.”
A month later, Murray ran for Interfraternity Council president. He lost the election to Lamda Chi Alpha junior Jake Pasdach.
Delta Tau Delta director of operations Jack Kreman came to OU when the chapter was told it was under investigation for hazing. He said he met with university administrators and chapter officers to discuss next steps and help the chapter revise its education program for new members.
“All chapters of Delta Tau Delta abide by our membership responsibility guidelines, which specifically prevents hazing within every activity and requires the chapter to conform to the state laws of Oklahoma and to the policies of the University of Oklahoma,” Kreman said.
The cease and desist orders against the chapter were lifted when the investigation into hazing was complete at the end of September.
“We fixed the problem through honesty; it’s as simple as that,” former president Murray said. “It was an internal institutional problem. It wasn’t something any individual was involved with. It was the fraternity as a whole. Going forward, we are going to be working with the university, working with our national fraternity and keeping ourselves in line.”
Despite being informed of a previous interview with Kreman, current Delta Tau Delta president Connor Bourland told The Daily to forward all questions to the director of operations.
An anonymous tip from email@example.com alleged hazing at Phi Gamma Delta. The email said one of its pledges had his finger broken when he and other pledges were forced to do pushups and someone hit his hand with a wooden paddle. Other pledges also had bloodied elbows when they were made to do “bows and toes” calisthenics on concrete.
This concerned student didn’t respond to The Daily’s request for an interview.
In an August email from IFC adviser Koby Harrington said a student tipped him off to Sigma Alpha Epsilon asking extremely probing questions of potential new members at recruitment. The email said, on top of normal recruitment questions such as name, high school and involvement, recruits were allegedly asked to answer
• Are you gay?
• What is your favorite porn site?
• How far can you shoot cum?
Harrington was also emailed a copy of Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s pledge binder that had facts about the new members. There were more than 50 interviews in which men were asked questions including:
• Do you prefer top or bottom?
•What is your favorite porn site?
• What is your favorite condom?
• Have you ever blown a blank?
The Daily received copies of interviews in the binder, which confirmed Harrington’s email.
Student Conduct has looked into other cases of alleged hazing among fraternities besides Delta Tau Delta this semester, but no other punishments have been given out, Ashmore said.