A fraternity known as having former Speaker Paul Ryan as a member has been banned from an Ohio university’s campus after a brutal night of hazing left a pledge hospitalized from playing a ‘chug until you puke’ game while he was also forced to endure extensive paddling from his ‘big brother.’
Miami University in Ohio released a redacted 33-page report and six-page letter to the chapter president detailing how the March 16 hazing night at Delta Tau Delta’s Gamma Upsilon chapter was ‘unimaginably tragic’ and indicative of a ‘culture of normalized violence.’
The chapter was dismissed from Miami University on May 22, 2019. After 10 years, the fraternity will have the option to petition the campus in an effort to return earlier.
Included in the report were text messages, redacted images of the victim’s injuries and extensive information on interviews that were conducted in the university’s investigation.
Miami University in Ohio said the March 16 hazing night at Delta Tau Delta’s Gamma Upsilon chapter was ‘unimaginably tragic’ indicative of a ‘culture of normalized violence.’ The chapter was suspended for 15 years, with the option to petition to return in 10
The Office of Community Standards (OCS) released a letter stating that the relationship with the organization was destroyed when the first paddle was swung, adding that it could never be known how far back the traditions at the chapter date back to. A 1991 picture of Delta Tau Delta shows Paul Ryan at the bottom (circled)
A police report from the Oxford Police Department was also included and detailed what happened at the frat house at 220 Tallawanda Road.
According to the report filed by the former pledge, he and 24 other pledges had to attend a ‘mandatory event at 7pm’ where they had to sit in a ‘War Room’ blindfolded for one and a half hours while ‘scary music was playing.’ He told university personnel that the music was ‘loud and weird.’
Other pledge witnesses indicated that the music was rock and pop music, adding that they were familiar with the songs being played.
New members were then taken to various rooms and introduced to their ‘big brothers’ or upperclassmen who were members of the fraternities, the reports state.
Text messages, a police report and images of the victim’s injuries were included in the report. The pledge claimed that he and 24 other pledges were forced to undergo an extensive night of paddling and drinking that left him in the hospital
The victim named seven members as having hit him with a paddle in the fraternity’s Parlor Room, excluding the chapter president – Andrew Brinkman. The new member said that he was also asked to pull his pants down for one of the hits as it was ‘tradition.’
The paddle was described as having ‘spikes and grooves’ along with ‘raised letters’ and members were said to have been blindfolded for portions of the blindfolding. The pledge said that he cried after the first hit and added that he was bruised from the beatings.
Others described the paddling as ‘horseplay’ and tradition that was not meant to cause harm.
The victim also said that he was ‘singled out and cussed at and kicked and spit at by multiple upperclassmen’ because he had been missing fraternity events to focus on his grades
The new member said that was then forced to play a ‘chug until you puke game’ with other pledges, adding that he was forced to drink a six-pack of Smirnoff Ice drinks and a fifth of Crown Royal in 45 minutes.
He added that while drinking the Smirnoff Ice, he threw up twice’. The pledge said that he ‘threw up repeatedly’ while drinking the Crown Royal.
After the came, the older members were said to have continued beating the pledge with the paddle.
The pledge mentioned in his police report that he was offered a joint to ‘numb the pain,’ and witnesses indicated that marijuana was the only drug present.
The new member said that was then forced to play a ‘chug until you puke game’ with other pledges, adding that he was forced to drink a six-pack of Smirnoff Ice drinks and a fifth of Crown Royal in 45 minutes
He also said that he was ‘singled out and cussed at and kicked and spit at by multiple upperclassmen’ because he had been missing fraternity events to focus on his grades.
Completely inebriated, the pledge was taken to his room by his big brother. The upperclassmen told the pledge’s girlfriend that he was fine and needed sleep before leaving, the report indicates.
The pledge reportedly told his girlfriend to ‘call 911, I feel like I’m going to die.’ He was taken to the hospital and found to have a BAC of .231 and was eventually released after seven hours.
He submitted his report about the event just days later.
In text messages included in the report, the pledge indicated to another member that he was willing to talk with them after the event but added that his parents weren’t going to pay his dues following what happened
In text messages included in the report, the pledge indicated to another member that he was willing to talk with them after the event but added that his parents weren’t going to pay his dues following what happened.
In the exchange, the other member tells him not to ‘say anything that would threaten the future of the fraternity.’
Members of the fraternity consistently said that the pledge had free will and was allowed to leave whenever he pleased. But the report indicates when the pledge did suggest leaving, he was coaxed into staying.
The Office of Community Standards (OCS) released a letter stating that the same chapter had been doing some of the same ‘shocking similar conduct’ in 2016, adding that ‘very little has changed in three years besides the identity of the individuals involved in the tradition of hazing.’
In the exchange, the other member tells him not to ‘say anything that would threaten the future of the fraternity’
In the letter, the OCS highlights that the national organization petitioned on behalf of the chapter advocating that the lengthy suspension ‘will send a message to other organizations that working with the school provides no benefit, putting further distance between the university, the alumni and the national organization.’
But the OCS asserts that the ‘destruction of relationship’ began when members first ‘chose to swing a paddle.’
‘Every successive swing has driven that wedge deeper,’ the letter said.
It continued: ‘With the passage of time, the violent traditions of the Gamma Upsilon chapter of Delta Tau Delta have become commonplace. It can never be known how far back these chapter traditions reach; if only reaching back to 2016 that is three years too many.
‘The possibility that these traditions could return to Miami University through any alumni involvement in any future iteration of a Gamma Upsilon chapter is not a risk that the University nor the national offices of Delta Tau Delta should ever be willing to accept.’
Doug Russell, Vice President of Membership for the national fraternity organization, shared in an April 16 letter to the chapter that their charter had been revoked in an April 3 Arch Chapter meeting.
Director of university news and communications Claire Wagner told the Miami Student that students charged by the university for the hazing are still enrolled at the university and are undergoing the appeals process for their individual charges.
No students showed up to represent the fraternity at hearings for the hazing.