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As the shitstorm brewing around Greek life continues to gain momentum on a daily basis, yet another wild chain of events has led to the demonizing of an entire national chapter.
You may recall the death of a Baruch College Pi Delta Psi pledge back in 2013. Four years after the hazing death, Pennsylvania courts have finally reached a verdict on the case. While the punishments handed down to the brothers involved are fitting, one aspect of the verdict seems wildly uncalled for.
From The New York Times:
Four years after the fatal hazing of a Baruch College freshman, the fraternity he was trying to join was banned by a state judge on Monday from operating in Pennsylvania for 10 years. The judge’s ruling came after prosecutors here pursued criminal charges against the fraternity and it was found guilty of aggravated assault and involuntary manslaughter.
The student, Chun Hsien Deng, had traveled in December 2013 from New York City to a rental house in the Poconos where he was supposed to finish the pledging process for Pi Delta Psi, an Asian-American fraternity. Early on a frigid morning, Mr. Deng — blindfolded and wearing a backpack weighted with sand — was tackled and pushed around by fraternity members before he fell unconscious, the authorities said. He was pronounced dead the next day.
The four fraternity members who faced some of the most serious charges — Kenny Kwan, Charles Lai, Raymond Lam and Sheldon Wong — were also sentenced on Monday. Mr. Kwan was sentenced to 12 months to 24 months in prison; Mr. Lam and Mr. Wong were sentenced to 10 to 24 months; and Mr. Lai was sentenced to 342 days to 24 months and released, taking into account time he had already served.
The brothers are guilty in this instance, no doubt about it — if anything, they got off easy for their crimes. A decade long suspension for all Pennsylvania chapters of Pi Delta Psi, however, is absurd. The only active chapter in the state of Pennsylvania at the time of the death had no connection of any kind to the actions of the Baruch chapter, yet is still being punished simply for bearing the same Greek letters.
I urge you to find any national organization, Greek or not, who is entirely free of any controversial or dangerous actions in the past. Imagine your local Olive Garden having to close up shop because a bus boy in a different state started slinging coke on the clock. Seems a little bit unnecessary, yeah?
While this case is unfortunate, it did still all originate from more Greeks being dumbasses and taking things too far. Casual hazing or “intensive training” is great, but life threatening rituals, not so much. Tone it down, everybody..
[via The New York Times]
Image via Wikimedia Commons