Members of a fraternity chapter at Salisbury University beat a recruit with a paddle, forced pledges to drink until one vomited blood, and made students stand in trashcans full of icewater, according to an investigation this week by Bloomberg.
The news outlet's story (read it here) focuses on Sigma Alpha Epsilon, which according to Bloomberg has had nine deaths from drinking, drugs and hazing nationally since 2006. The founder of Salisbury's chapter withdrew a $2 million donation after the group was suspended by the university amid the hazing investigation, according to Bloomberg.
Among the findings of the university's investigation, according to Bloomberg: members played "Du Hast" by the German metal band Rammstein on repeat before locking the pledges in a dark basement for nine hours without food or water.
From the Bloomberg story:
"Back at the house, [pledge Justin] Stuart recalled being asked to bend over. He heard clapping, thumping, and chanting; a member took a running start and hit him in the buttocks three times with a paddle as hard as he could, Stuart said.
'It sounded like a punch, like skin was cracking,' he said.
Stuart held back a scream, while his back seized up for 20 seconds, leaving him briefly unable to walk, he said. The paddling left bruises that made it hurt to sit down the next day, he said."
In an email to The Baltimore Sun, Salisbury spokesman Richard Culver said the university does not tolerate hazing. The SAE chapter was suspended until 2014 and will be on probation for another full year after that, he said.
"Other fraternities and sororities were made aware of SAE’s status and anti-hazing educational programs were reinforced," he said. "The university supports a healthy and productive Greek life, for example, Greek organizations are required to engage in community service. Hazing and other illegal activities are not tolerated."
According to Bloomberg, the national SAE chapter declined to discuss the Salisbury case.
The hazing allegations and the SAE chapter's suspension had not yet been made public before Bloomberg's story.
Salisbury is not the only university to suffer a hazing scandal in recent years. Towson University's cheerleading team, ranked No. 1 in the country, was suspended earlier this year after an investigation into hazing allegations. However, Towson kept secret details of the findings of its investigation and would not disclose what the cheerleaders were accused of.
In 2008, the University of Maryland, College Park suspended a chapter of Delta Tau Delta after images surfaced of pledges lying in their own vomit and biting on pigs feet. A university investigation found similar hazing practices to those allegedly used by the Salisbury fraternity, including confinement and forced drinking.