Twenty-one students at a New York college were charged with hazing pledges to the Pi Alpha Nu fraternity by forcing them to drink large quantities of alcohol and other liquids, making them eat food off the floor and vomiting on them.
State University of New York at Plattsburgh authorities say campus police were told Sept. 29 that pledges to the Pi Alpha Nu fraternity had been subjected to demeaning and abusive behavior that included being hit on the buttocks with a paddle.
After that, SUNY Plattsburgh suspended the activities of the fraternity, while the university police conducted a joint investigation with the Plattsburgh City Police and worked with the Clinton County District Attorney’s office in bringing charges.
University officials say the charges include hazing in the first degree, criminal nuisance in the second degree and unlawfully dealing with a child, which pertains to providing alcohol to people under 21.
University police say the abuse happened off-campus in February and September. Six former Plattsburgh students are also expected to be charged.
“We will not tolerate hazing in any form and University Police is working closely with the Clinton County District Attorney’s Office to prosecute this matter criminally,” said SUNY Plattsburgh President John Ettling in a statement. “We will continue to raise awareness and create a culture where these types of behaviors are not present.”
The New York incident comes on the heels of authorities in Pennsylvania to refile charges against 11 members of Beta Theta Pi after the hazing death of Tim Piazza earlier this year and 10 members of Phi Delta Theta being arrested in the hazing death of 18-year-old Maxwell Gruver.
The college has suspended the fraternity. The Associated Press sent an email to the fraternity’s president seeking comment, but it wasn’t immediately returned.
Initial court appearances for the students will occur at different times in November.
A separate campus judicial process is underway to determine both the future of the fraternity and the enrollment status of its member students.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.