President Courtway and his administration stand behind the decision Dean of Students Gary Roberts and his council put forth about the recent hazing scandal surrounding the Alpha Sigma Tau sorority.
“UCA policy defines hazing as any intentional action taken or situation created to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment or ridicule,” Courtway said.
He went on to explain that it did not rise to the level of hazing and that the council went through the correct steps to handle the situation.
“Our Office of Student Life concluded that although this is a bad joke and those involved showed poor judgement, it did not meet that definition.,” Courtway said. “Student Life administrators had an opportunity to view the video, interview individuals present and thoroughly investigate the situation. Greek leadership spoke to the Greek students about what happened and are working to educate the students about how to prevent this kind of behavior in the future.”
Courtway said the university “wants to continue to encourage any potential hazing incidents to be reported.”
Associate Vice President for Communications Christina Madsen clarified the order of events from the video realease to the notification of President Courtway. The incident was videoed Aug. 29. Greek life staff received it Aug. 31. After this, Assistant Directors of Student Life Lindsey Shurley and Dustin Hargis, as well as Associate Dean of Student Life Wendy Holbrook, began an immediate investigation.
A few days later, Roberts was informed the initial investigation was complete. The information was communicated to Vice President for Student Services Ronnie Williams, who relayed it to President Courtway after the weekly Executive Staff meeting Sept. 8.
On Sept. 10, Roberts and the Greek Life administrative team met to review the information to determine if Greek Judicial Board charges should be filed. The review didn’t come earlier because a council member was out of town.
After the release of last week’s edition of the Echo, there were seven stacks of newspapers missing from buildings across campus early in the morning. An official police report was filed with UCAPD.
The video that was posted to the Echo’s Youtube account accumulated over 100,000 views before it was reported by junior Madison Montgomery, who claims “copyright infringement.”
The Echo’s article was viewed over 10,000 times and shared via Facebook, retweeted on Twitter and featured on news outlets all over the state.
Despite blow-back from Alpha Sigma Tau and various affiliates, the story has remained a major talking point for other sororities and fraternities as UCA participates in events for National Hazing Prevention Week, which is Sept. 21-25
This article originally appeared in the Sep. 23, 2015 print edition of The Echo.
image via thecabin.net